Rainbow Ball for queer youth delayed following threats to safety

Organisers of an LGBTIQA+ youth event were forced to postpone their planned Rainbow Ball over the weekend due to threats to participants safety.

LINE Wangaratta said they were delaying their event based on advice from Victorian Police and the Rural City of Wangaratta. Wangaratta is located 250km north-east of Melbourne.

“Events like this aim to create a safe place for our young people to celebrate being their full selves.” the group said in a statement.

“The threats of violence towards event organisers and LGBTQIA+ community members are completely unacceptable, and we remain committed to coordinating LGBTQIA+ events in our region and advocate for a safe and inclusive future for our fabulous community.”

The event is the tenth LGBTIQA+ related event in Victoria that has been forced to cancel due to ongoing threats of violence attributed to far-right groups and individuals in recent months.

Dean Rees, the Mayor of Wangaratta said the council fully supported the region’s LGBTIQA+ community.

“There has been some confronting commentary around the Rainbow Ball circulated on social media, and because of this we have chosen to prioritise the safety of all attendees and staff and delay the event,” he said.

“We are extremely disappointed that there has been some hateful narrative around this event. We do not accept this, but we cannot risk an event that is about fun and celebration posing a risk to anyone attending.

Last year an LGBTIQA+ youth event in Fremantle was forced to move to a secret date and location after council staff were bombarded with complaints and threats. In May a Drag Queens Storytime event in Perth drew protesters who chanted gay slurs outside of the children’s event.

Experts have recently warned that cancelling LGBTIQA+ events may embolden far-right groups to be bolder in their threats to future events.

OIP Staff

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