12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

It’s been another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for the avowedly heterosexual and non-transgender denizens of the Daily Mail.

The newspaper has spent much of the year losing its collective marbles about all things gay, lesbian bisexual, or – god forbid – transgender.

As 2017 draws to a much-welcomed close, we look back at a small selection of the many, many, many things that got the Mail into a tizz this year.

In a year in which the Mail published 37 opinion pieces attacking transgender pieces alone, and dedicated hundreds of column inches to negative dog-whistle stories on LGBT people, we were truly spoilt for choice – but here are some of the most ridiculous offenders.

(And before the publishers of MailOnline or the Mail on Sunday give our editorial team yet another pernickety phone call: yes, we are grouping your publications together here. We are sure you will work out your differences one day.)

Male police officers painted their nails to fight slavery

The newspaper got very upset when officers from Avon and Somerset Police painted their nails blue to mark Anti-Slavery Day.

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12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The Bristol police officers had painted their nails as part of a campaign on modern slavery, after arrests were made at a local nail salon in connection with slavery offences.

The Daily Mail criticised the force, claiming “their increasingly bizarre gimmicks are undermining the job of tackling crime”.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The paper quoted Tory MP David Davies – a vocal opponent of gender-fluidity and LGBT rights – who jumped on the bandwagon to attack the campaign.

He said: “There’s no way I would have painted my nails — it’s not going to help you catch enslavers, is it?”

The coverage was so ridiculous that the local MP decided to show off his own painted nails in the House of Commons.

Darren Jones, the Labour MP for Bristol North West, said: “I share other members’ concerns that the papers have reported a ‘backlash’ for Avon and Somerset constabulary for wanting to raise this issue in a way that communicates to people in their daily life.

“With thanks to the member for Bristol East and Bristol West, I too very proudly paint my nails today, in support of the Let’s Nail It campaign and Avon and Somerset Police.”
12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017


Faced with a blank page and a pending column deadline in September, Richard Littlejohn appears to have just randomly thrown darts at the Daily Mail Wheel of Outrage.

The result? This hot mess.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Inventing controversy from thin air is an impressive skill, and Littlejohn is definitely seasoned in that regard.

He wrote: “Diversity nazis are now hell-bent on eradicating any notion of ‘men’ and ‘women’ as part of their crusade to destroy every last vestige of traditionalism.

“Politicians and public bodies were always going to be a pushover. You can rely on taxpayer-funded organisations to advance the diversity agenda.

“Just as I predicted ten years ago, ‘trans-friendly’ toilets are now everywhere — even in schools.

“Not for the first time, I can’t help wondering where it’s all going to end.

“Now education authorities have put hijabs for five-year-olds on the uniform list, it’s probably only a matter of time before some right-on retailer starts selling burqas for boys.”

The Church of England spoke out against homophobic bullying

The newspaper lost it when the Church published guidance entitled “Valuing all God’s children”, aimed at tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in Church-run schools.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in the update: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

“We must avoid, at all costs, diminishing the dignity of any individual to a stereotype or a problem.”

However, the Daily Mail lost it over advice in the document that tells teachers to allow children to express themselves, and not to restrict dress-up and play.

The Daily Mail ran the story with the headline: “CHURCH: LET LITTLE BOYS WEAR TIARAS”.

It claimed that “Boys as young as give should be able to wear tiaras at school without criticism”.

Evangelical activist Andrea Williams told the Mail “We are getting to the point where if you are not careful the slightest slip from the correct agenda in a Church of England school will get you punished.

“The anti-bullying agenda is aimed against people who step out of line – the anti-bullies are becoming the bullies.”

The National Trust revealed gay people existed before the 1960s

The Mail waged a months-long media war against the National Trust, after it announced a series exploring the hidden history of LGBT people in the UK.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

As the National Trust explored LGBT people’s hidden hand in 2000 years of British history, the newspaper ran a non-stop stream of critical stories.

The Trust came under fire for asking volunteers to wear a rainbow badge, for making a film about a gay owner of a National Trust property, and for undertaking a diversity monitoring survey.

Writing in the Mail, right-wing columnist James Delingpole lamented that he had already cancelled his National Trust membership so can’t cancel it again.

He wrote: You can only resign in disgust once — or I’d definitely be doing it again over the announcement that the NT plans to stage a special season of LGBT (that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) events.

“Older readers may remember when the National Trust used to concern itself with such fuddy-duddy stuff as preserving Britain’s architectural heritage. But apparently the LGBT audience is a vital one that it has hitherto neglected.”

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The columnist claimed there was a “degree of irony about the Trust’s latest plan”, because one of the leaders of the organisation in the 1930s was “waspish about homosexual behaviour”.

That claim is slightly strange, given what the Daily Mail was busy doing in the 1930s.

Drag queens ‘corrupted’ some children

The idea behind Drag Queen Storytime is simple – local drag queens visit schools and libraries to read to children.

The project promotes childhood literacy as well as teaching kids about tolerance – but the Daily Mail could not handle the plans.

It ran the story claiming that “drag queens drafted into nursery schools” to teach two-year-olds about “sexual diversity”.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

It claimed: “Drag queens are being brought into taxpayer-funded nursery schools so that children as young as two can learn about transgender issues.

The Mail spoke to some very concerned anti-trans voices.

Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, fumed to the newspaper: “One of the most disturbing things about the transgender agenda is the way that it tries to distort our perception of reality and deny something as fundamental as the distinction between male and female.”

Dilys Daws added: “There’s this idea that’s sweeping the country that being transgender is an ‘ordinary situation’.

“It’s getting so much publicity that it’s getting children thinking that they might be transgender, when it otherwise wouldn’t have occurred to them.”

Doctor Who introduced a lesbian companion

Pearl Mackie made her debut in sci-fi series Doctor Who as lesbian character Bill.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The right-wing newspaper’s readers reacted with predictable outrage to the shocking news that her character happens to be both black and gay.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

One wrote: “I will no longer allow my kids to be brainwashed b the BBC and their leftist PC agenda and this will be banned by me. Why do I still by law have to pay with this?”

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Another complained: “They’ve wrecked an iconic show for politics half the viewers disagree with. This is hijacking.”

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Anti-LGBT activists invented a fake ‘ban’ on Father’s Day

As Australia went to the polls to vote for equal marriage, the down-under branch of the Daily Mail published spurious claims that their celebration of Father’s Day had been “banned”.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Anti-gay marriage group Dads4Kids had falsely claimed it was banned from celebrating Father’s Day because of the LGBT ‘thought police’, after a TV network asked for its advertising to be correctly declared as political during the plebiscite.

The group has compared same-sex marriage to child abuse, but the Mail decided to uncritically publish Dads4Kids founder Warwick Marsh’s hysterical and later-disproven claims.

A military officer looked ‘a bit gay’

The newspaper was not at all happy when the Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces, Rear Admiral Alex J. Burton, appeared to come out against Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops.

The Mail column

Transgender people have served in the UK armed forces for years, but Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote a 1500-word piece attacking Burton, peppered with old-school homophobic jibes.

He wrote: “Rear Admiral Burton’s official photograph makes him look like one of those gay Dutch policemen played by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse.

“Sorry, but I couldn’t help thinking of Julian and Sandy, the alter egos of Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick in Round The Horne. ‘Oooo, ’ello, I’m Julian and this is my friend Rear Admiral Burton. Isn’t he bona?’
12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

“Hello, sailor. Or was that The Navy Lark?”

He laments: “These days, the military takes diversity so seriously that even Dick Emery’s camp character, Clarence — catchphrase ‘Hello, Honky Tonks’ — would have no difficulty signing up.”

In one of the most disgusting homophobic smears in the piece, Littlejohn appears to allude to the homophobic slur ‘pillow biter’, quipping: “There’s also mention of a boat called ‘HMS Biter’.”

Attacking the approach to LGBT diversity within the Armed Forces, Littlejohn claims: “It’s nobody’s business. We didn’t ask the soldiers at Dunkirk how many of them were wearing silk cami-knickers under their khakis.”

Barton, incidentally, has two children with his wife, according to his official MoD profile.

A memorial was dedicated to men killed for being gay

The Mail was very upset with a powerful exhibit unveiled at National Trust property Kingston Lacy in Dorset.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The house’s former owner William John Bankes dedicated much of his life to restoring the property, but was forced to flee the country when authorities discovered he was gay, which at the time could lead to the death penalty.

As part of a range of new exhibits at the property based on Bankes’ tragic life story, the Trust commissioned art piece ‘In Memoriam’, a powerful tribute to the 51 men who were hanged under laws that criminalised same-sex acts during Bankes’ lifetime (1786-1855).

The piece includes 51 ropes, and stands as a reminder of the brutality of the times.

The Daily Mail branded it a “PC stunt”, speaking to Tory MP Andrew Bridgen – who insisted it was “totally inappropriate” for the Trust to include a memorial to persecuted gay men in the house of a man persecuted for being gay.

He said: “This is totally inappropriate. It’s not what people visit the National Trust for. If I want moral guidance I go to church – not the National Trust.”

Gay conservatives existed

There’s absolutely nothing funny about this example from Conservative Party conference in Manchester, which took place in October.

MailOnline published photos of young conservative activists from paparazzi who had been lurking near the city’s Gay Village.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The Mail splashed multiple pictures of two young men kissing, under a headline mocking their “Not very Conservative behaviour!’.

One of the men who was photographed later told PinkNews that the story had outed him to his family and friends.

He said: “At the moment I’m living in fear, I don’t feel like I can even leave the house because of what people might say.”

Someone made up a story about women being banned from wearing skirts

The newspaper launched the vitriolic attack on trans people after a story in the Sun which claimed the RAF had “banned” women from wearing skirts as part of a “transgender review”.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

Although the RAF insisted “no decisions have been made to make any changes”, and the entire story was attributed to a single anonymous tabloid source, the Mail’s Andrew Pierce seized on the news to brand trans people “gender fascists”.

Pierce claimed: “The RAF is just the latest of our institutions buckling under pressure from the trans minority.

“Town halls, education authorities and even some nurseries seem to be in thrall to the gender thought police.”

Who is involved in the “gender fascist” movement?

Well, according to Pierce the trans-führer might be Caroline Lucas, as he warns “the Green Party is involved in the clamour for every gender and sexual identity to be given rights”.

He also blamed gay people seeking a new cause after “civil partnerships and gay weddings [were] widely accepted”.

Doctors asked people about their health

The Mail got very upset on multiple occasions this year because doctors asked people about their lives.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

The Mail on Sunday hit out at guidelines that added a question on sexuality to GPs’ pre-existing diversity monitoring systems.

Patients already fill out surveys specifying their race, nationality, marital status and a number of other indicators.

The shift to include sexuality was fought for by LGBT healthcare specialists, who warned that there’s a lack of clear data on how issues like HIV and drug use can have a disproportionate impact on the gay community.

However, the Mail twisted the story to claim that “every patient visiting their family doctor will be asked to declare if they are gay”.

The Mail also got very upset about an NHS healthcare survey given to pupils in UK schools.

The survey asked a number of questions about the pupils to gather data on health issues, including exercise, weight, mental health, drug use and smoking.

12 ridiculous times the Daily Mail got upset about LGBT people in 2017

It came under fire over a question aimed at trans and genderfluid children, that asked: “Do you feel the same inside as the gender you were born with?”

Tory MP Tim Loughton said: “At a time when children are growing up and having to deal with all sorts of challenges of the modern world, now they are being asked to confront their gender, which for many will be unsettling.

“Clearly we need to be sensitive about the issue of gender and sexual orientation but forcing children to question whether they are the right gender so early on can be deeply destabilising.”

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