It was with the most profound sense of shock, sadness and loss that we woke on Monday morning to learn of the passing over the weekend of our colleague and friend, Charlotte Dingle – known to everyone who knew and loved her simply as ‘Lottie’. A familiar figure on the LGBT media scene with her ever-changing, brightly coloured hair – one week blue, the next pink – Lottie was the gentlest of souls, encapsulating the “be kind” mantra long before it became a social-media hashtag.
During her varied journalistic career, Lottie edited the lesbian title g3 magazine (which, under her stewardship, was the recipient of the prestigious Stonewall Publication of the Year award), was the senior features writer here at OutNewsGlobal, founded the online bisexual magazine Biscuit and was published all over the world, from Curve magazine in the US to LOTL (Lesbians on the Loose) in Australia. Her work appeared in Cosmopolitan on both sides of the Atlantic, DIVA, Gay Star News, LadBible and countless other titles. She was, quite simply, a brilliant writer.
But while her writing will live forever (check out her archive on this site), it is her generosity of spirit that shone even more brightly. I can honestly say that I cannot recall ever hearing her say a bad word about anyone. Even with those she disagreed with vehemently, she always assumed that they were acting in good faith and, when it came to politics (she was so far to the left she made Lenin seem faintly reactionary) she recognised the difference between an opponent and an enemy – something that today’s keyboard warriors might be advised to take on board.
Lottie was also brilliant company: witty, fiercely intelligent and always self-deprecating. And she was so very kind, thinking nothing of travelling halfway across London in filthy weather to comfort a friend and provide a shoulder to cry on. And what fun too! We had countless wild and messy nights out together and I shall treasure every single one of them.
It is a cliché to say of the dead that they were “too good for this world” or, for that matter, that “only the good die young”, but in this instance nothing could be closer to the truth. In many ways, she was an innocent in a harsh, complicated and often cruel world, and she made no secret of her struggles with alcohol and mental health. Recent years saw ever-more-frequent hospitalisations but, even during those darkest of times, the bright light of her indomitable spirit continued to shine.
I last spoke to her just two days before she left us and she was sunny and optimistic, talking about her next OutNewsGlobal column.
I cannot believe that she has gone…but she has, leaving a yawning, aching hole that can never be filled. I, like countless others, will miss her desperately, left only with memories of one of the most tender and beautiful souls we are ever likely to meet.
Rest in peace Lottie. You were loved.