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PRIDE! event showcases a good step forward

July 2, 2022 BY

Left to right: SurfCoast for Equality member Merrin Wake, event co-organiser darqe Duke, Surf Coast Shire co-ordinator of child and family health Amy Clemens, Frock Hudson and Member for Western Victoria Andy Meddick at the front of Kurrambee Myaring Community Centre. Photos: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT.

PRIDE was in full swing at Kurrambee Myaring Community Centre on Sunday as the Surf Coast celebrated its LGBTIQIA+ community.

The ‘PRIDE! on the Surf Coast’ event, hosted by SurfCoast for Equality, attracted nearly 100 people to the centre on Merrijig Drive.

Co-organiser of the event Merrin Wake said it was the perfect way for locals from all backgrounds to come together under one safe space to celebrate Pride Month.

“Events like this are great and we would definitely like to organise more going forward,” Ms Wake said.

“It’s not just about having the community centre space itself; it’s also about letting people out there know that the support is here if they need too.

“We need to find more ways to bridge the gap between the shire and the LGBTQIA+ community.”

 

Left to right: Surf Coast Shire coordinator of Child and Family Health Amy Clemens, SurfCoast for Equality member Merrin Wake and event co-organiser darqe Duke.

 

Parents, kids and other Surf Coast locals were treated to rainbow-themed food and beverages, face and hand painting, and even a “drag-tastic” story time with the entertaining Frock Hudson.

The PRIDE! on the Surf Coast event came about through the shire’s inaugural $1,000 IDAHOBIT Day (May 17) grants which were delivered to four separate community organisations, however, with the pressures of an election present, the pride event was held until this past weekend.

For LQBTQIA+ community member and event co-organiser darqe Duke, the IDAHOBIT Day funding is a good step forward and the event was fantastic to see go ahead, but there is still work that needs to
be done.

“I don’t feel the queer community has completely recovered from the rainbow flag debate yet,” he said.

“It took place between four to six years ago and we still haven’t recovered yet because that was a really hard moment for a lot of people.

“I can say the shire is taking steps, but maybe they can take some more.”

 

Frock Hudson wowed visitors with a “drag-tastic” storytime.

 

Among the attendees was Member for Western Victoria and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick, who believes the shire has come a long way from where it used to be and they should have confidence moving forward.

“The shire still has a long way to go and events like this can only encourage them to do more,” Mr Meddick said.

“The shire will also have the backing of everyone at state government level. The work of the then and current LGBTIQ+ Commissioners Ro Allen and Todd Fernando, and the previous Minister for Equality Martin Foley, who has passed his role onto the first openly gay woman in the Victorian Parliament, Harriet Shing, can only be beneficial on the Surf Coast.

“So, the shire can and should have the confidence and the backing of the state government to move ahead with not just this event, but other events in the future, to get into the weeds of the community.”

Other recipients of this year’s IDAHOBIT Day grants included the Torquay Scouts, Surf Coast Secondary College and Anglesea Community House.