NSW town of Orange’s first Pride going ahead this week


Orange's inaugural Rainbow Festival launched ahead of March 22 event
Locals at the launch of Orange's Rainbow Festival. Image: Supplied

The regional NSW town of Orange’s first pride festival will go ahead this week after a homophobic campaign to cancel it was defeated.

The Rainbow Festival in Orange in the NSW central west will run for three days from Friday (March 22). Free LGBTQIA+ events planned include a street parade on Saturday and fair day, to boost visibility and support the region’s queer youth.

Unfortunately, what locals described as a “vocal minority” in the town pushed a homophobic campaign to shut the festival down.

It led to one local councillor, Kevin Duffy, putting forward a motion at a Council meeting to axe the inaugural event.

“Sexuality, gender and identity are not jurisdictions or charters of the Orange City Council, ideologies that we should be nowhere near,” Duffy told the meeting.

The council overwhelmingly voted the motion down 10-2 at the March 5 meeting.

After the vote, cheers rang out in Orange’s council chambers as LGBTQIA+ community members and supporters hugged and waved rainbow flags.

And because of the homophobic campaign, festival event registrations increased and thousands signed a petition in support of the event.

‘Our community chose love and acceptance’

Greens councillor David Mallard was horrified by the backlash and stood by the festival which he says “promotes pride, acceptance and allyship”.

“Our community defeated the attempt to cancel the Orange Rainbow Festival,” he said.

“We chose love and acceptance, and now we know that the festival will not only go ahead, but it will be a massive, positive event that celebrates the wonderful community who rallied to support it.

“Now it’s time to make your plans to be there, to bring joy, colour and positivity, and to make this a massive celebration of our inclusive community.

“Let’s do all we can to make this a huge celebration and an acknowledgement of how loving, inclusive and understanding Orange really can be.”

More information about the Orange Rainbow Festival at the website.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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