BENDIGO Advertiser journalist Mark Kearney has been recognised for his outstanding reporting on issues affecting the central Victorian LGBTI community.
Mr Kearney was announced as the winner of the Think HQ Media Excellence Award at the GLOBE Community Awards ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday.
“This year has been, as a journalist, an at times trying one and at other times a simply impossible one,” he said in his acceptance speech.
He identified the marriage equality survey as the chief source of those difficulties, which he believed to have been more pronounced in regional Victoria than in other parts of the state.
“Often this is the first time those conversations are being had in those places, and it’s certainly the first time those conversations are playing out on the front pages of regional newspapers,” Mr Kearney said.
He thanked Bendigo Advertiser editor, Nicole Ferrie, for supporting him in his work and recognising “these are stories have not been told before and they cut deep to the experience of regional Victorians that belong to the LGBTI community.”
Mr Kearney also took the opportunity to thank some of the people who had shared their stories with him, and with the readers of the Bendigo Advertiser, in the past year.
“I have to thank Ashlyn, the 19-year-old trans woman who confided in me she not only feared the experience of violence, she expected to become the victim of violence,” he said.
“I have to thank Drew, the 63-year-old man who told me that after 40 years of feeling shunned by his community he now felt brave enough to stand up and share his experience of both discrimination and pride in Bendigo.
“I also have to thank the 20-year-old woman, Alex, whose experience of this survey saw her admitted to a psych ward in Bendigo
“Thank-you for sharing your stories. You all have stories to tell.”
Ms Ferrie said the Bendigo Advertiser was pleased Mark’s important work had been recognised.
“This newspaper does not shy away from standing up for what is right – that is, that all people should be treated equally,’’ she said.
“We will continue to support Mark in sharing the important stories of our LGBTI community.’’
Other recipients of Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise (GLOBE) Victoria Community Awards include LGBTI person of the year Micah Scott.