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Melbourne - Gay And Lesbian Melbourne

Melbourne's gay and lesbian scene may not be as upfront as Sydney's, but it's almost as formidable; this is such a diverse city that gays and lesbians seem just two more of the different groups that give the city its easy-going, multifarious feel.


The scene in Melbourne is less ghettoized than in Sydney. That said, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton, north of the river, and St Kilda, South Yarra and Prahran, to the south, boast a strong male presence. Lesbians are everywhere, but Fizroy, Northcote and Clifton Hill are Melbourne's recognized stomping grounds. There are two gay and lesbian free papers to help you navigate new waters: the Melbourne Star Observer , published weekly, and the fortnightly Brother Sister .

Big events are mostly organized by the ALSO (Alternative LifeStyle Organisation) Foundation, including one over the Australia Day weekend at the end of January - Red Raw Resurrection . The scene's annual highlight, however, has to be the fabulous Midsumma Festival in late January and early February. Already in its twelfth year, Midsumma (tel 03/9415 9819, ) provides an umbrella for a wide range of sporting, artistic and theatrical events. The Queen's Birthday in June is celebrated at the Winterdaze party, and while the whole city is taking a day off to celebrate Melbourne Show Day in September, the Show Off dance party is the place to be.

Organizations, support groups and bookshops
Melbourne is blessed with a dazzling variety of gay and lesbian organizations, support services and businesses, the most important of which are listed below. Everything else, from gay vets to lesbian psychologists, can be found in the ALSO Directory .

AIDS organizations and medical care AIDS Line (tel 03/9347 6099 or free call 1800 133 392) for phone counselling, referral and information Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat & Sun11am-2pm & 7-10pm; Gay Men's Health Centre and the Victorian AIDS Council (tel 03/9865 6700 or free call 1800 134 840), 6 Claremont St, South Yarra; People Living With Aids at the Positive Living Centre (tel 03/9525 4455), 46 Acland St, St Kilda; Positive Women (tel 03/9276 6918 or free call 1800 032 017), run by and for women with HIV, through the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.

ALSO Foundation , 1st floor, 35 Cato St, Prahran (tel 03/9510 5569, ). Organizes events and publishes the ALSO Directory , free from community outlets.

Beat Books , 157 Commercial Rd, Prahran (tel 03/9827 8748). Gay bookshop with a large range of gay magazines, books, sex toys and leather goods.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard (tel 03/9510 5488) for counselling, referral and information.

Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Information Service (tel 0055/12504). Recorded information service (24hr) covering entertainment, as well as social and support groups.

Hares and Hyenas , 135 Commercial Rd, Prahran (tel 03/9824 0110). Gay and lesbian bookshop.

Women's Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) (tel 1300/134 130). Information about lesbian groups, referral to feminist doctors, solicitors, etc.

Cafés and meeting places
Globe Cafe , 218 Chapel St, Prahran (tel 03/9510 8693). Good choice for a well-deserved treat after a hard morning's browsing on Chapel St.

Jackie O , 204 Barkly St, St Kilda (tel 03/9537 0377). Comfy, atmospheric surroundings complemented by relaxed service and value-for-money food.

189 Espresso Bar , 189 Acland St, St Kilda (tel 03/9534 8884). Huge pides , pizza, cakes and expertly made coffees, while outside tables make this a good place for crowd surveillance.

Red Orange , 194 Commercial Rd, Prahran (tel 03/9510 3654). Cosy, inexpensive café in the heart of gay Prahran. Licensed.

Gay and lesbian accommodation
For further accommodation possibilities, other than those listed below, ring Gay Share (tel 03/9691 2290), which arranges house shares for gays and lesbians.

California Motel , 138 Barkers Rd, Hawthorn (tel 03/9818 0281 or free call 1800 331 166, fax 9819 6845, ). Gay-friendly motel accommodation close to the city, with parking available. Take tram #109 or #42 from Collins St. $115 and upwards.

Fitzroy Stables , 124 Victoria St, off Brunswick St, Fitzroy (tel & fax 03/9415 1507). Lovely self-contained unit with a cathedral ceiling, mezzanine bedroom and small kitchen, facing a courtyard with a cottage garden. $90-150

Heathville House , 171 Aitken St, Williamstown (tel & fax 03/9397 5959, ). B&B in pretty, restored weatherboard house. Nonsmoking. $90-150

Laird Hotel , 149 Gipps St, Abbotsford (tel 03/9417 2832, fax 03/9417 2109, ). Rooms for gay men only. $70-115

163 Drummond Street , 163 Drummond St, Carlton (tel 03/9663 3081, fax 9663 6500, ). Non-smoking B&B in two adjacent, two-storey refurbished Victorian mansions. Eleven rooms, with en-suite or shared facilities. $115 and upwards.

Palm Court B&B , 22 Grattan Place, Richmond (tel 03/9427 7365 or 0419 777 850). Spacious bedrooms in Victorian mansion at a moderate rate. Nonsmoking. $50-115

Gay and lesbian nightspots
Club 80 , 10 Peel St, North Melbourne. Melbourne's largest, sleaziest male cruising bar, with backroom facilities. Cover charge.

Diva Bar , 153 Commercial Rd. Cocktail and dance bar with a mixed crowd.

DT's Hotel , 164 Church St, Richmond. Mixed crowd and popular pool competitions.

The Duke , 374 St Kilda Rd, cnr of Market St, St Kilda. Beer garden and pool competitions attract a mixed crowd.

Glasshouse Hotel , 51 Gipps St, Collingwood. Sociable pub that attracts a mixed bunch.

Laird Hotel , 149 Gipps St, Collingwood. Well-equipped boys' venue, with two bars, DJs, a beer garden and games room. Popular with the leather crowd. Cheap drinks until 10pm.

The Market , 143 Commercial Rd, South Yarra. Excellent dance club with weekly menu of top-notch drag shows, karaoke nights and talent quests. No cover charge.

Peel Dance Bar , 113 Wellington St, cnr of Peel St, Collingwood. Dance floor, music videos and shows, drawing a large and appreciative crowd of gays and lesbians.

The Prince St Kilda , 29 Fitzroy St, St Kilda. Each Sunday is gay night, Homosexualle , and one Friday per month is Girl Bar, another gay night.

Star Hotel , 176 Hoddle St, Collingwood. Sociable pub; mixed crowd with a strong Asian clientele.

Trade Bar , 9 Peel St, Collingwood. Gay bar with drag shows.

Xchange Hotel , 119 Commercial Rd, South Yarra. Mainly men.

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