With a population of just 5000, the small town of Kununurra is as about remote as you can possibly get. Though for a small town in the middle of the Kimberly, Kununurra has a big and colourful community at its heart.
“We are way up in the East Kimberly, at the top of Australia, we are 10 hours drive north of Broome and eight hours inland south of Darwin. It’s quite small, there are limited flights in and out, and we are surrounded here by other local communities,” Kate Doherty, a Kununurra local explained.
Last year Kate and the Kununurra Network Of Queers took it upon themselves to organise the towns inaugural Pride event, A Night Under The Stars.
“Pride events happen in small towns all over Australia, so we thought ‘what should make our town any different?’
“We had a fantastic event last year and again this year. It’s not only about creating a fun night, it also creates awareness in a town which is lacking in its response to gender identity, sexuality and race. It’s an event that welcomes everyone and is a little step towards educating those who aren’t aware of such things, which in turn helps with mental health issues, particularly in our rural communities.”
“When you walk in, you walk past indoor cricket nets, football jerseys, soccer jerseys, trophies and then the Pride flags. Ours really is a long-standing club which is here for anyone and everyone. And especially for a rural town, to make everyone feel accepted is really important.
“I realised at the sports club, being a community club they were supporting a lot of fundraisers but nothing supporting the LGBTQI community. This event has helped raised awareness.”
Free tickets to this year’s event, Rainbow Moon, sold out within hours. And despite the current COVID-19 restrictions “the night was full of love, full of glitter, and full of smiles, the energy was amazing.
“We made it a free ticketed event; we didn’t want money to be the reason people couldn’t come.
“We had the local dance school, local ballet dancers and our local queens performing as well.”
“Kununurra Network Of Queers was started up last year by my friend Adam. They meet at the club on the first Thursday of the month for sun downers and chats. At the start there was only three or four coming each month, now we have more than 10.
“For a town where people are either shy to identify themselves, or shy to just go out and meet people the more new people we get, the more it melts my heart.”