Show to highlight LGBTQ family and gender based violence

Two important events to highlight family and gender-based violence faced by LGBTQ communities will take place in Greater Bendigo in March as part of the Bendigo Pride Festival.

A unique one-man show called My Other Closet the Cabaret which raises the awareness of family violence in LGBTQ relationships, will take place from 5pm to 7pm on Sunday March 20 at the Engine Room, Old Fire Station View Street Bendigo.

Also taking place is The Dark Side of the Rainbow, a LGBTQ family violence professional training day (incorporating the My Other Closet the Cabaret show) which will take place from 9.30am – 4pm on Friday March 18 at the Bendigo Bank Room, Capital Theatre View Street Bendigo.  The aim of this event is to provide the region’s service providers with an opportunity to learn how they can better support LGBTQ people experiencing domestic and family violence in our region. 

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the City is proud to support both events in partnership with Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence and a range of other organisations.

“Domestic and gender-based violence is never ok and the City is pleased to support the LGBTQIA+ community through these two events,” Cr Metcalf said. 

The 2016 Royal Commission into Domestic and Family Violence found LGBTQ people experience similar rates of violence as heterosexual couples, and yet are most often under-supported by professional services.  It also found the issue is so poorly understood that even LGBTQ victims often don’t recognise the abuse when it is happening to them—and it’s often also unrecognised by their families, colleagues, friends and even family violence professionals.

After selling out seasons across Australia since 2013, My Other Closet the Cabaret, is a raw, personal and deeply affecting true-life account of violence in a same gender relationship and it will expose a local audience to a topic they’ve likely never even considered.

Described as “moving”, “brave” and “wonderful”, the one-man show features Russ Vickery, who developed the performance piece with husband and producer/director, Matthew Parsons, to highlight the little-known reality of violence in same gender and gender diverse (LGBTQ) relationships.

Russ Vickery said he wanted to dispel the myth that family or intimate partner violence doesn’t happen in LGBTQ relationships.

“At first I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. It was so unexpected. It took some time for me to realise that this was abusive, this was manipulative. And unfortunately, this is a common experience for LGBTQ survivors,” Mr Vickery said.

Providing insight through powerful storytelling and songs, My Other Closet the Cabaret is Russ’s account of his journey to intimate partner violence survivor. Russ, a father of three now in his 50s, takes us on a musical journey through the story of his life. It begins in Melbourne’s gay clubs in the 70s, follows Russ through a 17-year straight marriage, then sees him coming out of the closet and into his first same gender sex relationship—a relationship marred by extreme physical violence and emotional abuse.

Produced by MAROPA Productions within the Bendigo Pride Festival with funding from the Victorian Government and through partnerships with Rainbow Door, City of Greater Bendigo, Bendigo Health, Bendigo Community Health Services, Thorne Harbour Country, Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence, Rainbow Health Australia and Frogs & Tadpoles (Headspace Bendigo LGBTIQA+ youth groups) with donations from local businesses BLR Construction and Safescape.

Bookings for My Other Closet the Cabaret can be made at  https://www.myotherclosetthecabaret.com/

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