Melbourne inclusive venues Mollies and Sircuit are celebrating the second anniversary of the day Australia said ‘yes’ this Friday, as Y2YES brings the return of their Equality Hub.
For some, the 15th of November is a day of celebration, while for others it is a day that still carries anxiety or emotional trauma. It’s the day Australia’s LGBTIQ+ communities remember that 61. per cent of the nation stood by us in an unnecessary postal vote on equal marriage.
In 2017, Fitzroy LGBTIQ+ venues Sircuit and Mollies created an Equality Hub for our communities; a safe space for anyone to come and seek support, refuge, or simply a space they knew that they were welcome at a time when we were all feeling the collective trauma of the postal vote.
In the lead up to the second anniversary, venue owner Chris Driscoll reflected on how that day meant so much more for our communities than simply the right to marry.
“We needed to find a way to let those that weren’t a part of our communities understand what the postal vote was actually doing to us,” he told the Star Observer. “There was so much miscommunication and misunderstanding, and plenty of people were telling me they didn’t have an opinion either way. Because it was a postal vote, we had to make them understand why their vote was so important to us.
“Not all of us wanted to join the crowds at the State Library the morning of the result announcement. So, we did what we could, and made our venue a place that people could come and know they were welcome and safe no matter the outcome.
“I remember the morning of the vote standing next to a policewoman upstairs at Mollies as we waited for the announcement. I was so on edge and suddenly wondered, was she here because I had done something wrong. I popped over to ask if everything was okay, and she said, ‘we need to get the YES over the line’.
“I remember looking around after that moment at the diverse community that had come together at Mollies that morning, with all walks of life finding their way to the area. We wanted to create a collective space for those that needed it, and we had done that together.
“While I was proud that everyone stood together as a community, we were all still on pause, holding our breath waiting for Australia to speak, and when they did is a moment I will never forget.
“The release of tension, acceptance and acknowledgment was beaming out of our bodies and I remember thinking how important that moment of acceptance was.”
Not wanting anyone to forget what our communities went through, and how much we came together and supported each other, Driscoll is reopening The Equality Hub all day on Friday 15th November, to acknowledged those we need to continue to support on the further road to equality, and celebrate that Australia had our backs.
“There’s a lot going on in this country this week; from protests and homes burning to transgender week of awareness and so much suffering. Within our own communities, we continue to live lives of anxiety and sadness at times, and I often think to myself, why not celebrate the wins.” Driscoll said.
“Celebration doesn’t mean disregarding everything else. Two years on, I just want to remind us all that there are times that we can stop for a moment in time, and just have this. Celebrating the good in our lives. We often forget to do that.
“Our communities should celebrate the achievement of that moment, and of that day collectively, and Y2YES is why we are doing that, celebrating what we all did together.”
From 9am Friday morning Mollies will open with a free breakfast hour and entertainment in the afternoon before their screenings of Drag Race UK. The Y2YES celebrations will continue downstairs at Sircuit, with a Y2YES afterparty.
Australia’s LGBTI radio station JOY 94.9 will be broadcasting live from Sircuit onto Smith Street all day, with a diverse range of JOYlebrity volunteers interviewing guests, playing uplifting music, and inviting the community to share what the YES vote meant to them.
“I’m so proud of the safe and inclusive space we all work towards every day with Mollies and Sircuit, and the difference it makes in peoples lives,” Driscoll said, “Because tomorrow, somebody is going to come out; or get in drag, or hold their partners hand, or kiss their partner in public for the first time.”
“For those of us that have done that 2 years ago, 2 weeks ago, or in my case a while longer, it’s important to remember that it’s somebody’s day today, and that’s why I love our inclusive space.
“Come and join us on Y2YES Day, whether it’s your first day with us or your 50th, come and be with community. Who acknowledge who you are – who we all are – and know you are accepted.”
The Equality Hub will open at Mollies from 9am on Friday 15th November, with celebrations continuing in Sircuit all night. If you can’t make it down, tune into JOY 94.9 all day for their Y2YES Broadcast live from Sircuit.