Anne E. Stewart is embracing being the “token straight in the village” at Daylesford’s ChillOut festival.
But it is a tag the 27-year Daylesford resident and lifelong storyteller is happy to run with as the festival earns the key to the village status when it turns 21 this weekend.
Stewart has previously held events as part of the festival, exploring themes like `Why Daylesford is so gay friendly?’ and finding out `Who was the first gay in the village?’
This year, with the passing of the amendment to the Marriage Act that allows same-sex couples to marry in Australia, Stewart has delved into make-up of `rainbow families’.
Stewart said at the passing of the amendment, she went to the Daylesford Hotel to celebrate and that started her thinking about a series of questions.
“My granddaughter looked so like her dad I wondered how gay families told their children about their genetic makeup. Who was their dad? their mum? Were their any restrictions on IVF treatment?” she said.
She said rainbow families are no different from any other family.
“Gay families are no different except for the fact they have to go on a very long journey to get there,” she said.
“I’ve just recently watched Riot on the ABC about the first Mardi Gras and it was so powerful, to see that people were beaten up just for being gay was a very powerful statement.”
The ChillOut Festival has grown to become Australia’s largest queer country festival and the largest festival in the Hepburn Shire.
The festival prides itself on its relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere with plenty of opportunities to let your hair down.
The first festival was staged in 1997 and is held each year on the Labour Day long weekend, this year from March 8-12.
ChillOut is a not-for-profit community-based organisation dedicated to celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer pride within the unique setting of regional Victoria.
Its focus is building community, celebrating diversity, and sharing love for central Victoria, while helping raise money every year for a dedicated cause.
Anne E Stewart, shines a light on rainbow families on Saturday from 3pm, Sunday from 3pm and Monday from 1pm at Story House and Garden, 52 Millar Street.