Daylesford’s streets were transformed into a rainbow-coloured display of diversity and freedom over the long weekend, with the township’s annual ChillOut festival celebrating how far rural towns have come in LGBTI acceptance.
The Daylesford ChillOut Festival street parade returned to town on Sunday and according to the thousands of spectators who turned out to see it, it was bigger and better than ever.
Drag queens danced in the back of old-utes and jeeps draped in red feather boas, sporting large dark lashes and extravagant hair with signs calling for marriage equality.
Families stood on the sidelines with children clutching rainbow coloured flags waving and cheering as the floats passed them on the streets.
Floats displaying signs calling for adoption equality, peace, gay rights and education for all lit up the town.
Jen Duncan made the trek from Aireys Inlet to catch up with friends and celebrate marriage equality and gay pride.
“It such an eclectic event which celebrates people and equality,” Ms Duncan said.
“I try and get here every year as it just seems to grow each year.”
Daylesford resident Meghan Douglas-Dowling brought her three children along to watch the event.
Ms Douglas-Dowling said the event was an annual event on the family’s calendar.
The three-day festival is one of the largest Country Queer Pride events in regional Australia.
Ms Papps, who came out six years ago, said the festival was a great way to promote equality.
“I like for the kids to see there are all different ways to be,” she said.
“It celebrates the diversity of our community and it teaches the kids about diversity and acceptance, we love it.”
Liam D’Algenio who only came out to his family a year ago, said the festival was a great way to promote equality and acceptance.
“It shows just how far people have come in accepting sexual diversity especially in rural towns,” he said.
“Years ago something like this would have been unheard in a country town but now it’s one of the most iconic events in Australia.”
Mr D’Algenio said he believed society still had a long way to go in acceptance of Lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people but public events such as the ChillOut Festival were gradually breaking down the barriers.
“If you look around there are families and children everywhere,” he said.
“It’s so important for children to be exposed to this type of event so if they feel accepted and loved no matter who they turn out to be.”
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