If Melbourne GLBTI radio station JOY94.9 is a microcosm of the gay community, the results of its recent members survey show homophobia is still an obstacle to overcome.
Last week, Southern Star reported over 94 percent of JOY94.9 members surveyed agreed the station should have a more active advocacy position to speak out when homophobic acts or comments appeared, particularly in the media.
Further details of the survey released this week show almost two-thirds of the 435 respondents have experienced homophobia and almost half have experienced bullying.
JOY94.9 acting general manager Dan Vo said the data were still being analysed. He agreed that without the radio station, a great outlet for support and freedom of expression would disappear.
“Without JOY I would have had a terrible time at high school. It had a positive effect on my life and I’m sure many others feel the same way,” Vo said.
“People want to make a positive contribution for change, which I think often attracts people [to JOY94.9].”
Seventy-two percent of those surveyed still consider homophobia an important issue facing the GLBTIQ community and around half of the respondents consider bullying, depression, self-harm and suicide key problems.
Almost 40 percent said they could personally relate to depression, self-harm and suicide, and almost one-third had experienced problems with drugs and alcohol.
It’s not all bad news, however. ‘Celebrating diversity’ was identified as the station’s top priority, with 85 percent of respondents saying they had positive experiences celebrating diversity.
Addressing homophobia and discrimination law reform were also identified as priorities.
“We use the word ‘advocacy’ but really it’s already the way we operate”, Vo said.
“This survey now gives us a clearer indication of what we need to do and combine that with existing supports such as the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and ALSO [Foundation].”

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