Plenty of queens in the gardens

By James Bennett

A giant rainbow grazed the Queen's Gardens on Sunday at the OUTintheOPEN Festival carnival day.

Promoting safe inclusive spaces and not being isolated for the LGBTQI+ community was one of the central messages.

But the carnival was also an opportunity to learn more about local services with information stalls set up or purchase rainbow products from the ‘volunqueers'.

A few locals artists performed on the main stage, while Krystal Ring certainly drew the eye of many.

GV Pride senior vice-president Georgie Poort said carnival day was about people being themselves.

“It's a very inclusive space for all of the people that are here because they support loving and want to affirm people who identify as part of the LGBTIQ community.

“OUTintheOPEN overall is in its eighth year this year so that's really exciting for us because all of the people that you'll see running around in black and white shirts like myself are all volunteers; or rather ‘volunqueers'."

Ms Poort said society still needed to have discussions about basic LGBTIQ rights.

“We're in 2019 and the world has changed a lot,” she said.

“We are more inclusive as a society and Shepparton, it is an amazing place to live and work and be ourselves in the country.

“But at the same time, these spaces are super important because people still need that opportunity to come into a space and be able to be out, be themselves and be safe."

OUTintheOpen Festival continues this week until Sunday. For more information, visit www.outintheopen.org.au.