Esperance LGBTQI+ message spread with iconic whale tale sticker campaign

Kelsey ReidKalgoorlie Miner
Regional Rainbows founder Danny Della Vedova.
Camera IconRegional Rainbows founder Danny Della Vedova. Credit: Picture:

Esperance will be one step closer to improving the visibility of LGBTQI+ people thanks to a new initiative aiming to make the town a more inclusive place.

Danny Della Vedova, 26, grew up 60km east of Esperance on a farm in Condingup, and began the project last year after returning to his hometown.

“The idea really stems from myself growing up in Esperance where I felt there were no role models, there was no visibility for LGBTQI people,” he said.

“Having spent time living in cities like Perth and I lived for four years in Sydney, it was very apparent to me, as I’ve gotten older, coming home to Esperance that there is a lack of visibility.

“Regional Rainbows is there to fill that deficit and make sure people feel included and accepted in regional towns, and that they don’t need to leave town to feel included, accepted and valued.”

The first step of the project involves a sticker rollout, where businesses, schools and organisations can sign up to have a sticker on their window displaying an image of Esperance’s iconic whale tail sculpture painted in the LGBTQI+ bright rainbow colours, allowing shoppers and visitors to know that the business or organisation is LGBTQI+ friendly.

The stickers were designed by members of headspace Esperan-ce’s LGBTQI+ new drop-in group in conjunction with a local designer, and funded by local Nationals Upper House MP Colin de Grussa.

Mr Della Vedova said it was a shame for people living regionally to feel like they had to leave the country to be accepted, and he hoped Regional Rainbows would grow to other regional spaces.

“People need to just feel valid, the biggest shame is a lot of people feel the need to leave country towns to find acceptance; why should they have to leave?” he said.

“Why should people who love living in Kalgoorlie, or love living in Esperance, not feel comfortable being accepted into the community that they were raised in and want to remain in?”

He said there had been a great response to the concept so far with many people signing up for a sticker when they become available next month.

“It doesn’t have to be an awkward or offensive interaction, it can be one of learning and hopefully change moving forward,” he said.

“I think what it comes down to in regional towns is people just don’t know, they only know from examples they have seen in movies, films or books, and some of those stereotypes are very outdated.”

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