After more than 12 years and a variety of roles at the ABC, award-winning journalist and out and proud queer, Mon Schafter, may have found gold at the end of the rainbow. The ABC is now leading the content for ABCQueer, the ABC’s hub for young LGBTQIA+ people.

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“When this opportunity came up to focus solely on queer content, that was like, wow, all my worlds coming together. I’m queer myself, I’m part of the community, I’ve been actively involved with the community, you know, for a number of years,” says Schafter.

Curating Queer Youth Content

Schafter, who has served on the boards of Midsumma and Star Observer and is a board director at Twenty10, was named one of Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTQI+ Leaders in Deloitte’s Out50 report. Schafter also MCed on the main stage at Fair Day.

As Content Lead for ABCQueer, Schafter is responsible for curating queer youth content across various platforms. ABCQueer began as an Instagram account, filling a void in the community when it quickly amassed a following.

It was expanded into other content including the podcast Innies + Outies, which was launched last October.

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Schafter interacts with a lot of young queer people, listening to them and providing a platform for them to be heard.

“I’m kind of blown away by how savvy they are with this idea of gender and sexuality being a spectrum … It warms my heart for the next generation where people have the freedoms to be who they want to be,” says Schafter, recalling how queer people once struggled with labels when they were coming out.

Strong Culture of Diversity

How does Schafer feel about the Mardi Gras parade returning to the ABC?

“I’m pretty stoked. We were the first broadcaster to broadcast the parade back in 1994 … I want to make it better than it’s ever been.

“I want to see so much diversity in terms of sexuality and gender in our coverage, but also intersectional representation. I really want to highlight the experiences of queer Indigenous people, of queer culturally diverse people. I want lots of geographical diversity as well in terms of what it’s like for LGBTQIA+ people in regional and remote parts of Australia.”

A strong culture of diversity within the ABC is manifest in various representative groups. ABC Pride is headed by Manda Hatter, former president of Dykes on Bikes and a “matriarch for LGBTQIA+ staff at the ABC”.

ABC has the rights to Mardi Gras – including Sydney WorldPride – for the next three years, and there’s a fairly large queer contingent within the organisation who are ecstatic about it.

“Honestly, the enthusiasm for Mardi Gras being broadcast by the ABC is off the chart,” says Schafter.

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