Pride set to spread the love to Victoria’s regions
- Victoria will celebrate pride across the state with a new festival to run from December to February.
- The state government will set aside up to $6.8 million over the next four years for Victoria’s Pride.
- Celebrations will take place in regional Victoria, after members of the LGBTQ community felt existing events were too Melbourne-centric.
Victoria will celebrate pride across the state with a new, two-month-long festival which organisers hope could rival Sydney’s famed Mardi Gras.
The state government will announce on Friday that it will set aside up to $6.8 million over the next four years for Victoria’s Pride, which will run from December to February.
Thousands of Melbourne’s LGBTQ community marched in the 2022 Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda.Credit:Chris Hopkins
“Victoria’s Pride will be a welcoming and inclusive celebration of LGBTIQ communities across the state – a chance for all Victorians to show visible love and support and for our community to celebrate who we are,” Equality Minister Harriet Shing said.
Shing said the government wants to expand the celebrations into regional Victoria, in a response to members of the community who felt the existing events were too centred around Melbourne.
The government is hoping to highlight regional communities’ voices and stories and the festivities could include community parties, art exhibitions, theatre performances and festivals.
Todd Fernando, Victoria’s Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities, said the revamped event would give people across the state the opportunity to show their support.
“Whether you are a member of our fabulous rainbow communities or an ally, I encourage you to attend Victoria’s Pride events this summer,” he said.
The summer of pride will end with a one-day street party in the Gertrude and Smith Street precinct, in the city’s inner north, on February 12.
The new festival is backed by Midsumma chief executive Karen Bryant, who said that Victoria’s Pride would complement the existing Midsumma festival – which runs for 22 days in January and February and showcases LGBTQ arts and culture.
Bryant said she hoped the final day celebration would showcase the communities in the city.
A salsa dance troupe at this year’s Pride March in St Kilda. Credit:Chris Hopkins
“So we bring the whole state together on the culminating day,” she said.
“The final day will be the shining jewel to wind up the whole of those celebrations on a statewide basis,” Bryant said.
It was such a success in 2021 they wanted to repeat it, and she said the celebrations could rival Sydney’s iconic Mardi Gras. “We hope so,” Bryant said.
“We see ourselves as being quite different to Mardi Gras in terms of the arts profile … and the wonderful reputation that we have culturally,” she said.
“In terms of attendances it’s getting bigger and better every year and this particular event statewide will certainly be – I think – of world standard.”
It was also an opportunity to invest in and showcase the diverse voices across all the LGBTQ communities, she said.
But for those who may not support the event she had a simple message.
“The ability to be able to authentically live a life that … is one that you can be really comfortable with but also that allows you to give … your whole self to community and to society.”
Grants of up to $15,000 will support arts and culture projects which showcase regionally based LGBTQ artists and highlight regional communities’ voices and stories, from community parties and art exhibitions to theatre shows and festivals.
Applications for the grants close on September 26 and the festival program will be announced later in the year.
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