The Sunshine Coast Pride Network is planning to hold Queensland’s very first Rainbow Formal for LGBTIQ students and their friends in October.
Sunshine Coast Pride Network co-chair Fiona Anderson, who is organising the event, said the group were inspired by the success of inaugural Fancy Formal in Byron Bay last year, and the ongoing popularity of youth group Minus 18’s Queer Formal in Melbourne.
“We believed it’s time Queensland followed suit. This idea is not to create exclusivity and take students away, we want schools to see that there are many ways to encourage all students to be a part of their end of year celebrations, and that no one should be made to feel excluded, or uncomfortable,” Ms Anderson said.
“We are hoping schools will see the benefits and absorb this idea into the planning of formals in the future to make them more inclusive and accepting of all students who attend.”
One of the event’s student organisers, Sam Bouzanquet, said he was really excited about the event.
“It’s a time for boys, girls and anyone in between to be proud of who they are, in a school related environment,” Sam said.
“It allows us to celebrate each other in a fun event, instead of marching for our rights or feeling sad about recent hate attacks. It allows us to be ourselves, with other teenagers our age.”
Sam’s mum Amanda thanked the Sunshine Coast Pride Network for putting on the event and said it sent confirmation to the students “that we support and love them unconditionally.”
“As a parent bringing the conversation about possibly being rainbow into teenage years is a great start in helping our kids lead a more authentic life. It’s okay to be who they are,” she said.
“In country areas, the struggle is finding those like yourself and being able to connect to each other in ways straight kids get to all the time.”
All Year 10-12 students are welcome to attend the secure, alcohol-free October 14 event, which the Pride Network are hosting in the function room at Caloundra’s Pelican Waters Tavern, kindly donated by the Sunshine Coast ALH Hotels chain.
Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite and the Pride Network have encouraged people to make donations through the Eventbrite link to help students who may face difficulties affording tickets. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
(Top photo via Sunshine Coast Pride Network)