Conservative newspaper The Australian has come under fire after running a story comparing young trans people to the coronavirus epidemic.
Published on Monday, the article repeatedly refers to young trans men as “girls” and calls on the health department to investigate the “global contagion” of trans people.
It quotes University of Queensland law dean Patrick Parkinson as saying that amid concern about the coronavirus outbreak, “authorities” should address the “epidemic” of young trans people.
Readers have lashed out on social media about the story, calling it “stigmatising”, “fearmongering”, “abuse”, and “disgusting transphobic vilification”.
“Being trans is not a virus or a choice; being a rightwing fuckhead is,” wrote one person.
Queer activist Joshua Badge called on angry members of the community to make a complaint to the Australian Press Council about the story.
“So The Australian has started comparing trans kids to coronavirus, proving there’s no low they won’t sink to,” Badge tweeted.
“There is no reliable evidence for ‘social contagion theory’, ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ or harms related to affirmative trans healthcare.
“They are conspiratorial myths designed to delegitimise trans people and malign the LGBTI community.”
The Australian article further addresses so-called conversion therapy, seeming claiming both that it does not exist and that “trans activists” use it to influence the gender of adolescents and children.
“Critics [of the proposed Queensland law against conversion therapy] … say the government has no credible evidence that any Queensland therapists today try to undo the fixed sexual orientation of adults,” it reads.
“And opponents of the bill say the real worry is a deceptive widening of the term conversion therapy to criminalise any attempt to ‘change’ the inherently changeable ‘gender identity’ of very young children and those navigating the turbulent teenage years.
“This is said to be a global tactic of trans activists.”
The Australian has intensified its apparent campaign against trans people since last year, launching a dedicated ‘gender’ section on its website that targets the community with frequent negative stories.
It last week published a story claiming that trans youth are transitioning as part of a “fad” and are in danger of “detransitioning” in regret.