Boyz magazine’s trans editor resigns over ‘horrifying’ links to LGB Alliance

Boyz magazine appoints trans editor following backlash over LGB Alliance

Boyz magazine’s former trans affairs editor Rebecca Tallon de Havilland has said she was “absolutely horrified” by co-founder David Bridle’s defence of the LGB Alliance.

Bridle hired de Havilland as trans affairs editor in November 2020 after his magazine faced backlash from the LGBT+ community for encouraging queer people to listen to arguments put forth by the LGB Alliance, an anti-trans pressure group that counts new-Nazis among its supporters.

But Bridle’s efforts to win back the support of the LGBT+ community crumbled on Friday (29 January) when he claimed that his magazine was being “punished” for “debating” trans issues in an article for Spiked.

In the article, Bridle claimed that the Terrence Higgins Trust had pulled advertising from an upcoming issue over his support for the LGB Alliance. The Terrence Higgins Trust has refuted his claims, telling PinkNews that they backtracked as the venues where Boyz magazine is distributed are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, rendering print advertising pointless.

Rebecca Tallon de Havilland was ‘hurt’ by Boyz magazine editor’s article

De Havilland, a trailblazing trans woman and sexual health campaigner, became aware of Bridle’s controversial article on Friday at around 4pm. She later learned that he told her about the article – in which he described the LGB Alliance as a group that “believes in biological sex rather than gender-based public policy” – in a Facebook message sent early that morning.

Speaking to PinkNews, de Havilland said she felt “let down” and “betrayed” when she read Bridle’s article on Friday. She felt that she had no other choice but to resign with immediate effect.

After reading the article, de Havilland checked WhatsApp and Twitter to find out if Bridle had made any effort to contact her before publishing the article, but was disappointed to find no messages from him.

It was then that she checked Facebook and found that he had messaged her at 7am that morning telling her about the article. In the message, he explained that the article was coming out and that there would likely be fallout as a result.

“I genuinely was kind of hurt,” she says. “Because I really felt that the conversation that we had that led to me being trans affairs editor was that anything trans-related would be run by me. At the time, David said he needed to know more about the trans community and that he would run everything by me… Basically, he had gone over my head on this. I just felt betrayed and I think initially I was kind of numb.”

It hurts because I feel I should’ve had my guard up… I genuinely thought I had done something good.

She continues: “He wasn’t even available for me to speak to him on Friday. He was offering me a slot on Saturday to speak to him.

“I’m sorry David, you’ve let me down,” she says.

De Havilland turned down Bridle’s offer to speak on the phone. “I had felt at that stage, what would be the point in me speaking? He had made [the article] quite public without letting me know.

“It hurts because I feel I should’ve had my guard up… I genuinely thought I had done something good. For [a trans person] to have a position like I had in Boyz, I was proud of it and so were others.”

De Havilland feels like she has let the LGBT+ community down by having any involvement with the publication – however, she has been inundated with supportive messages from queer people on Twitter, with many praising her for trying to improve Boyz magazine from within.

Scottish actor David Paisley replied: “I’m so sorry that this is how they treated you, you gave them your trust and respect and acted with the best of intentions. I’m sorry that wasn’t returned and you’ve been treated this way. I really hoped for better. Well done for speaking out.”

Trans activist Quinn Pearse Brown wrote: “It’s not your fault. It’s theirs for pandering back to the ‘gender critical’. I am a trans man and I’m grateful there’s people rightfully condemning them.”

Irish drag queen Panti Bliss replied: “This is their s**t, not yours Bec. Hold your head high.”

Since publishing his controversial article, Bridle has once again started platforming the LGB Alliance on Twitter.

On Sunday (31 January), Boyz magazine shared a YouTube link to a webinar from the group, writing: “Why does gender dysphoria matter to lesbians and gay men? This webinar will tell you.”

The magazine also retweeted a post from a Twitter user called “Gay male feminist ally” which characterised trans rights as “groupthink hysteria” from the LGBT+ community.

“Trying to stop facts and discussion is not the right side of history. When this insanity crumbles, Boyz magazine will be able to hold its head high,” the tweet reads.

The magazine ‘will continue to raise issues related to sex and gender’

When contacted by PinkNews on Monday (1 February), Bridle said: “I am sorry that Rebecca has decided to leave Boyz.”

He continued: “I would like to thank Rebecca for the reach out she made last December to me personally and for her decision to join Boyz as our trans affairs editor. I would like to thank her for the articles she has contributed to the Boyz website. I am very sorry she has made this decision.”

When questioned on his decision to platform the LGB Alliance on social media, he said: “As I said in the Spiked article: ‘What was the point of the Boyz apology if our critics won’t accept it?’ That remains our position.”

He continued: “Above all Boyz believes that the LGBT+ community must debate these matters in an informed way.”

He went on to defend a webinar from the LGB Alliance, which was publicised by Boyz magazine over the weekend, writing: “The LGB Alliance webinar raises an interesting question which is why gender dysphoria matters to lesbian, gay and bisexual people? We thought that was a relevant question to raise with our Boyz readers and invited them to watch the discussion. We will continue to raise issues related to sex and gender in Boyz.”