What better way to end the year than with a splash? Late last year YO Bendigo successfully delivered it's first ever "Fruit Punch" all-gender pool party and dive-in movie on the 23rd of December. This party was an inclusive event that welcomed over 50 young individuals and allies from the Greater Bendigo community.
Fruit Punch gave young transgender people and their allies a secure, accepting environment to express themselves and their diversity. The event welcomed both swimmers and non-swimmers with many activities. Attendees enjoyed after-hours swimming, inflatables, and a dive-in movie on a giant LED screen in front of the pool. There were also crafts, board games, and card games for those who preferred to stay dry.
Fruit Punch went beyond the pool party. It provided an opportunity for attendees to explore and express their gender identity while having a fun day at the pool. There was a clothing stall, donated by Trans and Gender Diverse Bendigo and Beyond. It consisted of donations from community members. This allowed young people to try on and keep swimsuits that they felt comfortable in. There was also a Polaroid selfie booth that captured memories and laughs.
Fruit Punch was a success because of the combined efforts from organisations dedicated to inclusivity and diversity. Thanks to the hard work of Trans and Gender Diverse Bendigo and Beyond, Headspace Bendigo, Thorne Harbour Country, and Belgravia Leisure, we were able to provide an amazing LGBTIQA+ party experience.
Attendee feedback during the evening showed how excited they were for another Fruit Punch pool party for all genders. Many said how much they liked the friendly and laid-back attitude. Some mentioned that it was the first time in a long time that they felt comfortable enough to go to a public pool. The success of the event heightened our excitement, and we intend to host another Fruit Punch.