ScotsGay magazine banned from Glasgow LGBT Centre
We've received this message from John Hein at ScotsGay:
If you have been used to picking up your monthly copy of ScotsGay in Glasgow's publicly funded LGBT Centre in Dixon Street, we regret that you are no longer able to do so. This is because the Centre has banned distribution of the magazine in their premises.
According to the Centre's Ruth Black, "We consider the sexual content of the magazine inappropriate for the Centre. We have to take into account that people as young as thirteen are using the place".
She told ScotsGay that the ban also extends to the privately run cafe/bar in the Centre.
The bone of contention appears to be what is claimed to be the explicit nature of some of our personal ads (tame by comparison with other publications), the fact that (in common with most LGBT publications) we carry adverts for escorts and that there are willies on the covers of some of the DVDs advertised by a licenced gay sex shop in Edinburgh.
When we asked Ms Black if young people using the Centre were entitled to the information contained in the magazine, we were rather primly informed that the Centre would provide them with information that the Centre considered appropriate. We didn't have the heart to ask about safer sex information (something which the last two issues of the magazine has carried with explicit detail).
Jamie Rennie, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland (which provides services for 13-25 year olds and has recently opened an office in the Centre) told us, "ScotsGay should not be denied to the LGBT community at large. If the Centre's management take the position that the publication is not suitable for under 16's, they should put in place suitable safeguards. We would not ban ScotsGay from any of our projects and consider it to be a valued resource for our community".
The directors of the charity which runs the LGBT Community Centre in Edinburgh (who include the publisher of ScotsGay) laughed until the tears ran down their legs at the very idea of banning the magazine, "We're a Centre for the LGBT Community - not a Children's Adventure Playground".
The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing (also in Edinburgh) hosts parents' meetings at which children are present but they take place in a room which does not display ScotsGay or, for that matter, any sexual health information material. The magazine is freely available elsewhere in the Centre.
Martin Walker, editor of ScotsGay reasoned, "If ScotsGay is banned from a gay centre because of homosexual content, then all the LGBT magazines must be banned.What kind of gay community centre refuses to stock gay community publications? There are those in Glasgow that don't use the scene, because they don't drink, or use sex shops, who depend on the Centre to be an outlet for ScotsGay. Who's going to serve them?