Melbourne LGBTI radio station JOY 94.9 has moved to distance itself from reports it will run a charity event to rival men’s mental health fundraiser Movember.
JOY met with Movember chief operating officer Jason Hincks and national depression initiative beyondblue deputy CEO Dr Nicole Highet this morning following a report in The Sunday Age the station would run a ‘Homovember’ fundraising campaign as a result of recent negative comments made by beyondblue chair Jeff Kennett on same-sex parenting.
JOY president David McCarthy said in a statement today The Sunday Age had misquoted him and the station had not officially endorsed the ‘Homovember’ campaign.
This afternoon McCarthy said the rival campaign would not be pushed by JOY and the three organisations have instead joined forces to help improve campaigns for gay men’s mental health.
“It is obvious to us that three heads are better than one,” McCarthy said.
“All three of our organisations have agreed that the specific health needs of gay men require a focused strategy between the three organisations to deliver the outcomes we all need and expect.”
“I wanted to reiterate again at the meeting that the JOY board will support the 2011 Movember campaign and was not supportive of any parallel fundraising campaigns and that we wish to work with beyondblue.”
Beyondblue deputy CEO Dr Nicole Highet said she was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and beyondblue will continuing working with the LGBTI community.
“We appreciate the support given to us and our work by JOY 94.9 and we look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure that we are responding to the mental health needs of the community,” she said.
Movember chief operating officer Jason Hincks said the charity is looking forward to working collaboratively with JOY.
“With Movember 2011 just around the corner, we’re excited to have the JOY community on board and are looking forward to seeing some good mo’s and healthy conversation around men’s health,” he said.
“The views of the gay community will continue to feed into and play an important role in shaping our conversations with both of our charitable partners, beyondblue and Prostate Cancer Foundation.
“As with all male demographics, we want to ensure that the programs we fund are directly answering the needs of a community and making a tangible difference.”
Meanwhile LGBTI mental health advocate Rob Mitchell, of the RJM Trust, has vowed the ‘Homovember’ campaign will still go ahead saying beyondblue is not doing enough to help combat depression in the LGBTI community.
“It will go ahead one way or another, we want to use this opportunity to show the high level of mental health issues in the GLBTI community,” Mitchell said.
The ‘Homovember’ charity spin-off was the brainchild of JOY presenter Doug Pollard who today said he has handed over the initiative and the ‘Homovember’ Facebook page he started to Mitchell.
“Homovember began as a joke, with me speculating what fun it would be to run a campaign in parallel with Movember in order to highlight their problematic support for beyondblue,” Pollard said.
“My idea was to raise funds which we would then give direct to the same causes Movember supports, prostate cancer and male depression, but cut beyondblue out of the loop.
“I thought it would be a neat way to demonstrate the value of the LGBTI contribution to Movember and beyondblue compared to the meagre return our community receives.”
Pollard said his comments were made as an individual and not on behalf of the station.
A JOY board member, who asked not to be named, said the station will be reviewing its social media policy in light of the controversy surrounding The Sunday Age story.
Movember last year donated $10 million to beyondblue as a result of its fundraising efforts.
Comedian and Triple J presenter Tom Ballard has started a petition calling on better leadership from Kennett on LGBTI mental health issues.
UPDATE – Pollard will not hand over his “Sack Jeff Kennett from beyondblue” Facebook page to Mitchell, as previously stated.