A voice for the LGBTIQ+ community – From Paddocks to Pride

September 10, 2019

Two women engaged in an interview using recording equipment

From Paddocks to Pride provides a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community in regional Victoria, inspiring others to feel accepted as they are, in the town where they grow up.

Sarah’s involvement as a community broadcaster was inspired by OCR FM‘s Jonathan Graham, who connected with Sarah through Scouts. He suggested Sarah should get involved in community media to earn some new Scout badges!

“I floated the idea of running something LGBTIQ+ focused and the station loved the idea as this is a community that hasn’t had a strong voice in the area.” And From Paddocks to Pride was born.

Colac is a city of just over 12,000 people on the southern shore of Lake Colac and the surrounding volcanic plains in western Victoria. Similar to many other regional areas, Colac has not always been a welcoming place for the LGBTIQ+ community. There has been a lack of visibility, with many locals believing there aren’t any LGBTIQ+ people in town at all. Many people identifying as LGBTIQ+ moved to other areas because they didn’t feel welcome. For those staying in the community, they didn’t always feel safe and free to be themselves, leading to substance abuse, mental and physical health issues.

“In all honesty, I was one of these people. I left after high school. I had internalised homophobia for a long time despite moving to a larger regional centre (Geelong). I know a few of my friends from my high school years have also come out, and they were also quite quick to move away.”

Sarah and the team at OCR FM are working to promote understanding and connection by amplifying the voices of LGBTIQ+ members of their community.

“If we can show we do exist and at the end of the day are normal people who deserve to be viewed as equals, hopefully we can help change perceptions. Some people are homophobic or transphobic simply due to lack of exposure and knowledge.”

So far From Paddocks to Pride has covered LGBTIQ+ stereotypes and misconceptions, and is currently running a series on mental and physical health. In the future, Sarah plans to run a series promoting healthy relationships and representation in the media to provide positive examples of LGBTIQ+ representation.

Hosting her show has helped Sarah understand other sexualities and gender identities, making her feel more comfortable with her own sexuality.

“It has brought me closer to one of my friends who has helped produce content and host episodes. The show has provided me with exciting opportunities in the community, including involvement in a LGBTI Equality Rural and Regional Roadshow. I’m also working with others to bring the community together in the Colac area”.

Sarah received a CBF Content grant to purchase portable audio recording equipment and marketing for From Paddocks to Pride.

Follow From Paddocks to Pride on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Radio-Station/From-Paddocks-To-Pride-on-OCR-FM-693202564387237/

And check out From Paddocks to Pride podcasts below.