Image: Jenny Leong/Twitter
Protestors have descended upon The Daily Telegraph newsroom after the newspaper implied LGBTI teenagers were a “health concern” among secondary school age students.
Hosted by a number community activist organisations, a formal statement from The Daily Telegraph didn’t sway around 100 people from gathering at NewsCorp’s Sydney offices this afternoon.
Greens spokesperson for Gender Identity Jenny Leong was among organisers and is calling for an apology.
"This is blatant vilification of LGBTQI communities, and its something that needs a formal apology and response, not just excuses about how the graphics were put together," she told the Hit Network.
She added it's "disturbing" to see major news outlets publishing this kind of content while also pointing the finger at our pollies.
"The conservative politicians that have been whipping up fear about this community for a long time over things like marriage equality, have contributed to create this kind of damage on our young people," she said.
The backlash was initially sparked on Wednesday after The Daily Telegraph published an article with the headline “fat chance of being healthy”, with the subheading “young Aussies have only themselves to blame”.
While the article was reportedly addressing obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices, information inside of an infographic listed this tidbit: “16.8% of secondary school students in Australia are attracted to people of the same sex as them or to both sexes”.
Across social media, attendees documented the event as the fired-up crowd chanted “we’re here, we’re queer, don’t f**k with us!”
Some protesters also shared video of the snap rally to Facebook and Twitter.
The groups involved with the protest were the NSW Secondary Students Union, Community Action Against Homophobia, USYD Queer Collective, DIY Rainbow, the Australian Young Greens, the NSW Young Greens and Equal Marriage Rights Australia.
In an email obtained by Pedestrian, News Corp reportedly informed employees of the protester's rights to “express their views publicly”, but urged staffers to carry on with “business as usual”.
"As a company, we respect the right to freedom of speech and an individual's right to express their views publicly," they wrote.
"We will monitor the protest and ask that in the meantime, you continue to go about your business as usual."
And despite calls for a retraction and apology, a statement from the newspaper’s editor Christopher Dore instead said the “presentation of the story has been misinterpreted”.
“The story in no way suggests, or intends to suggest, that same-sex relationships are unhealthy,” he wrote.
“There is no judgement expressed at all in the story other than about diet”.