MARRICKVILLE Town Hall is set to be transformed into a festival for women and breast health as part of Mardi Gras, in an effort to increase visibility for queer women in Australia.

For one day, the space will be renamed Welcome to Breastiville in support of LGBTI health organisation ACON’s #TalkTouchTest campaign.

The breast cancer awareness campaign will be promoted throughout the event and the BreastScreen NSW van will be onsite so that anyone aged 50 and over can access free mammograms.

During the day, the program will also offer stalls, community groups, creative groups, photography and drumming workshops, food, and special performances by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir and the Older Women’s Choir.

As the sun goes down an all-star event MC’d by Denise Hanlon will also see swing dancing, performances from burlesque performers, the Bad Bitch Choir and headline act Bluehouse.

Deputy Chief Executive Karen Price said despite having unique risk factors for breast cancer, queer women aren’t visible in breast awareness campaigns.

“LGBTIQ women have different experiences, lifestyle, and other factors that make this a priority group for breast screening and cancer prevention messaging,” she said.

“We need to raise awareness within this group of women and encourage all LGBTIQ women, regardless of age, to make breast health checks a lifelong habit.

“We’re asking women from the LGBTIQ community to come together, to be visible, and to support each other to improve our health and resilience.”

Cancer Institute NSW Director of Screening and Prevention, Sarah McGill, said the team’s partnership with ACON will guarantee that Welcome to Breastiville will be a positive and inclusive event for LGBTIQ women.

“It’s important that we reach all women within the target age group of 50 – 74 and encourage them to have their screening mammogram every two years,” she said.

“If breast cancer is detected early, women have a 98 per cent chance of survival. A mammogram can detect breast cancer before it can be seen or felt. Detecting it early means less invasive treatment options, and ultimately a better outcome.

“Our partnership with ACON is important in helping us reach women in the LGBTIQ community. The Welcome to Breastiville event provides an environment where women can talk about their health and encourage each other to look after themselves.”

Welcome to Breastiville will be at Marrickville Town Hall on Saturday 25 February. The event will run from 10am to midnight. For more information click here.

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