Capital Gay

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Front of Capital Gay issue no. 687 (March 24, 1995).

Capital Gay was a weekly free gay newspaper published in London. It was founded by Graham McKerrow and Michael Mason and published its first edition on June 26, 1981, Pride Week. Its last edition appeared on June 30, 1995, having become Britain's longest-running gay newspaper. Despite its name it was also distributed in Brighton and had a combined circulation, in the two cities of around 20,000 when it folded.

Capital Gay sponsored the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and involved itself in events in the wider gay community in London; its editorial line tended to be strong. It is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with being the first publication in the world to use the term HIV, (the second being the international science journal Nature),[1] with the first regular column on AIDS in the world being written in Capital Gay by Julian Meldrum in 1982. For some years, with no reliable information on the threat of Aids publicly available in the medical or national press, Capital Gay widened its distribution to cover cities with large gay populations including Manchester and Brighton. Copies were sent by rail and distributed to local clubs, bars and hotels by volunteers.

During the controversy over Section 28 in December 1987, the paper's offices were targeted in an arson attack. Conservative Member of Parliament Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman was quoted as believing this was a good thing and when challenged in Parliament said "I am quite prepared to affirm that it is quite right that there should be an intolerance of evil."[2]


Graham McKerrow

Michael Mason

Gillian Rodgerson

Simon Edge


  1. ^ Capital Gay The Knitting Circle: Lesbian and Gay Staff Association, London South Bank University Archived from the original on April 1, 2007 [1] Access date: October 8, 2006[dead link]
  2. ^ Hansard, vol 124 cc987-1038 House of Commons debate December 15 1987 Access date: April 16, 2010