Mike Lockley is unlikely to be the guest of honour at this year’s Stonewall Awards.
The Birmingham Mail columnist sparked a furious reaction after being assigned to cover the second city’s Pride event and making no bones about his distaste for the whole thing.
The veteran commentator on all things Midlands wrote: “Why I, a reporter who cut his teeth in the 1970s, a time when there was a role for openly gay men (Widow Twankey in the local amdram society’s Christmas performance of Aladdin), was chosen to provide coverage at the lavish event remains a mystery.”
Lockley also described how he asked one of the party-goers to “lisp” and “mince” while spouting a series of what even a dinosaur like Axegrinder knows to be hopelessly outdated TV catchphrases.
Cue floods of comments, letters and emails to the Mail calling for Mike’s head.
All of which apparently missed the point.
The column was, it turns out, a joke, as Mike himself helpfully explained in a follow-up this week. The would-be equality campaigner was simply trying “to highlight the bigotry and ignorance Birmingham’s gay community still faces from a certain generation”.
Such an apologia didn’t satisfy everyone it seems. As one comment poster put it: “Jokes that need to be explained aren’t funny”.