To shine a light on all the incredible LGBTQI executives and creatives in our industry, TIO has teamed up with Wonder founder Matt Emsell (5SOS, Matt Corby) to launch an article series. We’ll ask industry figures and artists how their sexuality and gender identity has shaped their experiences in the Australian music business. And, of course, why marriage equality is important to them.
With the final day of the Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote today (November 7), the music industry has an important role in the discourse playing out in the public space.
Below is our Q&A with Fraser Stark, the Group Channel Manager, Arts & Music Channels at Foxtel Networks Australia.
Why are you taking part in this campaign?
I am a gay man who has spent many years in childhood and early adulthood feeling unaccepting of my own homosexuality. When, in my mid-twenties, I unburdened myself of the acute worry that my gayness had caused me and ‘came out’ I became openly and irreverently gay. It felt, and still feels, really good.
I would like, in turn, to be part of the trend toward general openness and self-acceptance so that others can live in a society that does not promote the anxiety caused by self-denial and shame.
The marriage equality plebiscite. Discuss!
The plebiscite is a terrible waste of money. It cannot ensure an outcome and so it represents an abdication of political leadership. In this way the plebiscite embodies cowardice and waste – not very aspirational. It asks voters to have their say in a matter that is not theirs to decide and, insofar as it allows for a ‘no’ vote, it legitimises the views of bigots.
Tell us about your experience of being LGBTQ in the Australian music industry.
I am new to the music industry having arrived in it via the television industry – namely through Foxtel’s Arts & Music channels. Foxtel’s stance in favour of marriage equality is well known – indeed its attitude of openness and acceptance of a diverse workforce has always been normal in my time at Foxtel (the past ten years).
In my working life I have always felt accepted and supported in matters of sexuality. That should come as no surprise – the creative industries, like academia, have long been at the progressive edge of social developments.
What are your hopes for the next generation of LGBTQI kids hoping to break into the Aussie music industry?
That they don’t steal my job, that they don’t create any new apps or any new social media channels, that they love dinosaurs, and that they have every opportunity that a straight person would.