CITY of Ballarat councillor Daniel Moloney shares his story because for far too long he has internalised a great worry. He shares his story hoping other men, struggling under their own unbearable weight, will realise it is okay to speak up, find help and change or save their life.
Cr Moloney felt he was ready for his own well-being to publicly share he was bisexual.
There were still worries for Cr Moloney about what others might say in the wake of releasing a social media video late Wednesday night, but he also found an overwhelming support and kindness from Ballarat.
As it turns out, a lot of that worry was unnecessarily amplified in my mind.Daniel Moloney
"As it turns out, a lot of that worry was unnecessarily amplified in my mind. We actually live in a city that is pretty accepting of all people," Cr Moloney told The Courier.
"...I feel I have been able to take a full breath of air for the first time in 30 years, there had always been that little bit of anxiety there. I am grateful and while I still worry there will be trolls, it is inevitable they are still out there - those people who make it particularly hard.
Watch his video here.
"The problem is when people are not prepared to share and trust others around them. I see too often men in Ballarat die because they can't bear their weight and this doesn't have to be about sexuality, it might be other relationships, school or finances.
"My big learning was I wish I'd reached out earlier."
The problem is when people are not prepared to share and trust others around them. I see too often men in Ballarat die because they can't bear their weight.Daniel Moloney
A single father with two sons, aged 20 and 15, Cr Moloney had been open and honest with his sons for years and they had been supportive of his decision to speak up. Family and close friends knew and he had been seeking professional help from a counsellor for a couple of years before joining council.
It was in joining the Ballarat council that Cr Moloney felt an added layer of complexity. While not as high profile a councillor as some of his counterparts, Cr Moloney was still aware he was a public figure.
Even though Cr Moloney knew his sexuality was an incredibly personal detail there, he felt a sense of secrecy and sparking whispers from a seeming lack in transparency.
Cr Moloney felt shame and said professional help allowed him to work through those worries.
A serious health concern in March, just as the ripple effects of COVID-19 hit Ballarat, forced him to confront the possible outcome of not saying anything.
Cr Moloney had been looking to events like the bushfires or the pandemic or even City of Ballarat drama as excuses for inappropriate timing then realised no time might ever feel like great time to speak up.
He realised as a public figure he might help other men to find the courage to speak up about whatever was worrying them too.
- READ MORE:Meet Ballarat's accidental counsellors
"I hope society's attitude towards men and young men is changing," Cr Moloney said.
"There is that old perception men have to be strong and not express emotions. From a male point of view, you don't have to keep it to yourself, you don't always have to be the strong one."
There is that old perception men have to be strong and not express emotions...you don't always have to be the strong one.Daniel Moloney
Personally, Cr Moloney said he was still the dad whose sons thought he dressed badly and the man who still rambled a lot. He was still a friend, a small business person and councillor. He was still the same guy only people knew a bit more about him now.
Cr Moloney said Ballarat was a not-too-big regional city, so when you walked down the street you usually saw someone you knew - and this promoted a sense of support and protection for each other.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, help is available but not limited to:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Mensline 1300 789 978, mensline.org.au
- QLife 1800 184 527 (support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people).
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.