The Coming Back Out Ball was created and produced by All The Queens Men.
The Coming Back Out Ball was presented as a premiere event of the 2017 Victorian Seniors Festival in association with the 3rd National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference (Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care).
The Coming Back Out Ball was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, City of Melbourne, Margaret Lawrence Bequest and Victorian State Government.
The Coming Back Out Ball was supported by Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives, Showtech Australia, Sofitel Hotels and Resorts, The Big Anxiety Festival, Priceline Pharmacy, UBER, Victoria Whitelaw Beautiful Flowers.
Auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects and Victorian AIDS Council.
The Coming Back Out Ball was a spectacular celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex elders (65+).
Last October, during Australia’s divisive same sex marriage postal vote, over 520+ LGBTI elders and their allies assembled at Melbourne Town Hall, one of Melbourne’s iconic civic spaces, as guests of honour at the inaugural Coming Back Out Ball (CBOB). This large-scale social transformation project aimed to connect LGBTI elders around Australia together as part of a engaged social movement; a creative intervention that saw this diverse community assert their social agency, value and worth within a mainstream, often homophobic, lesbophobia, biphobic, transphobic and ageist paradigm.
Created by All The Queens Men, CBOB was free for elders to attend; each received a three course meal and drinks alongside entertainment from leading LGBTI performers such as Robyn Archer, Carlotta, Deborah Cheetham, Gerry Connolly amongst others. The event was directed by Cameron Menzies and supported by CBOB orchestra conducted by Kathleen McGuire.
The project enhanced the lives of the community through the following aims:
- Connect disparate and socially isolated LGBTI elders, through a network of community gatherings and creative workshops.
- Foster a strong and supportive LGBTI elders community throughout Victoria through regular contact and relationship building among individuals.
- Facilitate leadership and creative ownership of an LGBTI elders public awareness event – CBOB.
- Facilitate the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of regular creative practice for this marginalised and pioneering generation.
- Produce an event honouring the creative expression, storytelling, advocacy of LGBTI elders; an event that engages the broader community with their narratives, needs and celebration.
- Meaningfully capture the learnings of this community development process with LGBTI elders in a way that further informs research, aged care sector, community initiatives and the broader community.
There were many people involved including:
• 520+ LGBTI elders (65+) and guests who attended.
• 65 Melbourne artists and production crew employed on the project.
• 70 community performers.
• 55 volunteers from City of Melbourne and Victorian AIDS Council.
• 8 volunteer evaluators from RMIT University.
• 50 Epicure catering and production staff contracted to the event.
• 2000+ elders have attended LGBTI Elders Dance Club since its inception in 2016.
Our targeted media campaign reached over 3 million people around the world (including reviews in the New York Times and Guardian) and showcased how the arts build community and can support the health and social rights of LGBTI ageing populations.