A Queer Lady’s guide to Melbourne

Favoured for its culture, food and coffee, Melbourne is frequently referred to as ‘the cosmopolitan city’ of Australia. I feel pretty comfortable with this statement, finding it the most vibrant of places to visit in Australia, in terms of multiculturalism, cuisine and events, not to mention the visually spectacular street art! However, I may be biased..

Degraves Street coffee hub

Melbourne has always been the point of return for my internal compass. I grew up in the north-western suburbs and even though I spent my teenage years on a rural property in the state’s north, still managed to find my way back to the city of my childhood. As an adult, I love moving through the different neighborhoods, noticing how certain areas have changed whilst others have remained mostly the same. I also find it interesting to look at Melbourne through my queer eyes, when for so long I experienced the city solely through an out of focus heteronormative lens. Oops.

Hosier Lane street art

Melbourne has a great deal to offer the LGBTQIA+ community, yet I believe there is still so much more room for growth and recognition. The following list details a few places I found to be welcoming and inclusive on my journey coming out..and beyond:

Sundaylicious: The place to dance your moves away once a month with an all inclusive lady loving crowd. The venue changes a lot so be sure to check on facebook or instagram where the next event is being held. What I love about Sundaylicious is the wide age range of people who go – everyone is welcome and their motto is ‘come as you are’, so no need to dress up, unless you feel like it of course! The sessions start with acoustic vibes for a chilled Sunday afternoon, with the beat picking up after dark for DJ inspired dancing.

Friyays: Held in Francesca’s Bar in Northcote, this is a really fun night too. It is perfectly situated along High Street so eating beforehand is not a problem with the generous array of restaurants nearby! The venue is quite small so choose your space wisely when heading to the dance floor, otherwise you will be in the line of foot traffic heading to and from the bar. This venue also offers an outdoor room for those wishing to escape the noise of the dance/bar area in which smoking is allowed.

Hares & Hyenas: Quirky and queer this bookshop is a must stop for anyone in the Fitzroy area. Honestly, there would be no queer book unavailable here, either in stock or via order. Events are hosted at different times of the year so so be sure to check the website for more details.

Handsome Her: OMG! This is a recent discovery! Situated in Brunswick this feminist cafe could turn any omnivorous girl vegan. I  recently had the most delicious avocado smash here. It was absolutely superb! Homemade kombucha on tap, a surcharge for men that is donated to charity in recognition of the gender pay gap, stimulating feminist reading and amazing food, what’s not to love? I believe they are also starting to host evening events too, so check them out on instagram or their website for further details.

Vegie Bar: Melbourne’s long time popular eatery which is an easy tram ride from the city center. Vegie Bar will not disappoint..picture all sorts of vegetarian loveliness in a welcoming, diverse space in the heart of Fitzroy. The laksa is a fave of mine here. Eat alone or eat with friends, everyone is made to feel welcome.

Welcoming cafe culture/op shops/bars worth visiting: Brunswick Street Fitzroy, High Street Northcote, Sydney Road Brunswick, Sydney Road Coburg, Fitzroy/Acland Street St Kilda, Johnston Steet Fitzroy, Chapel St Prahan.

Outside of Melbourne: Daylesford (home of the Chillout pride festival) and Castlemaine are my two favourite places to visit with welcoming feelings of inclusiveness. Beach-side it would have to be Barwon Heads.

Sesame Street
Sesame Street street art. Iconic stance for individuality and acceptance!

THE MELBOURNE QUEER WOMAN’S CALENDER: 

January/early February: Midsumma Festival including Melbourne Pride Parade. Countless events, shows and performances celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community.

February/March: 2 Feb – 25 March: AFLW. Australian Women’s Football League. A fantastic league to support and it needs all the visibility it can get to ensure it continues to grow and offer more games for players and supporters in the following seasons.

March: March 8: International Women’s Day. A host of different events within different municipalities across Melbourne. See what’s on in your local area..

Melbourne Queer Film Festival – around ten days of diverse viewing within different venues across Melbourne. Season passes or tickets to individual events are available through the website. The MQFF offers something for the queer in us all. See online program for further details.

March/April: The Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Check the program online for details. Last year I was fortunate enough to see Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” before it went viral and turned into a Netflix special. Absolutely brilliant!

May: 17 – IDAHOBIT Day. International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. Flag raising and community events across Melbourne. Check local municipality websites for further details.

October: Australian LGBT History Month encompassing the Queer Formal, put on by Minus 18.

December: Carols by Queerlight. The Melbourne Rainbow Band puts on festive tunes at the St Kilda Town Hall. Check their website for details closer to the event (and for additional events throughout the year!)

Events in Outer Melbourne/regional areas: visit Australian Pride Network 

Hosier Lane ‘Graffiti Alley’

If you happen to know of any queer events or welcoming places, in or around Melbourne not listed here, please let me know in the comments section and I will add them to the list and link back to your blog.

Thanks so much for reading,

Luna xo

 

 

Midsumma 2019: Dogz and Drag

One thing I love about summer in Melbourne is Midsumma festival. Midsumma is the queer festival on the calendar for Melbournians. It runs over 23 days and offers over 165 unique and diverse events that support the LGBTQI+ community. Two highlights of the Midsumma festival are Carnival day, a fantastic day out for the whole family in the Alexandra Gardens, set along the south bank of the Yarra river and the city’s annual Pride March. Carnival day would be my favourite, as it is such a great atmosphere with all ages catered for, including under 18’s. Many people choose to bring a picnic and meet friends under the shady trees, enjoying the wide range of performances on the stages throughout the day. I really love seeing all the dogs come out with their owners and I take great joy in watching the dog show, which includes such categories as Best Bitch, Sexiest Stud, Best Dressed and Best in Show. Below are a selection of this years contestants..with a little bit of drag sprinkled in because who doesn’t love a bit of glam..?

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I was also so happy to see such a spectacularly dressed roving supporter from RMIT University. It made me feel so proud to be studying somewhere that celebrates diversity in all of its glorious colour and excitement!

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Best Dressed: Rocket Dog

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If you happen to be reading this and get a chance to see CAZELEON, I strongly suggest you do – I found their performance to be completely soulful and moving!

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More information on Midsumma can be found here.

Looking forward to the Pride March in a couple of weeks!

Luna xo

Queer Lady Culture (online links)

Starting this blog I knew that it would be a place to share places I have been visiting online. Finding one’s tribe when they have taken the courageous steps of finding themselves is crucial for any kind of sanity.

There are loads of sites out there, with seemingly endless amounts of content, which can be quite overwhelming at times. Finding people and places that consolidate the knowledge you have about yourself can be so empowering, and a little fun too (if not a little daunting at times).

I can feel I’m about to delve deeper and peel back the layers, dissecting the concepts of space and place, which is not what I intended to do! So without anymore rambles, the following are indeed places I am enjoying on the net at the moment.. from the perspective of a lady loving lady in her fourth decade with a young heart…

Enjoy,

Luna xo

(I hope to add to this list as time goes by, so be sure to pop by again sometime).

Youtube:

Rose and Rosie: Two outrageously funny Brits share relationship antics and advice to a huge following. It can be a bit squeamish with the detail at times but there are always laugh out loud moments as they take digs at each other – something which never gets old.

Lillian and Alexis: A German-Candian long distance relationship. The couple started their channel to keep them going through their times apart and to share aspects of their lives. If you are in a long distance relationship and pine for your loved one, this one’s for you (Relatable? Much..*sigh*). **Good news,**The couple are now both together in Berlin, where they are continuing their vlogging adventures.. (‘Perfeckt’ for those learning German on the side!)

Instagram:

Once Upon a Journey: Two girls shed the notion of 9-5 for global adventures. Stunning photography and exotic locations..this is the place to go for whimsical daydreams of summer warmth and loving..

nancy_dsantos: Lesbian page that advocates equal rights and visibility for the LGBT community. Clips from films, music and memes to bring you a smile, or encourage you to think a little deeper on current issues people are experiencing. This page always has quality content and is one of my faves.

imsteph: Travelling LGBTQ+ photographer Steph shares images of weddings and ceremonies. Blissful escapism and good vibes as you see couples express their love on their most precious of days. Beautiful photography in remarkable locations, capturing the essence of couple’s connections..

alysf: Alys Fowler, the British horticulturalist who came out in her 2017 book “Hidden Nature”. Here you’ll find nature posts with sprinklings of queer. Do read the book, it won’t disappoint. The interwoven story of her self discovery set against the backdrop of the Birmingham canals from an inflatable rubber dinghy is earthy and pure. Thank you for sharing your heart Alys. I loved your earlier books and truly learned the art of repurposing and growing from them.

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