The inaugural Newcastle Pride festival hits the city in two weekends’ time, marking a new showcase for the LGBTI community in the city and around the Hunter Valley.

The festival was announced earlier this year in response to the closure of the iconic Gateway Hotel earlier this year.

Speaking to the Newcastle Herald, organiser Anne McDougall realised the local LGBTI community was seeing a decline in venues and events at which to meet up and connect.

“Newcastle’s LGBTI community has not held any major events for several years.

“Pride Festivals are now celebrated all over the world so why hasn’t Newcastle ever celebrated? We are the second biggest city in NSW. We need to get our community back on the map.”

“The Newcastle Pride Festivals aim is to showcase to locals and visitors that Newcastle is a city of diversity, culture and beauty,” the fesitval’s website reads.

“We plan to grow the Festival into a annual event and bring our  community together in unity and put Newcastle back on the event map.”

ACON will be present at the festival providing resources and information about LGBTI health to the local community.

ACON is excited and proud to be a part of Newcastle Pride as it’s an important event that brings together regional LGBTI communities of Newcastle and the Hunter,” said ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill.

“Despite progress made over recent years in fostering a more inclusive society in Australia, many LGBTI Australians continue to be targets of prejudice and discrimination.

“Supporting Newcastle Pride provides organisers and the local community a great opportunity to demonstrate that the Hunter is welcoming and celebrates diversity and inclusion.

“Events like Newcastle Pride enables ACON to connect with local LGBTI people and people living with HIV in regional areas. 

“As our communities are becoming more visible in regional Australia, partnering with local groups and services to promote HIV prevention, support and LGBTI health services is a key priority for us.”

Given the tight turnaround, there will be no parade this year, but the festival features a Fair Day, a short film program curated by Queer Screen and a huge dance party (both sold out), as well as the still-selling Priscilla Pride Wine Tour.

“We plan to hold a pride march next year. We wanted to give the community lots of notice so they have time to build floats and whip up fabulous costumes.

“I am really excited about this festival and to date the support and interest from the community has been overwhelming.

“This is just the beginning for Newcastle Pride,” McDougall said.

To buy tickets or view the festival’s program, head to the Newcastle Pride website.

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