Broome’s hugely sparkly and successful annual Mardi Gras attracts both straight and LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) visitor from around Australia.
The event is also warmly embraced by Aboriginal LGBTIQ people who live in Broome and the surrounding towns and communities.
Coinciding with the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Broome’s Mardi Gras features a dance party, cabaret night, a drag bingo event and the Kimberley Queen Competition, all in a unique and exciting setting.
The 2019 Mardi Gras event was a sell-out event. On the first night, party-goers enjoyed three hours of cabaret entertainment at Broome’s Civic Centre, followed by the hugely popular dance party the following night at the Mangrove Hotel.
In 2020, the Shire of Broome has plans to make Broome’s four-year-old celebration of the LGBTIQ community an even bigger event.
“We do it differently up here,” says Lucy Falcocchio, Broome Pride founder and Broome Mardi Gras organiser.
“We have a vision of ‘One Community’. We come together as one, which makes it a safe environment. By encouraging entire community participation we promote greater unity cohesion and equality.”
Ms Falcocchio, who moved to Broome from Sydney 12 years ago to do ‘a 12 month contract’, said she felt so comfortable in Broome she forgot to go back.
“I had never been to WA before, so I didn’t know what to expect after living in Sydney, which is the gay mecca of the world.
“Although I was pleasantly surprised with the Broome community’s complete acceptance of my sexuality, I quickly realised there was a need for a LGBTIQ community group.
“There was so much diversity in the Kimberley, but there was nowhere really for everyone to connect. So after a get-together we came up with Broome Pride - a group to promote social inclusion.”
Ms Falcocchio said supporting young LGBTI people was especially important for Broome Pride.
"If young people are having questions about their identity it is good for them to know there are people like us out there; there is nothing wrong with it and it is normal," she said.
“In 2020, we plan to bring an under 18 event to Mardi Gras,” she said.
“There are lots of rainbow families out there. We’re also looking to introduce an interactive Drag Queen Story Time session at the library, where a couple of drag queens come in and read story books.”
Other ways in which the local LGBTI community can connect is through monthly catch-ups and the Facebook page of Broome Pride.
For more information on the Mardi Gras visit Broome Pride at broomepride.com
Or on Facebook join https://www.facebook.com/groups/broomepride/