Australian newspaper sparks backlash by saying being LGBT is unhealthy for young people
An Australian newspaper has attracted a backlash after including LGBT people in a graphic about how the youth are unhealthy.
The headline of the article, published this morning in The Daily Telegraph, was “Fat Chance of Being Healthy”.
This was positioned directly above an image titled “Young Aussies only have themselves to blame”.
Alongside troubling figures on obesity, alcohol and drug consumption and mental health was a completely untroubling statistic about the LGBT youth.
It showed that 16.8 percent of Australian secondary school students are homosexual or bisexual, according to a report which the article was based on.
The figure was placed right in the centre of the graphic, above drug use and below alcohol intake, prompting outrage from readers, as reported by BuzzFeed Australia.
Tele: we don’t need Safe Schools to stop bullying LGBTI kids
Also Tele: same-sex attraction is an illness pic.twitter.com/p9kZKch5n4
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) July 12, 2017
— Em Rusciano (@EmRusciano) July 12, 2017
— Jeremy Buckingham (@greensjeremy) July 12, 2017
— Elle McClure (@ellemcclure) July 12, 2017
— Jonathan Green (@GreenJ) July 12, 2017
This morn’s Daily Telegraph lists kids being attracted to the same sex as an example of being unhealthy, alongside drug and alcohol abuse pic.twitter.com/obd430BFFn
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) July 12, 2017
.@dailytelegraph A homo here. I’m pretty stoked to be gay, I have a great friends, a career, a heater! I don’t feel like a “health concern.”
— BM (@macleanbrendan) July 12, 2017
— PatriciaKarvelas (@PatsKarvelas) July 12, 2017
Christopher Dore, Editor of The Daily Telegraph, released a statement on Twitter following the backlash.
He defended the story and its accompanying graphic, saying: “The headline clearly referred to the health issue of obesity, as did the accompanying story, which focused on diet.
“The graphic that sat alongside the story took statistics from the NSW Government’s Youth Health Framework report 2017 to 2024, capturing a broader snapshot of the lives of our young people.
“It is a statistical picture of young people’s lives, from where they live to how they live.
“Unfortunately the presentation of the story has been misinterpreted.
“The story in no way suggests, or intends to suggest, that same-sex relationships are unhealthy.
“There is no judgement expressed at all in the story other than about diet.”
The article included social demographer Mark McCrindle’s quote that this figure was “extremely high” compared to the rest of the population.
“It is almost 10 times the national figure,” he added. “It’s about their life stage, they are working out where they are at … It’s a time of great flux.”
Apart from this slightly condescending comment, there was nothing else derogatory in the article about LGBT young people – aside from the graphic, of course.
The country’s right-wing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly blocked a free vote in Parliament on equal marriage, despite overwhelming public support.
Opponents have alleged that Turnbull gave private assurances to conservatives within his own party on the issue during his 2015 leadership bid, in order to shore up support.
However, the leader is now facing a challenge to his authority from rebels within his party who support equal marriage.