‘GEN­UINE DIVER­SITY IS ES­SEN­TIAL FOR CHANGE’

Award-win­ning TV pre­sen­ter, broad­caster, doc­u­men­tary film­maker and in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Pa­trick Ab­boud works tire­lessly to re­port on dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBTQI com­mu­ni­ties around the world, chal­leng­ing stereo­types to stamp out ho­mo­pho­bia

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Celebrity -

Tell us about the work you’ve done in the past 12 months. I’ve brought to light the heart­break­ing sto­ries of youth at risk of harm in Aus­tralia’s Mus­lim LGBTQI com­mu­ni­ties, ex­posed dis­crim­i­na­tion against trans­gen­der peo­ple in the Aus­tralian De­fence Force and ho­mo­pho­bia in the NSW Po­lice force, and in­ves­ti­gated un­solved gay hate crimes. I’ve vol­un­teered for the Mar­riage Equal­ity cam­paign, as­sist­ing with unique cam­paign strat­egy to reach mul­ti­cul­tural and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties. I’m pas­sion­ate about cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for young LGBTQI peo­ple from eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties to be more vis­i­ble, to feel safe and to be em­pow­ered to have their say. It’s hard for many cul­tur­ally di­verse com­mu­ni­ties as we don’t see LGBTQI peo­ple as much as we should across the wider me­dia land­scape. I’m work­ing to change that, and am also de­vel­op­ing an ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram to take to Arab Coun­cil Aus­tralia to bet­ter sup­port non-English speak­ing par­ents of LGBTQI kids com­ing out. We need to work a lot more closely, one-on-one, with fam­i­lies.

Why is that so im­por­tant to you? My par­ents are Arabs and took it badly when I came out. Mum was wail­ing like she was at a fu­neral and Dad just shut down; if I walked into a room, he’d walk out. It hasn’t been very easy but it’s an on­go­ing jour­ney with my fam­ily and over the past few years we have come so far. I’m proud of them and lucky to have them – they’re in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive now and are my rock. At the end of the day, I am who I am be­cause of the beauty and rich­ness of my cul­tural back­ground and I’m so proud of that, but in more ex­treme parts of the Arab world it is still il­le­gal to be gay. Plus, in a num­ber of Mus­lim ma­jor­ity na­tions, ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is still a crime that’s pun­ish­able by im­pris­on­ment – and, in some cases, the death penalty. There is still so much work that needs to be done.

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