The Guardian has published a thoughtful article by playwright Jonathan Cash about the 1999 bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, which he was injured in. The bomb was planted by a far-right sympathiser, a man who believed that gay men should be put to death. If you’re going to read the whole piece, which is very powerful, be aware that it contains some horrific details of victims’ injuries.

Cash’s article includes some sections that The Guardian’s own writers, and their peers in other publications, should think about.

The bombing campaign heralded a change in attitude from some of the UK’s most popular newspapers. Until then, the words “poofs” and “queers” were used in editorials, even in front-page headlines, especially since the advent of the HIV pandemic. Similarly hateful words were used to describe people from other minority groups. These words, in print, encouraged constant, casual discrimination and affected the way that LGBTQIA+ people and ethnic minorities were talked about and treated.

As far as I am concerned, every single journalist, editor and newspaper proprietor who contributed to these attitudes in print is complicit in the deaths of three people who were standing just feet away from me, and the life-changing injuries of many others, both physical and psychological.

…If you don’t call out derogatory words about people who are somehow regarded as different, hate is normalised and you’re complicit.

In the UK we’ve already seen two trans girls stabbed, one fatally, and anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes – and anti-trans hate crimes specifically – are soaring. Too many writers’ words are contributing to an increasingly violent climate.



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