Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. This week: Virginia Buckworth, co-founder of LGBTI beer and cider brand GAYLE.

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What do you love about Australia’s LGBTI community?

I love how we as a community embrace equality and diversity with a true feeling of acceptance for one and all. To me it feels that for the first time our LGBTI community are embracing our sense of pride, where we can embrace our diversity, equality, and self-expression with a true feeling of acceptance.

What motivated you to create an LGBTI friendly beer and cider?

I felt there was a need to have an authentic brand in the marketplace that was a call to action to celebrate and support the LGBTI community year-round, not just a rainbow on a can or bottle during festival time. I wanted GAYLE to say “cheers to our past and our future”. I wanted people to be able to raise a glass anywhere and any time, to stand together and embrace equality.

What area do you need to focus on at the moment?

The key thing is keeping GAYLE front and centre in the marketplace, and spreading the word that we are here for the long haul, and not just a product in a pretty can. We need to get the message out there that GAYLE ale and cider are both quality craft brewed products.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I were an octopus, so I could be in more places than one. I spend my day following up on existing customers maintaining their loyalty to GAYLE as well as sourcing new business. I also spend a lot of time working with the festivals and shows we are sponsoring (Pride Newcastle, Gay Winterfest at Monash University, ACON’s LGBTI Awards, etc).

Who do you see as an LGBTI hero in the community?

I can’t go past Trevor Ashley. He has brought so much joy, laughter, comedy, and talent to the stage, which has been embraced by many in the LGBTI community, both in Australia and worldwide. He is definitely my hero.

Favourite LGBTI venue?

The newly reopened Imperial Hotel in Erskineville. I love everything about it and can’t wait to see the new upstairs indoor-outdoor bar. They are also huge supporters of GAYLE.

Favourite LGBTI anthem?

Not sure it’s an anthem but being an old girl Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” for sure.

What has been one of your favourite responses to GAYLE?

People have said of the cider: “love it, not too sweet, not too sour, just right.” And for the ale: “it’s much lighter and refreshingly sessionable.”

Best Pride moment?

In February, seeing our GAYLE three metre by one metre blow up can as the backdrop on the Concert Hall stage at the Sydney Opera House. It was for Trevor Ashley’s Mardi Gala with Todd McKenney, Joel Creasey, Casey Donovan, and Carlotta.

Advice for young LGBTI people?

Always be true to yourself. Embrace who you are with pride knowing that you are equal amongst all. Don’t be afraid to be out and proud. If you’re unsure seek advice from teachers, parents, friends, or anyone you can trust. Embrace the positive energy that now surrounds the LGBTI community.

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