DALE initiative reaching out to gay/bi+ men in closeted relationships

A new website out of Australia’s east coast is helping same-sex attracted men in relationships with women share their stories and find a support network to discuss their sexuality and surrounding issues.

DALE (Digital Acceptance Learning and Empowerment) is an intiative designed to provide a safe space for such men, particularly those in regional areas and of conservative backgrounds, to seek help and information.

“For some men in heterosexual relationships, the answer to that question gets pretty complicated. It may include questions or feelings of attraction to other guys.  And stigma is probably part of the mix too,” the website states on its home page.

“I’m here to offer a space for you to get the info you need and to connect with other likeminded guys to tackle stigma and a range of other issues head on. And if times are tough, I can point you in the right direction.”

The project is currently being spearheaded by the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) and funded by Beyondblue, who have committed $200,000 of funding over two years from their Movember fundraising drive.

“One of the researchers that was looking at this population has done some modelling to actually suggest that there might be up to 17,000 men in Australia who are same-sex attracted and living in a heterosexual relationship or lifestyle,” VAC’s Caleb Hawk told ABC.

“When you think about that in the grand scheme of things that’s actually a pretty big population for no service provision whatsoever targeting them.”

Hawk said the website had currently attracted approximately 70 registered users and 10,000 unique viewers. These visitors are currently being prompted to answer survey questions about their experiences with anxiety and depression as part of a University of New South Wales-driven research project.

Hawk also added that there was an absence of knowledge in this field, since this group of people have been difficult to reach in the past due to a lack of visibility. Services targeting same-sex attracted men in relationships with women have almost all shut down as a result.

“The only one standing is GAMMA [Gay and Married Men’s Association] NSW providing face-to-face services,” Hawk added.

Hawk is hopeful that state or federal governments will commit to supporting the program when Beyondblue’s funding expires in two years.

For more information, check out the website at DALE.org.au

OIP Staff

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