Poison Pens Run Amok


pic: Romans Klee

A Letter to the Editors failing at their jobs

The press is full of hateful bilge about LGBTI folk and our families, and nowhere is it worse than in the Letters pages, and the Comments sections of online articles. To say nothing of opinion columns and blogs.

The Editors have abandoned their duty to police the hatred, vilification, the slander of whole communities. They have abandoned careful moderation of online comments.

It’s hunting season, and we are the prey.

Some of this stuff, if written in conventional correspondence, would invite prosecution for writing poison pen letters. Now the poison sprayers have been unleashed, and run amok.

I wrote to the Letters to the Editor page at several major outlets as follows:

Dear Sir,

I have been shocked, hurt and angered by the words some people choose to use in the debate over a fair go and equal marriage, in articles, and especially in posts, letters and comments.

Please, before you hit ‘send’ next time, take a moment to search and replace the words ‘gay’, or ‘same-sex’, or whichever term you have used, with the word ‘black’, or ‘Jew’.

Does it now sound racist, prejudiced, bigoted? Then it almost certainly is. Please, if so, keep it to yourself.


Doug Pollard

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)