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Colourful show of support for marriage equality

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September 25, 2017

Lilyann, Trish and Hayley Hancock walk for marriage equality.

Shepparton residents Tammy Ormiston and Dahyna Heenan believe marriage should be legalised for everyone.

A colourful display lit up the Victoria Park Lake yesterday as dozens of same-sex marriage supporters walked for equality.

The walk was part of a state-wide initiative to bring together communities to take part in a relay for marriage equality, in light of the same-sex marriage postal vote.

Organiser and Goulburn Valley Pride representative Damien Stevens said the event was a way to encourage individuals to get their ballot papers back and provide a sense of support to those who felt isolated.

Mr Stevens said the campaign had been a difficult period for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning individuals and their families, and the walk intended to instil a sense of community and belonging.

‘‘There could be a bit of apathy around voting and this was our chance for publicly addressing that and getting a bit of colour out there,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘It’s important to show support to each other and spread the love during this time, because many people are impacted by this survey and to be able to come together in pride and solidarity is necessary.’’

GV Pride president Georgina Poort said the campaign period had been a difficult time for her personally and it was something which was not easy to escape.

Ms Poort had been taking part in rallies for the past five years, but said there had not been an LGBTIQ issue so magnified as it was now.

‘‘I understand this is something we have to endure and continue to be strong and inspire others to get their votes back,’’ she said.

‘‘But you can feel quite upset because you have to fight something that should be a right, but at the same time you have to take a step back, come at it from all angles to get people to understand.’’

Mr Stevens said although his involvement in LGBTIQ activism and campaigning in the past 15 years had been exhausting, he had made a conscious effort to surround himself with people who gave him strength and resilience.

‘‘Marriage equality is but one part of many issues in our community that we still need to address,’’ he said.

‘‘I hope there’s a period of time where we can celebrate and feel affirmed and know that people within the broader community have our backs.’’

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