I was raised in a town with a population of 900, and went along to a college of 50. I grew up in a Catholic family of six, and then fundamentally, five. There had been 2000 sheep. We had been 374km from Melbourne, 391km from Adelaide.

Previously this present year,

Mayor Bruce Meyer
produced headlines
for rejecting a suggestion to travel the pride banner on IDAHoBIT at major villages inside the western Wimmera Shire. This arrived after

remarks he made

a radio interview in April in which he equated queerness to child relationship and paedophilia. He stated it is really not work of councils in order to make a “moral judgement”.

The specific situation, but thought exactly like a moral judgement


one stating that my personal presence is actually somehow wrong.


have not noticed specifically safe becoming queer in rural Victoria, donning beanies back at my buzzcuts and attempting to dress ‘straight’ to put to your shops. In lots of ways, most of the homophobia I had subjection to raising up was not constantly downright, but steep


beneath the area: sometimes it had been slurs, but some days it was the

seems, and/or principles conducted.

It actually was the lack of any presence while the perpetuity of holding every thing in.

I didn’t realize I was queer from inside the western Wimmera. I did not have any narratives to work well with. Actually on television, presence felt uncommon, and not just since the cockatoos were wreaking chaos throughout the aerial transmission. From the in early 2000s, two mums walked their child on

Gamble Class

, and it also made the news headlines.

Whenever I wanted to shave my personal mind

as a teen, i did so it as a fundraiser.


y father passed away when I was actually fresh


high school


it forced romance in to the furthest thing from my brain. I Did Not really celebration and rebel for a variety of reasons –

I found myself attempting to be a family group glue. Seated with my identity couldn’t be a priority provided my personal sensitive and grief-stricken state.

I usually feel queer people have a postponed onset of the teenage knowledge. While I eventually got to Melbourne, I became a teenager at Thursgay.

Shortly after this, I became a grandpa whom hardly ever will leave the house.

Occasionally Mum asks the reason why I do not move home. It’s because I’m queer. If the homophobia believed underneath the surface, therefore did the help.


ocals inside West Wimmera have actually a rumour of a nearby lake above a sinkhole. No body will canoe on it. Seemingly, it as soon as started wide and swallowed every thing.

Some thing changed whenever Mayor Meyer made his homophobic statements. The floor provided means and conversations happened to be bared.

Back April, when Meyer and two other counsellors, Tom Houlihan and Jodi Pretlove, voted to decline the notion for flying the Pride flag, they obtained the vote three to two. Following this, advocacy from


immera Pride venture and supportive residents, also national insurance in the news

, all

shifted the discussion.



all of our to 1, a movement was passed away to travel the Pride Flag. Mayor Meyer stayed unchanged.

Next may 17, there is an entire day’s IDAHoBIT


, with

talked term poetry, drag performers, music and more. The nice outdated local club, the Lake Wallace resort, is at the centre of it all. After expecting therefore bit from the western Wimmera for such a long time


I’d a tiny bit weep in surprise.

Rainbow bunting on a farm. Pic used by Lee Fox


s queer men and women


we invest much time fighting unimportant circumstances. During my finally office, We viewed time fade in a tug of battle about a gender


complimentary commode installation. Really don’t wish to have to take into account lavatories


in which I’m able to play recreation and just what field to tick in the census. I really don’t desire to utilize my time in in this way.

Really don’t wish supporters to need to bend backwards over hoping to get a banner brought up. Sometimes whenever I think right back
in the plebiscite
, i’m nonetheless in shock that 38percent voted no


I recall while I arrived to Mum in a cool cafe in milfs in Ballarat. It moved so terribly – yellow natural. I became in shock.

But a few many years later on when Mum came across certainly my personal girlfriends, she ended up being sort and appealing; she opened up the woman residence and offered way too many compliments. We invest much time reading and writing, that We keep neglecting narratives can unfreeze. We ignore that folks and locations can change.


and/or first-time, I’m able to commence to imagine neighborhood for queer folks in west Victoria. We’ve
Wanda Queen of the Tiny Desert
, who will drag event fundraisers for regional kindergartens. We now have staunch supporters. Last but not least, we’ve got singing partners.

Our driveway is actually 800 metres. Switch appropriate, absolutely a farm with 100 yards of pride banner bunting about barbed wire. It is 18km towards regional stores. There is a bulletin panel, with firewood for sale by trailer.

Absolutely a pleasure banner in window.

Jasmine Shirrefs is actually a social worker, blogger and multidisciplinary singer. Jas has actually composed for Developing upwards impaired around australia revealed by Ebony Inc. in 2021. They performed a life-writing line for Scum Mag in 2020 and tend to be currently implementing a long form non-fiction manuscript about society, identification and provided residing plans. Jas recognizes as queer and Deaf.