Your town could host the Big Rainbow

Tinder Big Rainbow Project queer regional voices partners (from left to right) Nic Steepe, Jack Williams and Sophie Barber at the new 14-metre Big Rainbow monument in Sydney. Photo: Contributed

Stefan Bradley

Earlier this month, Australia’s newest “big” landmark, the Big Rainbow, debuted in Sydney, and is now on the lookout for its new regional home as part of the Big Rainbow Project.

The Big Rainbow Project is a commitment by Tinder to support LGBTQIA+ people in regional areas, with Wellington Shire residents encouraged to nominate their town to be the site of the regional Big Rainbow.

The Big Rainbow Project was developed with the help of LGBTQIA+ community advisors and consultants, alongside members of the indigenous community.

The initiative aims to raise awareness of the challenges LGBTQIA+ Australians can face in regional towns, where lack of visible communities & the geographic distance from urban celebrations can contribute to isolation.

Tinder will be announcing the full list of recipients alongside the regional home for the Big Rainbow landmark.

Big Rainbow Project regional ambassador Nic Steepe said the 14-metre Sydney monument and the upcoming regional monument will join more than 150 “big” things across the country.

“I don’t see myself in many of the other landmarks, so as someone involved in the consultation process, it was an incredible experience to see it in person as a new national landmark to celebrate inclusion,” Mr Steepe said.

“Words cannot describe how fabulous it is.”

Mr Steepe, who has lived in regional areas his whole life, said that while challenges for LGBTQIA+ communities remain, he’s seen positive changes.

“Regional areas are inclusive, even though there may be a perspective that they’re not,” he said.

“I’ve seen shifts over the last ten years around promotion of inclusion in the regions, but I think that’s about role models who are out and proud staying in the community. I wanted to run away to Oxford St in Sydney, but there is more community support now.

“Biggest challenge I’d highlight is services for our communities is inclusive healthcare, doctors, practitioners and councillors, instead of the individual having to educate the doctor.

“I had to educate a doctor myself in Bathurst by sending fact sheets about PrEP since they didn’t know what that was, which isn’t a major issue in Sydney.

“Wherever the next Big Rainbow is, it’s going to be great for that community, but it will be for all LGBTQIA+ people in regional communities, so please go to the site and nominate your town.

“The community needs to get behind it to enhance the work that’s already happening, there’s a lot of great work happening in Australia already.”

Wellington Shire residents can nominate the town they think would be suitable for the next Big Rainbow monument by visiting the website bigrainbowproject.com.au

Submissions are open until April 20.