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Saturday 24 June 2017

Gym chain circulates 'soy makes boys gay' claim

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 24th January 2010

The evangelical-Christian owners of a national gym franchise are being taken to task for encouraging their members to read discredited material claiming that drinking soy milk makes men gay.

In its most recent e-newsletter Club Physical, whose advertising slogan is "A place where you belong" and whose owners proudly proclaim their membership of Auckland's conservative evangelical Life Church, provides an "interesting" link to an article that claims that soy milk given to young boys turns them gay, with the rider that "homosexuality is always deviant."

The claim has no known basis in scientific or researched fact and no references are provided by its American author Jim Rutz. It first surfaced in New Zealand in a 2003 Investigate magazine article published by it's anti-gay conservative Christian publisher Ian Wishart. at that time contacted health authorities, soy milk manufacturers and even Plunket for comment and all rubbished the soy-gay link claim.

John Kingi
Auckland gym member John Kingi, who is gay, says he was "shocked and horrified" to see gym's promotion of the discredited information. He is cancelling his membership and is urging his friends to do the same. He says the original writer is a dubious American homophobic and right-wing Christian who has set up numerous sites with an anti-gay bias.

Although most of the Club Physical gyms, including the one Kingi uses, are individually owned and operated franchises, Kingi says he is not comfortable with any of his money ending up in the pockets of people who "endorse" this damaging claim. "Although they claim the gyms are 'A place where you belong' this clearly doesn't apply to glbt people," he says.

In his formal complaint to Club Physical owners and newsletter writers Paul and Tina Richards, Kingi, who is treasurer of the Rainbow Youth glbt peer support organisation says "there is simply no justification in my mind which can be made that absolves [Club Physical's owners] of the bad decision made in publishing the article."

A long-time observer of Christian groups, Dr Peter Lineham of Massey University, this afternoon said it is possible the Richards' membership of LIFE church would make them receptive to this kind of claim, but he is unaware of any specifically anti-glbt stance publicised by the "hugely resourced" and well-connected church.

Kingi says he would like to see an apology from the Richards, who he hopes will remove the link from their newsletter. He also wants them to be "more conscientious" about information they provide to their members in future. was today unable to contact the Richards for comment.

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