POLICE in Bendigo are planning a ball for the region’s LGBTI youth.
‘The Rainbow Ball’ is the working title of the event, which has people aged 16 – 21 years in mind.
One of the five Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers based at the Bendigo Police Station, Senior Constable Bianca Cola, said the idea was partially inspired by the Ball in the Mall.
Once a year for the past two years, Hargreaves Mall has been the stage for an open-air debutante ball.
White gowns and dapper suits have been the order of the day for the participants as they make their debut into society.
Bendigo police are seeking community’s input into what the ‘Rainbow Ball’ will look like.
Planning is still in its early stages and Senior Constable Cola said police were open to ideas about the structuring and organising of the ball.
Police said the event must be open and inclusive and free from discrimination and judgement.
Dancing is likely to feature in the festivities, with Senior Constable Cola citing MarShere Dance Studios in Bendigo as part of the inspiration for the ‘Rainbow Ball’.
A two-hour meeting has been arranged from 3pm on April 23 in the “Green Room” at 45 Mundy Street, Bendigo, for those interested in helping turn the idea into a reality.
The proposed ball has been met with excitement among members of the Bendigo Says Yes campaign, including co-chair Harry McAnulty.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” Mr McAnulty said.
“Often same-sex young people miss out on going to debutante balls or formals.”
He said the Ball in the Mall had been created as a safe space for LGBTI people.
The ‘Rainbow Ball’ would create additional opportunities for young people to celebrate being part of the community.
The proposed event comes five months after 68.7 per cent of the 92,264 Bendigo voters in the marriage equality survey said ‘yes’ to love.
Mr McAnulty said the ‘Rainbow Ball’ came of the same support the Bendigo Says Yes campaign had received.
“It’s a real, definite show of support from the wider community,” he said.
Victoria Police employs more than 100 GLLOs statewide.
The program offers additional support and reassurance to LGBTI people, particularly in relation to prejudice-related incidents and crimes and family violence.