The City of Melbourne’s highly prestigious Melbourne Awards acknowledges the achievements of people and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the community. In this, its 20th year, the Melbourne Awards will be receiving applications in eight separate categories, including the recently added  LGBTIQ+ award. 

The LGBTIQ+ category, introduced last year, is illustrative of the breadth and significance of Melbourne’s queer community. Applications are invited from: those who have made an incredible contribution to LGBTIQ+ inclusion or interests. 

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Examples could include excellence in representing or advocating on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community, celebrating diversity such as through art or events or speaking up, improving workplace inclusion, leading or delivering a health and wellbeing initiative or a project that improves social connection and participation for the local LGBTIQ+ community.

All The Queens Men

In 2021, All The Queens Men became the first-ever Melbourne Award winner in the LGBTIQ+ category. The independent arts organisation was singled out for its outstanding work in the area of providing support and advocating rights for LGBTIQ+ elders through creative projects. Its flagship event is the Coming Back Out Ball, established in Melbourne in 2016 and has gained popularity every year since. 

All The Queens Men was founded by award-winning performance artists, Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid. 

“We pride ourselves on being an artist organisation, a creative organisation with a social mission and an impact in health and well-being and combating socialisation and loneliness as key results of the work that we do,” says Meecham about All The Queens Men.

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“We certainly are probably one of the only creative, community-led, contemporary arts organisations that are creating these sort of big celebrations that support elders in this way.”

The Coming Out Ball

The Coming Back Out Ball is a glitzy event that caters to elders and elders-at-heart in the queer community. It provides a rare space for older LGBTIQ+ people to gather, dance, mingle and feel connected. Past balls have also featured an array of impressive performers and entertainment, including acclaimed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma in 2019. 

All The Queens Men also runs a monthly Dance Club for queer elders which was presented as a Digital Dance Club during lockdown. Dance Club is demographically (more inter-generational) and geographically, now being held in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra and even in Scotland as part of its Luminate Festival. 

Meecham encourages LGBTIQ+ organisations in Melbourne to enter the Melbourne Awards. 

“It would be definitely great for LGBTIQ+ organisations to enter the process in order to be able to gain more visibility and connections to the great social missions that the companies are trying to champion,” he says. “There’s a real intersection of really, really impressive businesses and not-for-profits and community organisations that enter, and I suppose to be part of those wonderful  innovative companies and be part of listening and learning is really fantastic.”

Melbourne Awards Are Now Open. To apply for the Melbourne Awards, visit the City of Melbourne website.

 

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