It’s been a fairly bruising fortnight for Melbourne LGBTI radio station JOY94.9.
The ongoing Kennett saga has challenged many of its supporters, still unsure what they think of the man and the national depression initiative he leads.
The feedback from listeners, following the first airing of JOY president David McCarthy’s interview with Kennett last week, was pretty grim.
Many, rightly, felt uncomfortable that the station seemed to lurch to Kennett’s side so readily, quickly announcing an alliance with beyondblue and Movember in a bid to show the community is cooperative.
Despite JOY’s best efforts to dress up the interview as Kennett the reformist, it was Kennett himself who threw a shroud of confusion over what he really thinks about gay families.
In fact, it’s important to listen to what he actually said. What he did say was that same-sex parented families are not his preferred family model and that was the reason he took to a major daily to make sure everyone else knew about it.
“I made the comment that my preference … which would be, in my opinion, the preferred, and that’s the environment that I have grown up in, [with] which I‘m familiar, that’s been my mother and father,” he told JOY.
“I didn’t set out to [discriminate] and I’m sorry to upset people, but on the other hand that is my opinion. But that doesn’t override the issue that it is a loving environment that is the most important.”
He also repeated a similar line to the ABC’s World Today when questioned on the controversy.
So what he is still saying is that his personal opinion, when it comes to children, is that heterosexual parents are best, but he won’t thumb his nose if a rainbow family happens to walk past.
As many have been at pains to point out, the silver lining in this controversy is that discussion of LGBTI depression and suicide ideation has been whacked into the mainstream.
That much is certainly true, but the important thing is to get some real change from beyondblue.
It remains to be seen how forgiving the community will be of the personal stance of JOY’s newest member.