Hey there Guys,
Yesterday I was contacted by a “journalist” who wanted to do a story after reading my article about concerns after a young gay man took his own life after diagnosis with HIV.
I have to say I was excited to hear the press were interested in the story and was enthusiastic to engage her. The more this news gets out the more power we will have to help young people in similar situations. She even said:
“It’s a very sad story and we could use it to draw people’s attention to the issue and how gay men can get help…”
After a little to and fro the journalist asked me “What city was he from?”
I explained that the young man was living in Melbourne.
This is the reply I got:
“Ok we wouldn’t do it then sorry, we’re a Perth paper…but plz let me know if this ever happens to someone in Perth”
Un Fucking Believable.
Just imagine if you were a young gay man, sitting in shock after being diagnosed with HIV unsure of what direction to go. Contemplating if life is worth living.
I wonder if a well written article that explains potential supports, that explains that HIV is now a manageable infection could change his life?
Apparently to this journalist at The West Australian, he will only be worthy of such an article once someone takes their life in their local distribution area.
I honestly don’t know what to say other than shame on this newspaper. I hope they offer this journalist some sort of cultural sensitivity training.
Fucking pissed off.
Guys, please share this article forward to all your friends. The more that know about it the better!
Update: I have now made two attempts to contact the team at The West Australian for comment. So far I am yet to have my phone call returned.
I received a call from Ben Martin, assistant editor and chief of staff for The West Australian. He apologized for his writers “clumsily worded” reply. He informed me that the writer is keenly interested in reporting gay and lesbian issues.
Given this situation I suggested if she was still so keen she can contact me to continue with the story.
Mr Martin reassures me that all writers at The West Australian have been though cultural awareness training as part of their cadet year.
He has let me know that tomorrow’s lead news article will be on suicide. I look forward to reading that they have identified all of those at high risk including young gay men living in the social isolation of rural communities, you know like they have in Western Australia.
I look forward to sharing if anything happens, or nothing at all.
As a result of this article I received an apology from the writer. Click to read my open letter of reply to The West Australian