LGBTI Australians are furious at a newspaper article that links same-sex attraction with health issues such as obesity, alcohol and drug use.
Sydney’s most read newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, published a story today on a report about young people by the New South Wales Department of Health.
The report found 18-24 year olds drank lots of alcohol and took a lot of drugs. 37% of that age group were overweight or obese. The study also found that 22% of women and 12% of men suffered from psychological distress.
But it was the statistics around same-sex attracted people that has the community worked up.
The report found 16.8% of secondary school students in Australia identified as same-sex attracted. This number was about 10 times higher than any other age group.
Social demographer Mark McCrindle told The Daily Telegraph the number could be so high because young people often go through a phase in adolescence.
‘It’s about their life stage, they are working out where they are at… it’s a time of great flux,’ he said.
An infographic with the headline ‘Fat Chance of Being Healthy’ included the statistics about same-sex attracted young people.
People took to social media to express their outrage over the story, saying it was a homophobic, targeted attack. Many are calling on people to register a complaint to the Australian Press Council.
No offence meant
The Daily Telegraph’s editor defended the infographic and story saying they were not supposed to be judgemental.
‘It’s a statistical snapshot of young people’s lives, from where they live to how they live,’ Christopher Dore told this journalist.
‘The story in no way suggests, or intends to suggest, that same-sex relationships are unhealthy.
‘There is no judgment at all in the story other than diet.’
News Corp no big LGBTI fans
Today’s story comes after a string of articles, columns and cartoons campaigning against LGBTI issues have been published in media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp publications. The Daily Telegraph is one of the biggest News Corp newspapers.
News Corp’s The Australian newspaper and its notorious cartoonist Bill Leak received international attention for likening LGBTI people to Nazis.
Many of its newspapers have run campaigns against marriage equality and the LGBTI school program, Safe Schools.