The Northern Queensland town of Rockhampton has seen a large turn out for its first rally in support of same-sex marriage.
More than 130 people showed their support on Saturday, walking from the Rockhampton Police-Citizens Youth Club to the appropriately named Rainbow Fountain in Central Park.
Organiser Cath Mitcham told the Star Observer that the day was an incredible success and that it challenged the perception of a “backwards and red-neck” Rockhampton.
“There are plenty of open-minded, compassionate and intelligent people in Rockhampton,” Mitcham said.
The LGBTI community wasn’t the only group represented at the rally. Heterosexual family members and friends joined them to help voice their call for equality and Mitcham said that the rally was actually started by a straight ally of the community.
Organisers were overwhelmed by the amount of support the rally received from everyone represented on the day.
“LGBTI rights are human rights; those who acknowledge this and are helping us in our fight for marriage equality are to be commended,” Mitcham said.
“Both the Rockhampton Regional Council and Rockhampton Police were very helpful, supportive and obliging.”
Mitcham also thanked the Heritage Hotel for providing free water for the rally and the local paper for its positive coverage leading up to and of the event itself.
Organisers welcomed the very minimal negative response to the rally with only one letter to the editor appearing in the paper.
Mitcham believes the Rockhampton LGBTI community and the town itself have come a long way in recent years.
“Rockhampton’s LGBTI community are very supportive of each other. In recent years, we have seen more and more events catering to the community. LGBTI people are beginning to feel safe and supported enough to live proudly and openly,” she said.