On Wednesday the 15th November the LGBTIQ community held its breath until it was finally revealed that Australians had voted an overwhelming ‘YES’ for Marriage Equality. The eagerly awaited announcement came early in the day and after tears of relief and excitement, hugs with supporters and loved ones, the celebrations began across the country and, on the Gold Coast, it was no different.
Rise Bar & Club on Cavill Ave in Surfers Paradise hosted media events throughout the day spreading the feeling of jubilation that captured the LGBTIQ community after a long and bitter fight, starting before and continuing throughout the ‘postal vote’.
Under the famous Surfers Paradise sign, local Gold Coast drag queen, Ms Martini Fernando Ice excitedly clutched a huge silver Y for YES and celebrated with friends, Clinton Maxwell (Owner Of Rise Bar & Club), club performer Carmelo and his partner Brock. It was easy to see their jubilation and pride in being part of the Gold Coast’s LGBTIQ community on this very special day.
After the sunset photo shoot we were fortunate enough to meet local vocal artists and rising stars Carmelo Munzone and Megan Barns. Carmelo appeared as a finalist on The X Factor and has been performing live regularly on Thursday and Sunday evenings at Rise Bar & Club for the past few months. Megan performs tribute shows, impersonating some of the LGBTIQ community’s much adored artists such as Lady GaGa, Pink, Madonna, Cher and Katy Perry and has been performing in a variety of large scale productions since 2012.
Megan and Carmelo talked excitedly about their work on a duo project called ’50 Shades Of Rainbow’. It will be a walk through the history of the LGBTIQ community’s most loved musical icons and their hits. With full live band, spectacular choreography, lighting, sound and custom made costumes, the show is a highly anticipated addition to the Rise Bar & Club weekly entertainment line-up. The talented duo are planning the launch of ’50 Shades Of Rainbow’ to coincide with the celebration for the Marriage Equality legislation passing through the Australian Parliament. We cant wait!
We asked Carmelo and Megan what the Yes vote meant to them. For Megan and her girlfriend Nicola, it means they can legally marry and be treated equally just like everyone else.
“Love is love and I have never been as happy as I am now to have Nicola. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.”
Carmelo did not provide any specifics about his intentions but if our photos of him and his loved-up partner are anything to go by, it looks like they could soon be making the most of the opportunities available under new marriage legislation.
Our early arrival at Rise Bar & Club was a brilliant start to the evening of equal marriage celebrations. There were delicious drinks, a helium balloon offering to the night sky, and a barbecue on the outside deck as we chatted with old and new friends. We were also delighted to catch up with new bar owners Clinton Maxwell and Julian Kuters. The rebranding and expansion of their fabulous club, formerly Escape Bar, makes a welcome addition to the local scene. After all, this stunning venue with its vibrant indoor dance floor, bar and performance space, combined with an outdoor chill out zone overlooking one of the most celebrated and spectacular beaches on the east coast of Australia, is bound for world class superstardom, particularly during the forthcoming Commonwealth Games when the eyes of the world will be fixated on our gorgeous city. Watch this space!
So here’s cheers to the glorious Gold Coast and congratulations Australia on accepting our hand in marriage……at last!