All the Queen's Men
Images by Bryony Jackson. Film by Logan Mucha.

The Coming Back Out Ball

Melbourne Town Hall (Kulin Nations)

A spectacular celebration of LGBTIQ+ elders. The Coming Back Out Ball is a night of cultural significance in which the broader community can sit alongside our LGBTI+ elders to eat, drink, dance, reminisce and dream together into the future.


The Coming Back Out Ball is informed by growing research around isolation and loneliness plaguing elderly populations; which is deemed even more acute for LGBTI+ people. Research also reveals that some LGBTI+ elders conceal their sexual, gendered or cultural identity or variation(s) when they access aged care services – because they believe they are not safe.

In Australia, these elders have lived through a time when being LGBTI+ could result in imprisonment, enforced medical ‘cures’, loss of employment and rejection by family and friends. For many, impending old age has meant some elders are going back into the closet, for fear of being deprived of companionship and quality care when they need it most.

We note, that in 2016 and 2017 State Government’s around Australia formally apologised and expunged the criminal records of gay men who had lived their entire lives with a criminal record for the ‘abominable crime of buggery’

The Coming Back Out Ball is designed to be a gift; a gift that acknowledges the resilience of this community, a gift of visibility to LGBTI+ elders who have lived through it all and a safe space for those elders just discovering themselves.

Using the form of a ball which is culturally and historically significant to many intersections of the LGBTI+ community, The Coming Back Out Ball is a political action of reclaiming one of our largest civic spaces and giving it back to a group of people who although certainly deserve it, do not have the opportunities to access a lavish night of recognition and celebration.

The Coming Back Out Ball is a night of cultural significance in which the broader community can sit alongside our LGBTI+ elders to eat, drink, dance, reminisce and dream together into the future.

Winner of the 2018 VicHealth Award and 2018 GLOBE Community Award.

Creative Team

Artistic and Production Team:  Keith Deverell, Forde + Nicol, Russell Goldsmith, Gregory Lorenzutti, Bryony Jackson, Sally McPhee, Logan Mucha, Tristan Meecham, Cameron Menzies, Anna Pidgeon, Bec Reid, Nick Roux, Rockie Stone, Andrew Westle.

Performers: Blake Adams, James Andrews, Robyn Archer, Andy Black, Carlotta, Deborah Cheetham, Gerry Connolly, Jarred Dewey, Luke George, Benjamin Hancock, Toni Lalich, Dr. Kathleen McGuire, Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, Marzi Panne and Miss Ellaneous, POW Circus, Bec Reid, James Shannon, Lois Weaver, James Welsby,

Orchestra: Ben Castle (Concert Master), Edwina Jensen, Rose Kavanagh, Tara Murphy, Elyane De Fontenay, Tom Higham, Molly Collier, Jarred Mathie, Anna Porkorny, Alexander Araiswale, Sophie Western, David Reicht, Justin Beere, Lyndon Watts, Rachel Shaw, Fletcher Cox, Ming Li, Justin Jacobs, Kathryn Thomas, Kathleen Halloran.

Volunteers: Ada, Ailsa, Alice, Alissa, Amy, Anna, Andrew, Angela, Angela, Annette, Ben, Bertrand, Brian, Cameron, Chanelle, Charlotte, Deheny, Dimitiri, Emily, Fee, Fernando, Gabriel, Holle, Jacinta, Jai, Karolina, Kate, Lorette, Lucy, Maddy, Mara, Marme, Nicholas, Nik, Nina, Olivia, Patti, Paul, Robert, Reema, Renea, Sam, Samantha, Sherene and Susan.

RMIT Evaluators: Dr Marnie Badham, Lenine Bourke, Alyson Campbell, Joshua Durrant, Samantha Harlow-Black, Susan Maco Forrester, Steve Pereira, Tara Prowse Robert Walton.

Thanks and gratitude: Phillip Adams, Ro Allen, Brenda Appleton, Kristy Aryes, Lou Austin, Dr. Marnie Badham, Kirsty Baird, Dr. Catherine Barrett, Caroline Bayer, Paul Brophy, Michelle Brooker, Jill Bowen, Sheryl Bryce, Daniel Bryen, Lenine Bourke, Kent Burgess, Liz Craig, Karen Cochrane, Jan Cochrane-Harry, Pauline Crameri, Brian Day, Matt Dixon, Maddy Dowling, Drew Downing, Alison Duncan, Tanja Farmer, Deb Fryers, Nanette Fox, Sally Goldner, Robyn Good, John Hall, Bonnie Halsall, Nick Henderson, Cas Hunter, Andrew Jacobs, Jen Jennings, Shona Johnson, Ann Lafferty, JR Latham, Benjamin Law, Olivia Manzart, Fiona Macleod, Peter Mensfeld, Heather Morgan, David Morrison, Erin Milne, Roger Monk, Jacinta Moylan, Logan Mucha, Jess Murphy, Terrence Murphy, Rory O’Neill, Katie Page, Toni Paynter, Nance Peck, Chris Reidy, Mark Trevorrow, Jason Triolo, Clive Scott, Judith Slade, Ben Starick, Annie Stephens, Sherene Stewart, Brad Spolding, Magda Szubanski, Ardy Tibby, Noel Tovey, Brendan Valmont, Jenny Villa, Sam Wallman, Tony Walsh, Peter Waples Crowe, Victoria Whitelaw, Gordon Wilson, Jennifer Wolcott and William Yang.

Project Partners

Presented as premiere event of the 2017 Victorian Seniors Festival in association with the 3rd National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference (Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care). Supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, City of Melbourne, Margaret Lawrence Bequest and Victorian State Government. Supported by Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives, Showtech Australia, Sofitel Hotels and Resorts, The Big Anxiety Festival, Priceline Pharmacy, UBER. Victoria Whitelaw Beautiful Flowers. Auspice by Auspicious Arts Projects and Victorian AIDS Council.

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