Melbourne’s gay and lesbian scene may not be as in-your-face as Sydney’s, but it’s almost as big, and is also less ghettoized. Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton, north of the river, and St Kilda, South Yarra and Prahran, to the south, boast a strong gay presence; Fitzroy, Northcote and Clifton Hill are the city’s recognized stomping grounds for lesbians. There is a selection of gay- and lesbian-friendly accommodation in these areas and a host of gay- and lesbian club nights around town.
The scene’s annual highlight is the fabulous Midsumma Festival (mid-Jan to early Feb; midsumma.org.au). Held annually since 1988, Midsumma provides an umbrella for a wide range of sporting, artistic and theatrical events, and includes Pride March. There’s also the much-celebrated Melbourne Queer Film Festival in March (mqff.com.au), which has been running since 1991.
MCV (Melbourne Community Voice; gaynewsnetwork.com.au), a free gay and lesbian paper published weekly, is available at gay and lesbian venues.