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AIDS crisis and the media


“Birmingham didn’t seem to be so highly affected by the HIV crisis as London or partly because we didn’t have such a vibrant gay scene as places like at that time. There wasn’t a lot of money going into outreach work with gay men. There was an incident when the Regional health Authority banned a poster because it showed a scene of two men who were baring their nipples. They were gay nipples! The gave an excuse to a lot of bigots to be extra bigoted. For instance the statue of Lucifer that was for many years in the tea room at Birmingham Art Gallery was removed because there had been a complaint from a Christian pressure group to get it moved. It was a work by Epstein and it was quite a beautiful statue. It wasn’t removed from public view but it was removed from the tea rooms! People used to call the the ‘Meaning Evil’ and the Wolverhampton was called the ‘Suppress and Slur’. It’s easy to be sensationalist if you are moralistic and it sells papers. The Evening Mail condemned for clashing with the Lord Mayor’s show. Now they are noticeably more supportive.”

Contributed by: Lyn David Thomas, 47

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