A selection of members from Melbourne.

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Melbourne is the capital city of the state of Victoria and is often referred to as ‘the cultural capital of Australia’, due to the fact that so many Australian cultural traditions have emerged from the area. Melbourne has long been at the centre of Australian film and television, art, music and dance. Consequently, if you take a trip to Melbourne you will be able to discover more about the influential role the city has played in Australian culture. Of course, there are other things to do in the city, which do not always revolve around high culture. If you want to experience gay life in Melbourne, there are plenty of opportunities to, with a range of establishments, activities and events that are targeted at gay visitors.

There are a number of gay-orientated events held throughout the year that are extremely popular. One of the most notable is the Midsumma Festival that takes place in January and is opened with Carnival, a day-long celebration between gay and straight communities who picnic together and enjoy the entertainment that is on offer, including a dance party featuring well-known Australian DJs. Throughout the rest of the festival, you can enjoy various artworks, as well as musicals, theatre, cabaret, film, dance and music events. Melbourne’s Pride March forms part of the Midsumma Festival, with the march ending at St Kilda Beach, where there is a huge party. Melbourne is also home to the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a very highly regarded showcase for gay cinema that has been running since 1991.

In June, there is Hibearnation, a celebration of bear culture and a chance to enjoy a week of bear-related events. In August there is A Week of Leather ( AWOL), where you can enjoy a range of events, such as the Code Black Party and a number of fetish workshops and performance events. There is also Melbourne Leather Pride that takes place in November and gives you a chance to party, visit exhibitions and workshops, as well as enjoy the Mr Australia and New Zealand Leather Competition. Clearly, then, whatever time of year you visit Melbourne, you’re likely to find a number of gay-related events to enjoy. Plus, there are numerous gay bars and clubs where you will be welcomed with open arms.

The gay scene in Melbourne is concentrated in two particular areas – the Northside that includes Collingwood and Fitzroy and the Southside that includes Windsor and South Yarra. The Northside is where you will find the Laird Hotel, a Melbourne institution that continues to offer a male-only bar and accommodation and that is home to a number of groups, including Melbourne Leather Men. The Glasshouse Hotel is a popular meeting spot for gay men and lesbians and hosts nightly drag and cabaret shows; the Peel Dance Bar attracts mostly men with its popular drag shows and dance music; whilst at the Star Hotel you can enjoy karaoke and listening to music.

The Southside also has a variety of different establishments that are aimed at gay men, including The Market Hotel, a large nightclub featuring well-known DJs and performers. You will also find Heaven’s Door Bar and Priscilla’s Bar that are free to enter, as well as the clubbing venue, Chihuahua’s; the rather retro Diva Bar and the Prince of Wales Hotel, where you can enjoy their gay night every Sunday, which features an array of DJs and performers. The Southside is generally regarded as having a more fashionable, clubbing, cruising type of vibe compared to the Northside, but obviously you can explore both areas and sample all of the different venues you find – from gay bars and saunas to cafés and shops. Ultimately, Melbourne has plenty to offer you in terms of gay-orientated establishments and activities, as well as a gay-friendly atmosphere. Consequently, Melbourne is well worth a visit if you intend on taking a trip to Australia.

If you have anything we can add to our Melbourne Gay Guide please contact us.

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