Attitude, the UK magazine by, for and about gay men, seems to have jumped the shark. Once this magazine had some good points, not least the brilliant columns by [redacted] in the 90s, which later featured in his books It’s A Queer World and Sex Terror. But now it is a glossy gay ‘lifestyle’ magazine from hell, and is all about pop stars, reality TV stars, and the best place to go on holiday this year.
This month’s 18th birthday edition sports a gay soldier on the cover, James Wharton, with his civilian partner. The text at the side reads:
‘Have you heard about the Iraq veteran who can fight for his country but can’t get married?’
I don’t really know where to begin! It simultaneously presents a patriotic awe of soldiers ‘who can fight for [their] country’, and also seems to completely undermine what they do, by suggesting the biggest problem in their lives is whether or not they can tie the knot. Across the pond in America, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has only recently been abandoned. And gay and bisexual and lesbian soldiers are celebrating their newfound freedoms. But ‘gay rights’ movements are always quick to identify the next struggle, the next source of oppression. When (and I am sure it is when and not if) same sex marriage is legalised, I am sure Attitude will come up with another image of inequality to put on their cover.
But it really is becoming a joke. And if I was a soldier, gay, straight, bisexual, whatever, who had just been ‘fighting for my country’, maybe seeing my friends die, I don’t think I’d find it very funny.