Cries of “Shame, Murdoch, Shame!” could be heard at lunchtime outside the Daily Telegraph offices. A large rainbow was chalked on the pavement around the entrance. On 12 July, the Sydney newspaper had published infographics on its front page about a new “health crisis” for young people, referencing rates of drug use and obesity. Another sign of sickness, according to the Tele? That 17 percent of young people are gay or bisexual.
In response to this appalling suggestion, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), NSW Young Greens and others held a speak-out protest at the newspaper’s building on Holt St. About 100 young protesters gathered to express outrage that homosexuality was described as an illness on the front cover of a major newspaper. Placards and speakers hit upon a common refrain: “Homosexuality is not the illness – homophobia is!”
Telegraph editor Chris Dore claims the cover has been “misinterpreted” and that the statistic – dead centre on the front page – was actually part of a separate story. But this is nothing new for the right wing tabloid. Murdoch has spent the last two years waging a media war against LGBTI youth and the incredibly popular Safe Schools program.
Many passers-by and News Corp employees clapped and cheered the protesters. With the 13 August anniversary of the 2004 same sex marriage ban, speakers pointed to the need to win marriage equality and other reforms coming up that will put Murdoch even further on the fringe.