Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black’s baby announcement made dramatic headlines last week.
In what should have been a moment of celebration for Tom Daley and his husband Dustin Lance Black, it was instead caught up in a whirlwind of the Daily Mail variety.
In his column, Richard Littlejohn used the opportunity to push his homophobic agenda (despite claiming not to be homophobic, of course) and slated the decision for the two men to have a baby and not involve the mother of the child in the celebrations.
In the column, Littlejohn said: “I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman. Please don’t pretend two dads is the new normal.”
The online piece has since had over 9k shares and generated more than a thousand comments. Whilst there are some who join Littlejohn in his opinion, others branded the piece homophobic and arrogant.
Littlejohn also asks his readers “is Daley or his husband the father? Was it Bill, or was it Ben? Or neither of them? More pertinently, never mind Who’s The Daddy? Who’s The Mummy?”. The columnist then goes on to attack the recent story of a transgender woman being able to breastfeed her baby.
Since the article has gone live, people have been asking the brands and companies who take up advertising space on the site and paper why they are funding such a hate campaign. The likes of Natwest, Electronic Arts, and Centre Parcs have already responded.
On Twitter, Natwest stated that “we don’t support the content in this article, and are investigating how our advertising has appeared here. Meanwhile we have stopped our TV ad from featuring on this page.”
Meanwhile, Centre Parcs said the advertising placement was “completely unacceptable” and had “therefore ceased advertising with the Daily Mail with immediate effect”.
Electronic Arts responded on Twitter with:
Hey Sarah – We wanted to reach out and thank you for bringing this to our attention earlier this morning. We’ve worked with our teams throughout the day to ensure that the placement of any advertisement is not done parallel to messages that go against our values.
— EA UK (@electronicarts) February 16, 2018
In a statement, Stonewall’s Media Manager Jeff Ingold said:
It was stunning to see the amount of abuse directed at the recently married couple. Death threats were made and whole threads used the news to question whether same-sex people were morally capable of having a family. If it provoked surprise from many quarters it shouldn’t: homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic abuse is all too common online. One in ten LGBT people have experienced anti-LGBT abuse online directed towards them personally in the last month.
Even more alarming was the national newspaper carrying a headline asserting that we shouldn’t “pretend two dads is the new normal” and making the case that “children benefit most from being raised by a man and woman”. It’s deeply depressing that we’re still even having this conversation. Being a good parent has nothing to do with sexual orientation or whether a child has two mums or two dads. The important thing is for a child to have a loving family, no matter who makes it up.
What Richard Littlejohn’s column shows us that whilst progress has been made, there are still people out there who believe there isn’t a right for LGBTQ+ people to live an equal life.
We should use this as an opportunity to continue to work together, highlight the good work that is being done, and make sure that all of our rights are respected so we can live in a society that is accepting of everyone.