An anti-LGBT column in the Daily Mail has incited controversy for urging, in its title, "please don't pretend two gay dads is the new normal."
In the piece published by the British tabloid, writer Richard Littlejohn criticized Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black, a married binational couple, for announcing they were expectant fathers through social media on Valentine's Day. In the post, Daley and Black are pictured holding up an ultrasound photograph.
Littlejohn dismissed the joyous announcement as a "publicity stunt." He also attacked the practice of surrogacy, which he called a "trend" among "wealthy gay couples, such as Elton John and David Furnish" of "treating women as mere breeding machines and babies as commodities."
"But where's the mum, the possessor of the womb which features in this photograph? She appears to have been written out of the script entirely," Littlejohn lamented. "We are not told her identity, where she lives, or even when the baby is due. She is merely the anonymous incubator."
Littlejohn slammed other journalists for not asking more (homophobic) "questions about the parentage" in their coverage of Daley and Black, such as the identities of the biological parents. "For instance, 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?"
In the column, Littlejohn claimed he is not homophobic. He then stated, "I still cling to the belief that children benefit most from being brought up by a man and a woman."
Not content to demean only gay people, Littlejohn had similiar invasive questions and criticisms about a 30-year-old transgender woman who recently made history as the first trans woman to breast-feed her child with the help of hormones and science:
"For a start, this person is described as a woman, but has had no surgery to transition from a man. Sorry, but I'm with Germaine Greer — someone in possession of a full set of wedding tackle is a man, not a woman.
"Secondly, if this is his/her baby, did he/she fertilise the egg in the traditional fashion? On third thoughts, let's not go there."
He concluded by urging journalists to "grow a pair — if that's not too 'transphobic' — and stop pretending this is the new normal," adding an antigay quip that he's "looking forward to the photos of Tom Daley breastfeeding his new baby."
As a result of the anti-LGBT piece, some advertisers — Southbank Centre and vacation destination Center Parcs — have pulled out fromthe Daily Mail. GLAAD, a media watchdog group, is calling on other advertisers like Suzuki Cars UK, Honda UK, Boots, Iceland Foods, and Carpetright UK to follow suit.
"This hateful discourse should never be normalized or sanctioned by businesses who expect LGBTQ people and our allies to use their products and services,” said Zeke Stokes, GLAAD's vice president of programs.
"We call on these companies to take a stand against the outdated arguments and vile homophobia and transphobia expressed in this column, and put their money where their mouths are by pulling their ads, and supporting LGBTQ people."
Black, while not referencing the Mail by name, released a statement in response to "others’ hate, bigotry & misinformation" on Twitter.
My reaction to others’ hate, bigotry & misinformation will not include anger or hate. For me, the path forward is lit with curiosity, listening, correcting the record when possible, and as best I can, leading with an example of strength & love. pic.twitter.com/lJ9pGn8stM
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 16, 2018