TROPICAL FRUITS, MAKING US FEEL PROUD

When the stunning Ms Christy McNicol took to the stage at the Eltham Hotel on Saturday night to present her unique version of Heather Small’s iconic gay anthem, Proud, our collective goosebumps stood erect. Most of us attending the Tropical Fruit’s Party have celebrated at a few pride events over the years but this one definitely made us ‘step out of the ordinary’. Eltham is a short drive from Lismore, or a slightly longer drive from Byron Bay, depending on your persuasion. The local, family owned hotel has a quaint, country-pub appeal, a large, outdoor beer garden and a generous dancefloor. Usually the centre of the rural, neighbourhood social scene, on this Saturday evening it was inundated with gaiety. The staff couldn’t have made us feel more welcome and once the drinks were flowing and the music started, the night turned from winter chill to tropical toasty.

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MAGNETIC ISLAND, A PARADISE OF OPTIONS

Magnetic Island, sometimes affectionately referred to as ‘Maggie Island’, is an eight kilometre ferry ride from Townsville in North Queensland, and is a paradise full of options. It’s an ideal, affordable, tropical Australian holiday spot with a World Heritage National Park, a bountiful array of beaches and stunning bays offering a relaxed island lifestyle. Geoffrey and Alma Bays at Arcadia, part of the Marine National Park Zone, are easily accessible and popular for swimming. However, our first choice of bays for exploring was Balding Bay known as a popular naturist spot for swimming and sunbathing.

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THE MAKING OF AN AUSSIE GAY WEDDING 101

Are you thinking about making the full wedding commitment to the one you love? After 28 years together, we are now Mr and Mr and couldn’t be happier. However, there were some important decisions and careful planning which had to happen before our wedding day. We’re guessing our checklist might provide inspiration for others. Every wedding is different and must be a reflection of the couple getting married but for us the combination of superb organisation by the Sheraton Grand Mirage, a stunning tropical beach location, perfect Gold Coast weather and fabulous supportive family and friends made our gay wedding just perfect.

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BABY BEAR BAR, SYDNEY

If you go down to Oxford Street this weekend you’re sure for a big surprise. There’s a new addition to the bar scene in Sydney with the recently opened Baby Bear Bar in the basement of the Burdekin Hotel at 2 Oxford St Darlinghurst. The entrance to this cute little underground bar is at the back of the hotel, via Liverpool Street. Baby Bear Bar is small in size but big on welcome for bears and their friends.

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GOLD COAST CELEBRATES ‘YES’ AT RISE BAR

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.

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THE QUEEN’S BALL, BRISBANE

Brisbane Pride’s gala LGBTIQ event, the Queen's Ball, was held again this year in Brisbane’s iconic City Hall, with the totally on-trend theme of ‘Going to the Chapel’. Four hundred plus patrons dressed to impress in their most glamorous clobber, some in snug fitting suits, sparkling dresses and even the obligatory white wedding gowns. However, it was the drag queens who stole the show with their amazing frocks, dazzling make-up and brilliantly styled hair.

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