A number of LGBTIQ community groups have withdrawn from Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride March this weekend, citing health concerns over the expected maximum temperature of 39 degrees on Sunday.
The march will be held in St Kilda on Sunday as part of Victoria’s Midsumma festival. Organisers this year moved the march’s start time to 11am rather than 2pm to address the possibility of extreme heat conditions.
Thorne Harbour Health said on Friday that given the forecast they had “made the tough decision” to drop out of the march.
“We’re committed to looking after the health and wellbeing of our volunteers, members and staff as well as the broader community we serve,” the organisation said in a statement.
“During heatwave conditions and following our experience in 2018, we have to consider the risks posed by some activities for everyone involved.
“Unfortunately, since the nature of the march will mean being in an open area without significant shade for a prolonged period of time, we can’t ask those marching with us to expose themselves to the associated health risks.”
Rainbow Families Victoria also said the had made the “hard decision” not to participate in the march because of the expected temperatures.
“The volunteer committee is worried about the impact of heat stress on our kids and families,” they wrote on Facebook.
“Even with the earlier start time, many of us felt it was better not to take the risk given there is such a long wait in the sun before we march.”
Counselling service Switchboard Victoria also said due to the predicted temperatures on the day they believed “it is too hot to safely attend.”
“It is with a heavy heart we have made this decision not only because we love the Midsumma parade and see it as an important opportunity to let people know about our service, but also because it was to be our first year entering an elders bus in the parade,” they wrote on Facebook, adding that the elders event would be rescheduled.
The Bureau of Meteorology has recommended sun protection between 9:20am and 5:40pm due to the “extreme” UV risk in Melbourne on Sunday.
Midsumma organisers have recommended marchers bring reusable water bottles, avoid bringing pets and stay sun smart at all times during the march.