I'm sick of feeling like a pedophile

Words by Clinton Barnes

Hi. I'm gay. But I'm not a pedophile. I don't know why I have to say that but the Daily Telegraph makes me feel like I need to. With their headline today of “Parents’ Fury at Gay Parenting Doco” (that has since been downgraded to anger), and accompanying opinion column and editorial, they launch deep into fanning flames of hatred.

In their main article on the supposed uproar (that is, their own media beat-up) about the screening for high school students of a heartfelt movie about same-sex parents, Gayby Baby, the dog whistling from the Tele is clear: “...the flyer depicted a young, shirtless boy with a tattoo on his chest”. We all get the subtext: pedophiles (i.e. gays) use a picture of a naked boy.

Why was that particular sentence central to the story? Let's rewrite descriptions of  some heteronormative film posters. See if you can guess what these films are (answers at the bottom).

The poster features:

  • a man in flamboyant clothing in a male-only house of dozens
  • a young, nervous boy surrounded by older men
  • actors in leather, with straps and other apparatus
  • a man and woman in an embrace and it is not certain if either has their pants on
  • a young girl being taken in a van by several men, including an elderly man, and a woman assisting
  • a man close behind a woman while she is leaning over the bow of the ship

Reporting on the reactions of parents about their high school is legitimate. But this is quite clearly a campaign to return schools to their homophobic hay-day. We’re not sure many parents are outraged, and we’re certainly not hearing the perspectives of supportive parents. Former students say supportive parents would be the majority.

The Telegraph forced the conservative government to drop a successful program called Proud Schools, established by the previous Labor government to reduce homophobic bullying in schools. It was a great initiative to address bullying in schools that any gay or sexuality diverse person can attest to experiencing.

The campaign by the paper had headlines like this in 2012: “Adrian Piccoli won’t ditch Proud Schools trial”, and “Being straight no longer normal, students taught”.

Answers:

  • Willy Wonka
  • Harry Potter
  • Avengers
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Titanic

Let's get #teleboycott trending. Tell your gym, tell your workplace, and tell your hotel lobby, tell whoever, to stop distributing this trash.

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