The Coming Back Out Ball has been celebrating LGBTI elders in spectacular style for the past three years, helping them reclaim and celebrate their identity and build a strong future regardless of age.
Now the Ball is going international as it heads to Scotland in mid 2020.
“We pitched the project at the Australian Performing Arts Market two years ago, and began having conversations with the National Theatre of Scotland about presenting the project,” Co-Founder Tristan Meecham told Star Observer.
“The social heart space is really hard to find for many. Obviously we’ve been having conversations that look at the LGBTI community and people closeting their identities or not feeling safe in older age, but the broader public may not realise that.”
Some LGBTI+ elders conceal their sexual, gendered or cultural identity or variations when they access aged care services because they believe they aren’t safe.
“I really think that here in Victoria we are at the forefront of this conversation,” Meecham said. “With our equality strategy and coordination and everything on a policy and political level, it is really quite amazing and feels like we are in a very advanced position.”
“There is still a lot to be done but I think from the global conversation we are trialling different ways to approach and explore these issues.:”
In Scotland, Meecham and his cofounder Bec Reid will work with local artists and project partners so that their Ball will be locally and culturally relevant to their community.
“Helping people who feel isolated and lonely is a consistent social mission that we all share,” Meecham said. “The project isn’t just about a Ball, but the conversations around what we can do to make sure we are more inclusive and doing the hard yards so that everyone feels part of the conversation and community.”
The Coming Back Out Ball is a gift of visibility to LGBTI+ elders who have lived through it all, and a safe space for those just discovering themselves.