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Rockhampton homophobic? Nah, we fly the rainbow flag here

LGBTI FRIENDLY: Club-Rok secretary Alan Flood says Rockhampton is inclusive of the LGBTI community, despite a survey confirming homophobic attitudes of teenage boys.
LGBTI FRIENDLY: Club-Rok secretary Alan Flood says Rockhampton is inclusive of the LGBTI community, despite a survey confirming homophobic attitudes of teenage boys. Liam Fahey

A NATIONAL survey may suggest homophobia is alive and well, but Alan Flood thinks Rockhampton's rainbow flag flies unhampered.

Beyond Blue published a survey from TNS of more than 300 boys last month, showing a disturbing trend in the homophobic attitudes of 14 to 17-year-olds.

The results showed 38% of participants would not be happy if a same-sex attracted person was in their friendship group.

Six in 10 said they had witnessed people being bullied for their sexuality firsthand, and 23% thought it was okay to say something they don't like is "gay".

Mr Flood, secretary of LBGTI friendly organisation Club-Rok, said homophobia was not something he had personally experienced in the region but knew that didn't reflect everyone's experience.

"Rockhampton is quite positive and supportive... I mainly deal with Club-Rok, and I haven't experienced anything overly negative to do with being gay."

He attributed the survey's results to the complexities of youth and high school.

"Young boys are still finding their identity in high school... I don't believe kids will openly identify (as homosexual) until they leave school, a lot of kids just don't feel comfortable," he said.

"I think when it comes to a mate coming out, that's when boys start to become comfortable with it... I feel sorry for the younger boys, they're just finding themselves."

Encouraging this, Mr Flood is one of the event organisers for CQUniversity's Fair Day, an event celebrating diversity in the community.

He said the event helped to address stigma, and had prompted the first "Dykes on Bikes Equality Rally" to be held in June this year to celebrate "rainbow families" and community.

 

Topics:  beyondblue editors picks gay homophobia



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