Australia’s first ever “Pride House” will make its debut during the next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The Pride Houses are safe, inclusive venue for LGBTI people and friends to gather during major sporting events.
The Gold Coast Pride House is organised by former AFL player and LGBTI advocate Matt Hall and Pride House International, a coalition of LGBTI sport and human rights groups.
It will be hosted at the Surfers Paradise venue Rise Bar from March 28 until April 15 next year.
Olympians Ji Wallace (pictured, right) and Natalie Cook (pictured, centre) are the official ambassadors for the initiative.
They said the Pride House provides a safe space for not only Australian LGBTI people but also guests from Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is less accepted.
“There’s still a majority of Commonwealth countries around the world where it’s still illegal to be gay. There’s death sentences given out to gay people when all they want to do is be themselves,” Wallace said.
“It’s vitally important that we swing our hands open and accept people for who they are.”
Cook said: “We’re hoping here on the Gold Coast that every athlete can feel accepted in the Pride House and be a part of this amazing community that we have here in Australia, especially after we legalised gay marriage this month.”
An exhibition featuring photos and stories of Australian LGBTI trailblazers will be on display in the Pride House, with the “entire spectrum” of the LGBTI rainbow set to be featured.
A different topic affecting the LGBTI community will be highlighted each day, including trans issues, legal issues and LGBTI mental health.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will run from April 4 to 15 next year, welcoming more than 6,600 athletes and officials from 70 Commonwealth nations to venues on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville.