Boyz magazine editor whines he’s being ‘punished’ for ‘debating’ trans issues

Boyz magazine. (Facebook/Boyz)

The managing editor of gay lifestyle magazine Boyz has claimed that he is being “punished” for “debating” trans issues just weeks after he issued a grovelling apology for having done so.

David Bridle faced backlash within the LGBT+ community in November 2020 when his magazine promoted a webinar hosted by anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance.

He later issued a grovelling apology in which he acknowledged that “readers, venues and advertisers” were “deeply upset” by the move.

Now, Bridle has hit out at HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust for withdrawing an advertisement in Boyz magazine’s National HIV Testing Week issue – and he has claimed that both he and his magazine are being “punished” for “debating” trans issues.

In an article for Spiked, titled “The witch-hunting of Boyz magazine”, Bridle alleged the front cover and an editorial were agreed with the Terrence Higgins Trust before the charity pulled out following Boyz‘s controversy with the LGB Alliance.

“We were then told that the charity may be in touch in April regarding running a piece about its new transgender sexual-health resources,” Bridle wrote.

He said the decision came six weeks after his magazine “invited our followers on Twitter to watch a webinar by the LGB Alliance”.

Bridle claimed the LGB Alliance is a group that “believes in biological sex rather than gender-based public policy”. In fact, the group – which counts neo-Nazis among its supporters – was branded as a “transphobic hate group” in a petition signed by thousands of people in April 2020.

“We were clear that people might not agree with the LGB Alliance, but for the purposes of community debate, why not hear it out?” Bridle wrote.

The magazine’s managing editor said the Terrence Higgins Trust was among the chorus of LGBT+ voices that criticised Boyz for platforming the LGB Alliance in November.

“The decision to punish Boyz by not running National HIV Testing Week messages to our gay male readership after a partnership lasting over a decade is unfair, and regrettably political,” Bridle claimed.

Boyz magazine editor thinks LGBT+ reluctance to debate trans issues is ‘scary’

He accused the Terrence Higgins Trust of pitting trans people against gay people, adding: “Trans men and trans women rightly deserve and need sexual-health information from the THT and others, but it can’t be right that gay men’s health is put in jeopardy because a publicly funded charity chooses to start policing not only what views gay men might have, but also whether they are entitled to inform their views in the first place.”

Bridle went on to claim that he has spoken to trans people who are “appalled” by the charity’s decision, but did not name who these trans people are. He said these unnamed trans people “know Boyz is not transphobic.”

He also wrote about his own HIV status, claiming that his experience makes the Terrence Higgins Trust’s decision seem “especially wrong”.

Bridle said the Terrence Higgins Trust, which has worked tirelessly to support people with HIV for almost 40 years, likely has “other ways to reach gay men” besides publishing advertisements in Boyz magazine.

However, he once again accused the charity of punishing him and his magazine “for the crime of encouraging people merely to enter a debate on transgender issues”.

Bridle concluded his article by claiming it is a “really scary point for our community” that queer people cannot openly debate transgender people’s rights without facing criticism and consequences.

The fact that the human rights and dignity of trans people is something that should never, ever be up for debate appears to be lost on Bridle.

The Terrence Higgins Trust told PinkNews that it has a responsibility to use its funding in an “impactful” way, and that this was a factor in its decision to pull advertising with Boyz magazine.

Boyz is distributed primarily through gay venues which sadly aren’t open due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Terrence Higgins Trust said.

“We have a responsibility to use funding in as impactful a way as possible to reach our target groups with messages about HIV prevention and the opportunity to order a free HIV self-sampling kit to do at home.

“We’re absolutely committed to making sure National HIV Testing Week is a big success with thousands getting tested safely at home, even with the challenges of coronavirus.

“We are also clear on our commitment to trans people and trans rights, and our role in supporting trans, non-binary and gender diverse people around there sexual health and HIV testing.”

PinkNews has contacted Boyz editor David Bridle for comment.