Gippsland now hosting Pride Festival

Gathering: Gippsland Performing Arts Centre hosted the Gippsland Pride Festival launch. photographs supplied



GIPPSLAND is hosting its first-ever pride festival, with events well and truly underway.

Gippsland Pride Initiative has officially launched one of Victoria’s largest pride festivals, geographically and logistically, with 21 low and no-cost events for LGBTQIA+ Gippslanders, families and communities across four weeks, six shires and a few thousand kilometres.

The Gippsland Pride Festival was launched at the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, January 12 by Latrobe City Mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan, who was joined by Latrobe City Crs Dan Clancy and Tracie Lund, Latrobe City Citizen of the Year, Dean Sutton, and Latrobe City youth officer Rebecca Fenton.

“It was my pleasure to provide the Mayoral Welcome at the official launch of the Gippsland Pride Festival,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“Not only is the festival a first for the region, it is also one of Victoria’s largest pride festivals running across the six Gippsland councils with 21 low or no-cost events being held over four weeks.

“Gippsland Pride Initiative has done a wonderful job putting together the festival, and we are looking forward to everything that is on offer over the coming month.”

On Friday, January 13, the Queer Cuisine Community Dinner at Classique CafĂ© in Bairnsdale inaugurated a jammed-packed month of activities as part of Gippsland’s first-ever pride festival.

Queer Cuisine brought together the LGBTQIA+ community of East Gippsland for a delicious multi-course dinner.

Gippsland Pride Initiative couldn’t have been happier than to start Gippsland Pride Festival with a sold-out event.

“The Classique team put on an absolute treat for everyone,” the Gippsland Pride Initiative wrote on social media.

“Beautiful fresh antipasto and fruit, incredible rice paper rolls with chicken and prawns, and an alternate main of teriyaki chicken and an amazing meat and noodle salad combo that was divine.

“What a great way to kick off the Gippsland Pride Festival.”

Events five, six, seven, eight and nine were hosted over the weekend, including Drag Karaoke Bar with Frock Hudson; Rainbow Community Lunch at Baromi Park, Mirboo North; Splish Splash – Queer Pool Party, Pride Bus to Midsumma Carnival; and Gippsland Pride at Midsumma Carnival.

Midsumma Festival is Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ cultural festival, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences for three weeks of queer events that centre around hidden and mainstream queer culture.

Midsumma Carnival is a landmark full-day outdoor extravaganza, dedicated to launching the three-week-long festival, the annual queer-day-out, to kick off the 23-day Midsumma Festival.

In a Gippsland Times article written last year, voices from Gippsland’s LGBTQIA+ community shared that a lack of education, representation, medical services and support services accentuates feelings of being stigmatised and unequal.

Pride in our future: Victoria’s LGBTQIA+ strategy 2022-2032 – Victoria’s long-term plan to drive LGBTQIA+ equality and combat discrimination – was released in February 2022. It committed all parts of the Victorian government to make laws, policies and services safer and more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ Victorians.

The state government has also committed $15 million to strengthen the health, wellbeing, and social and economic outcomes of LGBTQIA+ Victorians in the 2022/23 Budget.

Despite taking steps towards equality, systemic discrimination and marginalisation of the LGBTQIA+ community persist, especially in regional Victoria.

LGBTQIA+ Victorians face greater levels of discrimination, stigma and exclusion and even more so for Gippsland’s queer community, where much fewer inclusive supports are available.

However, the launch of the inaugural Gippsland Pride Festival is evidence that things are changing.

“All the effort, blood, sweat and tears are slowly making a change, and we are feeling renewed hope going into 2023,” Gippsland Pride Initiative wrote on social media.

“We know there’s work to do, maybe more importantly than ever, and it begins here – Gippsland’s first Pride Festival .”

Cr O’Callagahn said Latrobe City Council was committed to celebrating the contribution of its LGBTQIA+ community and ensuring their safety in the community.

“We know that celebrating pride events such as this festival, along with flying the rainbow flag for IDAHOBIT Day, has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of our LGBTQIA+ community members,” she said.

“We look forward to working with Gippsland Pride Initiative this year to further this work.”

Gippsland Pride Festival is making its way to Sale for a special day in the Community Garden.

On Saturday, February 4, from 10.30am until 2.30 pm LGBTQIA+ individuals, Rainbow Families and allies are invited to join in a range of activities at Sale Seed Garden. People can get their hands dirty, enjoy a wood-fired pizza lunch, live music, and much more.

This is a secure event, spaces are strictly limited and registration is required.

All adults are to individually complete the form found at

Latrobe City Mayor, Kellie O’Callaghan, speaks at the Gippsland Pride Festival launch.