Wollongong will join the likes of San Francisco, Amsterdam, Madrid and Sao Paulo, by being host to a gay pride festival – the region’s first – next year.
Illawarra LGBTI – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex – advocate Jon Le Breton revealed plans yesterday for a large-scale pride event, to be held in Stuart Park next March.
“There is a need for this in the community, for a truly inclusive festival,” he said. “Wollongong is a fantastic place for an event like this, but there has never been something like this here before.”
Mr Le Breton, a prominent voice for gay people in regional areas, was inspired to plan the day after a community forum held by his Discovery And Hope organisation at the Wesley Uniting Church in July. Following the success of that forum in reaching the Illawarra’s gay community, he said he saw the potential for a similarly themed event, but on a bigger scale.
“It’s about having community groups and organisations and stalls giving information about the services they offer in a regional city,” he said. “We live in an inclusive society, and this is about representing that with an event inclusive of everybody regardless of gender, nationality or sexuality.”
While still pulling together the final details, Mr Le Breton said the event had the potential to draw in big tourist numbers, estimating that up to 2000 visitors might attend.
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