Don’t blame yourself if you’ve never heard of Jan Moir. We hadn’t until today, either. But then Jan penned a Daily Mail column about the mysterious death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately. And according to those blowing up Twitter about it, she said some very mean things about the homosexual lifestyle.
This is a snapshot of Twitter taken just moments ago:
Why’s everyone so upset? Something about, uh, the way she phrased things:
Even before the post-mortem and toxicology reports were released by the Spanish authorities, the Gatelys’ lawyer reiterated that they believed his sudden death was due to natural causes.
But, hang on a minute. Something is terribly wrong with the way this incident has been shaped and spun into nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage.
Consider the way it has been largely reported, as if Gately had gently keeled over at the age of 90 in the grounds of the Bide-a-Wee rest home while hoeing the sweet pea patch.
The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.
Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.
And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.
After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.
Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room.
What happened before they parted is known only to the two men still alive. What happened afterwards is anyone’s guess.
A post-mortem revealed Stephen died from acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid on his lungs.
Gately’s family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer’s death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.
Nevertheless, his mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family.
Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like George Michael.
Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee, the former husband of Little Britain star Matt Lucas, and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubling questions about what happened.
It is important that the truth comes out about the exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death.
As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.
The Twitter (and Facebook) kids are so upset, they’re filing notifications with Britain’s Press Complaints Commission and circulating the contact information of the Mail‘s advertisers. It’s unclear whether the Mail will issue an apology, but the newspaper is undoubtedly paying attention; it already changed Moir’s headline from “Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death” to “A strange, lonely and troubling death . . .”