Radio #9: Nicole Conner Returns
Podcast – 5 August, 2017, JOY 94.9 Melbourne
Produced by Katecia Taylor.
Nicole Conner’s first Inside Ex-gay interview took 18 months of negotiations before she entered the JOY studios in Melbourne to speak with presenter Dean Beck back in 2015. Two and a half years later, the former evangelical mega-church pastor finally breaks her silence regarding the fall-out, controversy and heartache that followed her appearance on this program.
Back then Conner revealed her personal values did not align with the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and ex-gay practices that she witnessed throughout evangelical churches. It sent shockwaves throughout Australia’s evangelical community that reverberated globally. What followed was a flood of conservative Christian commentators ridiculing Conner and condemning her views.
Amidst the unholy diatribe were numerous articles published by the now-defunct extreme-right-fundamentalist group, The Saltshakers, which quoted scripture, suggesting Nicole should “submit to her husband”, Pastor Mark Conner, the former Senior Minister of Citylife Church in Melbourne.
Undeterred by her critics, it’s a more resilient Conner who now draws strength from the hundreds of individuals she has touched through speaking out.
The 2015 interview has been downloaded over 10,000 times by listeners around the globe and while Conner admits it’s impact is difficult to quantify, she has been overwhelmed by the correspondence and love that she continues to receive from individuals struggling to reconcile their sexuality and faith.
“I now know that lives have been saved because of that interview,” she said.
Nowadays, Nicole spends her days writing and engaging in spaces of advocacy for issues concerning LGBTIQ people and refugees. She also has had time to reflect on 30 years of local church involvement and the last several turbulent years since coming out as affirming and a supporter of marriage equality.
Joining the conversation is ex-gay survivor and co-executive producer of the Inside Ex-gay series, Nathan Despott. Since starting this GLOBE-Award nominated project, Despott has gone on to became the policy leader for the Australian Equality Party, co-founded the Brave Network – a group for ex-gay survivors and LGBTIQ people of faith, and continues to advocate strongly for life-saving research, regulation and legislation to confront ex-gay ideology and promote inclusiveness for all.
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About presenter Dean Beck:
Producer. Broadcaster. Community Advocate. ENUF Ambassador.
Dean Beck has over 5 years experience as a broadcaster and radio producer. Dean is the founder and original presenter of community radio’s most popular show about sex, sexuality and self, Hide And Seek. He presents the nationally syndicated interview program Word For Word, heard each week on JOY 94.9 and across the Community Radio Network. He also presents a weekly news and current affairs program, On The Line. A tireless advocate for people living with HIV and ENUF Ambassador, Dean coordinated and hosted JOY 94.9’s groundbreaking radio and video web streaming broadcast, World AIDS Day Worldwide, a global 24 hour conversation held on December 1 2013, World AIDS Day. In 2013 JOY 94.9 presented Dean with the Addam Stobbs Broadcast Excellence Award and Living Positive Victoria presented him with their coveted Community Endeavour Award. Dean’s work in promoting gay men’s health saw Hide And Seek receive the HIV Awareness Media Award from Living Positive Victoria in 2013.