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Capital Gay
FounderGraham McKerrow & Michael Mason
Founded26 June 1981
Ceased publication30 June 1995
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK

Capital Gay was a weekly free gay newspaper published in London. It was founded by Graham McKerrow and Michael Mason and published its first edition on June 26, 1981, Pride Week. Its last edition appeared on June 30, 1995, having become Britain's longest-running gay newspaper. Despite its name it was also distributed in Brighton and had a combined circulation, in the two cities of around 20,000 when it folded, mainly due to competition from The Pink Paper and Boyz.

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 1982².

During the controversy over Section 28 in December 1987, the paper's offices were targeted in an arson attack. Conservative Member of Parliament Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman was quoted as believing this was a good thing and when challenged in Parliament said "I am quite prepared to say that there should be an intolerance of evil" (Hansard, December 13, 1987).

Frequent contributors included Peter Tatchell, who wrote a significant article about the African National Congress's attitude to gay rights on September 18, 1987. This article and a private letter to Thabo Mbeki resulted in a shift in the ANC's policy on the issue3,4.


  1. Capital Gay. The Knitting Circle: Lesbian and Gay Staff Association, London South Bank University. Retrieved on October 8, 2006.
  2. Timetable of Lesbian and Gay History. The Knitting Circle: Lesbian and Gay Staff Association, London South Bank University. Retrieved on October 8, 2006.
  3. South Africa's President played leading role on rights. Retrieved on August 13, 2005.
  4. The moment the ANC embraced gay rights. Peter Tatchell's personal website. Retrieved on August 13, 2005.

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