A colourful pride march has filled the main street of Daylesford on Sunday 12 March to celebrate and promote inclusion for LGBTIQ+ communities as part of the annual ChillOut Festival.
Minister for Equality Harriet Shing attended the ChillOut Festival’s Street Parade, a nationally celebrated LGBTIQ+ event that is Australia’s largest and longest-running regional pride festival. The festival ran from 9 – 13 March.
“We’re so proud to support the iconic ChillOut Festival as part of our ongoing efforts to promote LGBTIQ+ inclusion across regional and rural communities,” said Minister Shing.
“Pride events play such an important role in this work as they support LGBTIQ+ communities to connect and celebrate who they are.”
This year’s program features a diverse array of events including art exhibitions, drag performances and vibrant parties, in addition to annual fixtures such as the Street Parade along Vincent Street, and the all-day Carnivale at Victoria Park.
Supported by the Victorian Government, the festival has received $50,000 from the Pride Events and Festival Fund, a flagship program of the 10-year LGBTIQ+ strategy, Pride in our Future.
Most recently, the Pride Events and Festivals Fund has provided funding of $425,000 to support annual LGBTIQ+ events including the Midsumma Pride March, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, the GLOBE Awards, All the Queen’s Men’s Rainbow Families Dance Club, and ChillOut Festival.
The Fund also features an annual grants program which has funded 161 pride events across Victoria since its inception in 2018. Significantly, half of all activities funded in 2022-23 will take place in regional and rural communities.
The Government is also supporting regional rainbow communities by improving access to tailored services and supports and promoting equality through resources like the Rainbow Ready Roadmap, which provides step-by-step guidance to bolster and evaluate regional LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
“Regional Pride events, such as Chillout, play a crucial role in challenging discrimination and help build our diverse Rainbow communities to be visible in their own local areas, and positively influence the way that their stories are told,” Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Dr Todd Fernando.
For more information about the Victorian Government’s grant programs for LGBTIQ+ communities visit www.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Freddie Merkin and Dolly Diamond interview Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall at the 2023 ChillOut Parade – photo by Michelle Donnelly