Next year’s Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast will feature an Australian-first Pride House, a special hospitality venue for LGBTI people and friends.
Organised by Pride House International, a coalition of LGBTI sport and human rights groups, it will provide a safe and inclusive place for the community to come together during the Games.
Rise Bar at Surfers Paradise will be the home of the Pride House from March 28 to April 15.
The venue is family-friendly, with supervised minors allowed entry.
Each day will highlight a different topic affecting the LGBTI community, from queer women and trans issues to mental health to legal issues.
Project manager Matt Hall, a high-profile champion of the LGBTI and HIV-positive communities, said the Pride House will be the first of its kind in Australia or the southern hemisphere.
An exhibition of photos and stories of LGBTI sports trailblazers is planned for the venue, allowing patrons to learn about queer history and diversity in sports.
“The reason we’ve gone with sporting trailblazers rather than just elite athletes is we don’t want to only profile white gay men and women,” said Hall.
“We want to promote other letters on the rainbow spectrum. It’s important for inclusiveness to highlight intersex, trans, bi and the other letters that exist.”
Hall said the Pride House is also hoping to host appearances by local performers.
Olympians Natalie Cook and Ji Wallace are official ambassadors for the Pride House.
Cook said the Pride house will provide a necessary safe space for LGBTI people, including those from countries with more conservative LGBTI laws than Australia.
“It is important that there is a safe space for the community to hang out in,” she said.
“The last few months have been emotional and historical for Australians. But [equality] is not the case across the Commonwealth, and so the Pride House is an environment where people can feel free to be themselves.
“Love is love, and love will always win.”
The Pride House will launch officially in January ahead of the Commonwealth Games.