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March 23, 2023

Queerstories debut sells out

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From left: Jason, Peter, Jex, Huey, Aiden, Sophie, Yalda and Tamara. Photo Liam Wright

The first three productions of acclaimed Sydney-born event, Queerstories, have sold out on the Northern Rivers.

Founded in Sydney by Maeve Marsden, Queerstories is a curated event where six LGBTIQ+ people read a short, true story about their lives that defies stereotypes of queer people so often portrayed in Hollywood films. 

The events have been a resounding success, with all three so far having sold out at venues seating more than 200 guests, including Mullumbimby’s Civic Memorial Hall, Byron’s Community Theatre and Murwillumbah’s Regent Theatre (the latter event has been postponed). 

The Northern Rivers is known for its promotion of alternative lifestyles, but has yet to meet a growing need for LGTBIQ+ community services. 

Queer Family network 

The non-profit Queer Family network features regional events where queer people can see themselves represented and included in an otherwise heteronormative scene of southerners clad in active wear or fashionable hats, looking for a holiday, a new home or quiet Airbnb to call a property investment. 

There are more queer people coming to the Northern Rivers too, and Queer Family says they want to help create community in the region.

Create community 

‘Queer Family is here to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people,’ said Queer Family Director, Aiden Gentle (they/them). 

The group has received a positive response to one of its early initiatives, the introduction of acclaimed event Queerstories to the region. 

Tamara Natt-Walsh performed at Mullumbimby’s Queerstories, and said, as a teenager growing up in the Tweed, she would have ‘benefited greatly’ from something like Queerstories. 

Ms Natt-Walsh cheekily nodded to the Tweed region’s lack of queer representation by referring to  ‘the only two lesbians which she’s aware of’. 

Lismore DJ, Yaldã Scô, is originally from Iran, and also performed at Mullumbimby Queerstories.

‘People in the audience gave me the courage,’ Mr Scô said, explaining how hearing the audience laugh at his story helped. 

Sophie Wilksch heads a local workspace called Community Shedding, and was one of the final performers.

Ms Wiksch said she felt comfortable performing because she ‘felt like the people in the audience were just a few people that I know’.

♦ Kate Payne is from BayFM.

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