Drawing a line in the sand: The social impacts of an LGBTQI+ event in an Australian rural community

Cliff Lewis, Kevin Markwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As a form of leisure, Pride events offer LGBTQI+ people a chance to gain visibility, advocate for their rights, and construct and express their identity. The benefits such events offer are particularly crucial within rural communities, often perceived to be heteronormative spaces that may exhibit greater levels of prejudice against sexually and gender-diverse individuals. This paper examines the perceived social impacts Pride events can have within a rural community by studying an inaugural Pride event hosted in the Australian township of Wagga Wagga. Informed by an interpretivist approach and using a mix of participant observation and semi-structured interviews, the study found the event had three key out-comes. First, the event challenged assumptions about how acceptance of diverse sexualities and gender identities were in the town. Second, it appeared to help build community acceptance by providing a public space/time for LGBTQI+ individuals to be acknowledged as legitimate citizens. Finally, it contributed to identity construction and created oppor-tunities for connection with other LGBTQI+ residents and the rural com-munity more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalLeisure Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 09 Oct 2020

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