With the election finally called, voters of all stripes will be breathing a sigh of relief. But with the unofficial campaign so drawn out and with little for gay voters this week, I’m reluctant to comment on it at this time – that I’ll leave to my new SSO colleague, Vanessa Wagner, in her column Voting with Vanessa.
Instead, I’m going to look at something that touches on all the issues we face today, particularly in the political sphere – and that is how mainstream media report on gay issues.
While most of the broadsheets now report on us fairly, the News Ltd tabloids are serial offenders in this area, and Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph the worst of that bad bunch.
We’re a favourite political football. Just this week we’ve seen headlines describing two gay men who sought IVF treatment and a surrogate mother overseas as “buying” their own twin sons, and right-wing lobby group the Australian Family Association given free rein to attack their parenting choice as tantamount to people trafficking.
In Monday’s online edition a story about a closeted Italian priest caught chatting up gay men was paired as a “related” article to two about child pornography and pedophilia.
And where sensationalist journos fear to tread, Telegraph readers will go with gusto – though this is the same paper that employs Piers Akerman, a man who equates the love felt by same-sex couples with that between people and farm animals and attempted to link Mardi Gras to child abuse at the height of Royal Commission hysteria in 1996.
Officially, the paper claims an online comments policy that rejects material that is offensive, illegal or contains clear errors of fact, but in practice it’s another story – at least if the target of your abuse is gay.
Earlier this year David Graham was labelled “abnormal”, a “poof”, “fag”, “pillowbiter” and “pansy” and accused of playing the “gay card” by readers following an article about his exit from Dancing with the Stars – with one even writing, “We should buy … an island and put all the gays on there and pray for a tsunami!”
Not even Telegraph staff are protected from abuse, with columnist Anita Quigley called a “dyke” for defending two lesbian mothers in a blog about a much reported on and somewhat frivolous lawsuit. In the same blog a reader wrote that what the two mothers needed “is a bullet”.
As part of any democracy our community and public figures have to accept reasonable levels of criticism, but Telegraph readers should be expected to express themselves without sinking to vile slurs and falsehoods.
These are moderated forums and the comments are cleared by staff. If they’re there it’s because someone wants them there.
E: [email protected]

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.