Daily Telegraph denies it’s making a judgement about gay teens

The editor of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph has responded to the barrage of criticism over an info-graphic that appeared to list being same-sex attracted as a health risk being faced by NSW teenagers.

The newspaper’s editor Chris Dore said people had misinterpreted the info-graphic that declared that young people only had themselves to blame for their poor heath.

Dore told the Australian LGBTI Media Centre that the info-graphic was about obesity and at the same time presented a snap shot of young people’s lives.

“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.” Dore responded to the centre when they raised concern about the report.

“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 editor argued that there was no way that the story suggested that being gay was a health hazard, and refuted that the newspaper was making a judgement about young LGBTI people’s lives.

“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.” Dore told the LGBTI Media Centre.

The editor also published a response on the statement on the newspaper’s Facebook page saying that people had misinterpreted the info-graphic.

Andre Charadia, Director of the LGBTI Media Centre (pictured) said that while the depiction may have been inadvertent it had already sent a damaging message to readers.

“There’s two possibilities here,” Charadia said. “At best, the Telegraph has been really sloppy in the way it’s put this graphic together. Another statistic represented in the graphic was one third of Australia’s young people live in NSW. Clearly that is not a health concern.”

“At worst, the Telegraph is perpetuating a grossly unfair and false narrative that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people are inherently unhealthy,” Charadia said.

The director said it was understandable that the article had received wide condemnation and outrage throughout the day.

“It’s understandable that many in the LGBTIQ community are outraged that such an insinuation could be made. Our community is still regularly labelled by anti-LGBTIQ activists and extremists as mentally ill and ‘inherently disordered’, and as living ‘unhealthy lifestyles’,” he said.

Charadia said the newspaper should either admit that they designed the info-graphic badly or apologise for spreading a debunked narrative about the LGBTI community’s health.

The newspaper’s social media post suggesting that readers were misinterpreting the information presented didn’t go down well. Within a few hours it had attracted over 1,300 mostly negative comments.

A snap protest has been announced outside the publication’s Sydney offices at 12:30pm tomorrow afternoon.  

Graeme Watson

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