patrickembedFans of savvy, pop-cultural current affairs programs like Hungry Beast and The Project should find much to love in The Feed, a new 15-minute program freshly launched on SBS2. Hosted by ‘That Movie Guy’ Marc Fennell, the program is actually the brainchild of reporter Patrick Abboud.

“When I was thinking about the idea for a show like this, I was thinking about myself and how I consume media. I consume so much material every day; you might be looking at your phone, your tablet and the telly all at the same time,” Abboud told the Star Observer on the day of the show’s launch.

“I can’t remember the last time I went home and watched ‘appointment TV’ – I view a lot of my content online. That’s why I call this a ‘module’ format, it all works as a show but you can lift a chunk of it out and post it on social media and it’ll still work by itself.”

The Feed opened with one of Abboud’s stories during its May 20 show, and it was a piece particularly close to the reporter’s heart. The story tackled the under-reported incidence of gay Arab Australians entering into marriages of convenience to pacify their families.

“It’s a story I’ve been working on for some time, and being a gay Arab myself, it’s something I’ve been exposed to for a number of years but it’s been so hard to approach because it’s almost impossible to get people to talk about the issue,” he said.

“Gay Arab man meets Arab lesbian woman, and they go through with the whole shebang: marriage, honeymoon, living together. The families come to visit regularly and leave without a clue.”

Abboud spoke to a psychologist for the story who estimated she’d seen as many as 300 such cases here in Australia in recent years.

“That shocked me. At first I was concerned I might be lifting the lid on something that might be better left alone, but then I thought we need to put pressure on Arab and gay and lesbian networks in Australia to provide more support.”

Abboud has plenty more queer-interest stories in the works for future episodes of the show, including a fascinating look at the ‘Fa’afafine’, or ‘third gender’ in Samoan culture.

“If a family has over six boys and there are no girls, the mother chooses one boy to be raised as a woman. That has massive implications, because it’s not a choice you make – it’s put upon you. I interview an ex-Cronulla Sharks player who was brought up as a Fa’afafine, and he talks about the profound effect that had on his life,” he said.

“There’s no TV show out there in Australia that regularly puts our content out there. I’m looking to get some stories out that reflect the genuine diversity of our community.”

INFO: The Feed, 7.30pm weeknights on SBS2.

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