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Gay Press History and the Limits of Freedom


A discussion has been taking place online on various LGBTQIA newsgroups, internet feeds and web forums about the limits of decency and free speech, after a report in the Metro newspaper that a man had been reported to the police for wearing a Hallowe'en Party costume in which he was dressed as the 2017 Manchester Arena Islamist extreme fundamentalist bomber.  Many LGBTQIA people found the humour to be deeply offensive, with some arguing that this Hallowe'en costume would be as unacceptable as one which for example, appeared to represent David Copeland, the deranged homophobic and racist hate activist who in 1999 murdered three people, including a pregnant woman, and injured dozens more from London's minority communities.  On the other hand, other people countered that LGBT+ people should defend free speech, even if in poor taste.  They pointed out that Hallowe'en costumes of Jimmy Savile, Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden have done the rounds at queer Hallowe'en and fancy dress parties for years.  In the 1990s, a highly satirical gay men's magazine, called DNA (and not to be confused with the current day Australian gay magazine of the same name) was fuelled by an exceptionally extreme humour, which was considered by many to be in bad taste.  The magazine was banned by many gay bookstores including CloneZone and Prowler.  However, the publishers were never prosecuted.  The discussion over the limits of taste and decency continues unabated online.  


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