Straight man writes to beloved queer bar in London’s Soho to complain they’ve turned it into a ‘gay street’

Customers at the Admiral Duncan applaud the 2019 Trans Pride parade.

The Admiral Duncan, one of the oldest and best-known LGBT+ pubs in Soho, shared a bizarre complaint it received from a homophobic ex-punter.

Staff at the London venue shared a postcard sent by an unidentified man, who said that Soho had been “much better before you lot turned it into a gay street”.

Marked with a Philippine postmark, the postcard begins by referencing the 1999 nail bomb attack that killed three people and injured another 79 at the venue.

“To staff,” it reads. “First may I salute you all for surviving a bomb blast but Old Compton Street was much better before you lot turned it into a gay street.”

The note goes on to use a string of racial slurs for Italian, Jewish and Irish people.

“In 1961 when I was picking up my cup final ticket it was full of [redacted]. All the Italians were either Juventus or Milan fans and Soho was great.”

Of course in 1961, homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. It was only after anti-gay laws were abolished in 1967 that LGBT+ venues were able to exist openly.

The postcard ends with the non-sequitur: “Now you have to wear a chastity belt to feel safe.”

Twitter followers were quick to condemn the hate mail, and sent the pub messages of support.

Despite the claims made in the postcard, queer people have been congregating in Soho and throughout central London since at least the 18th century.

In 1709, the journalist Ned Ward reported on a “Molly house” – a place were gay men would socialise – which had sprung in the back room of a Jermyn Street brandy shop (a stone’s throw from Soho).

With homosexuality illegal until 1967, Soho didn’t establish itself as an openly LGBT+ hub until the 1990s.

However in recent years the number of LGBT+ venues in Soho and around the capital has plummeted.

In 2017, a report found that designated LGBT venues had fallen from 127 in 2006, to just 53 in 2017.