As one of the most cosmopolitan and forward-thinking cities in Australia, Melbourne has long been a shining beacon for queer, but today Gay Melbourne is currently experiencing a golden age of sorts thanks to the landmark passing of same-sex marriage laws in Australia.
In January 2019, Midsumma Festival will reveal itself in all its finery once again, bringing a kaleidoscope of preeminent queer arts and cultural festivities from 19 January to 10 February 2019. Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ communities since 1988, this year’s festival will unite around the theme of BODY - a suite of programming for and by Victoria’s trans, gender diverse and intersex communities. The heart of BODY will be pumping at Arts House across three days from 31 January to 1 February, as well as satellite events at Arts Centre Melbourne and Incinerator Gallery. One of the highlights of Midsumma this year is MDLSX by Motus – a revolutionary intersex performance by international artist Silvia Calderoni. While cabaret icons Maude Davey and Mama Alto - Gender Euphoria unveil an explosive and joyous new variety work which celebrates trans and gender diverse identities. The Midsumma Pride March will be held on 3 March 2019 in St Kilda, will highlight the diverse groups, personalities, sexualities and experiences that make Victoria’s queer community so beautifully colourful.
Celebrating its fourth iteration in 2019, Gaytimes - February 15 - 17, 2019 - is Australia’s queer music festival returning over two nights, featuring an epic line-up set across multiple stages. Gaytimes will also feature performers, visual arts, yoga, workshops, fun and games, camping, glamping, cocktail bars, specialty coffee, food trucks and much more. This BYO event will be held on the mountaintop of picturesque Lake Mountain Alpine Resort in Marysville.
Melbourne’s queer social epicentre Smith Street, Collingwood features something for everyone on a night out - no matter what time of the year. The 86 is a boutique cabaret bar that offers a touch of excitement with burlesque entertainment and free entry after the show for drinks. Evie’s Disco Diner offers a unique combination of 80s and contemporary music with vegan and non-vegan food options, it’s a diva paradise with a conscience. Sircuit Bar offers nightly DJs, dance and drag shows in a colourful, popular gay bar with a quaint bar and diner above. Every Thursday Yah Yah’s offers free entry queer party featuring rotating DJs, babes and booze.
Over the other side of the river, Prahran has historically also been a hotspot gay bars and clubs, particularly along Commercial Road.
Melbourne's queer and alternative bookshop, café and performance venue, Hares & Hyenas is the one-stop shop for reading and entertainment with a café and performance venue on site. The Gay Stuff Market also convenes at Hares & Hyenas and features a collection of the finest creators, artisans and style makers from the queer community. Hares & Hyenas can be found just off Brunswick Street in the heart of Spanishtown at 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy.
Unicorns have been growing in popularity over recent years - so much so that the events have become a festival, taking over the Northcote Town Hall on February 2nd and 3rd. A delicious day festival full of music, shows, activities, art and workshops. With glitter stations, kissing booths, body painting, talented performance artists and quality beats, this is a party not to be missed.
Looking to the future…
St Kilda is set to become the home of the Victorian Pride Centre . In 2020 this conceptual icon will celebrate Victoria’s diverse LGBTQI community, paving new directions for its future and honouring its brave, and at times, difficult past. It will provide an uplifting expression of welcome, engagement and belonging, housing up to ten resident organisations.
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