Next month marks the return of The Coming Back Out Ball, which was last year inaugurated as a yearly celebration of our LGBTI elders.

Founded to empower members of the community aged 65 and over to assert their social agency, the Ball will return to Melbourne for a second year.

Artistic Director Tristan Meecham says the ball is a gift to the elders of Australia’s LGBTI community.

“LGTBI elders are able to attend the ball for free,” Meecham says.

“We want to acknowledge and champion the paths they’ve forged. Our vision is that The Coming Back Out Ball becomes an adored regular event on Melbourne’s social calendar.”

This year, The Coming Back Out Ball will feature entertainment, community celebration, and storytelling alongside a full dinner service – with performances from Briefs: Close Encounters, Meow Meow, Electric Fields and a special Coming Back Out Ball band.

The Ball was conceived as a way to support the social needs of the growing number of LGBTI elders whose significance in the community is too infrequently recognised.

Its 2018 edition will look to address social isolation, ageism, homophobia and transphobia through creativity and celebration of LGBTI elders across rural and regional Victoria.

All the Queens Men will also look to establish further social dance events to connect LGBTI elders in municipalities across Victoria, alongside the existing LGBTI Elders Dance Club which has run on a monthly basis in Fitzroy over the past three years and since expanded throughout regional Victoria.

Last year’s Coming Back Out Ball became the subject of a feature length documentary which premiered as the closing night film of this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival and will be released nationally in cinemas in the coming months.

One attendee of last year’s Ball, Lizzi Craig, explained how significant the event was for her.

“It’s the first time I have been honoured for all the decades of struggles and my lifetime commitment to my activism for my community,” she said.

The Coming Back Out Ball will take place on Thursday 25 October at Melbourne Town Hall. For more information or to book tickets, head to: www.comingbackoutball.com

Related reading: Meet the Aussie activist who came out as non-binary at 76

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