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 founded by Graham McKerrow and Michael Mason. The first issue was published on 26 June 1981, during Pride Week, and folded with the issue dated 30 June 1995. Despite its name it was also distributed in Brighton and had a combined circulation, in the two cities, of around 20,000 at the time when publication ceased.

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. After being accused by Labour MP Tony Banks of legitimising the incident, Conservative Member of Parliament Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman was quoted in Hansard as saying: "I am quite prepared to affirm that it is quite right that there should be an intolerance of evil."[2][3]



  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
  2. ^ House of Commons debate December 15 1987 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Hansard, vol 124 cc987-1038 Access date: 6 December 2014
  3. ^ Andrew Pierce "Cheers ring out as David Cameron lays Tory history of homophobia to rest" Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine., Daily Telegraph, 2 July 2009