Mardi Gras, an event that allows the marginalized to be seen and celebrated, served as the perfect backdrop to export Pride from the glitzy Sydney Australia to traditional country towns. Absolut partnered with LGBTQIA+ ally, Pedestrian.tv, to create a five-part docu-drama, highlighting the struggles and support the LGBTQIA+ community experiences in rural areas to help normalize being queer.
By taking a customized Pride torch on a relay across the nation, we transformed small towns into mini-Mardi Gras’ celebrations. Our torch bearers passed the Pride torch from Caboolture to Uralla to Trundle to Shepparton to New Norfolk and finally back to Sydney. We transformed local drinking holes into Pride pubs. In stark contrast to the Oxford Street parade, tradie steel-cap boots and high-vis work shirts could be seen dancing in unison with Jackie Daniels drag heels and sequined skirts. For the first time in these small towns’ histories, Pride had taken over the pubs, and the LGBTQIA+ communities felt at home.
The Absolut Pride Torch served as the physical beacon of change as it bellowed rainbow smoke across Australia.