PROUD: Rainbow Noosa members, Courtney Noble and Nicole Dillon at the 2019 Sunshine Coast Pride Festival in Nambour.
PROUD: Rainbow Noosa members, Courtney Noble and Nicole Dillon at the 2019 Sunshine Coast Pride Festival in Nambour.

How inclusive is Noosa to the gay community?

LESLEY Pantlin is a proud lesbian and has been for nearly 50 years.

The Ridgewood resident runs the LGBTI social group, Rainbow Noosa.

She was pleased the Noosa community had really embraced the group.

"We have always felt welcomed in Noosa," she said.

"At the Noosa Yacht Club we used to get up and dance, there was no hostility at all.

"It has been very supportive."

But sadly, for Lesley, 67 her sexuality has not always had such a positive effect on those around her.

"I used to have a neighbour who would tell me to go home and suck my girlfriend's d***," she said.

Rainbow Noosa founder, Lesley Pantlin at a social gathering.
Rainbow Noosa founder, Lesley Pantlin at a social gathering.

Lesley has experienced this level of prejudice since she came out back in 1971.

"I went on my first Sydney pride march in 1973," she said.

"People just got regularly bashed up."

National events such as the same sex marriage plebiscite in 2017 have allowed the gay community to take a big step forward, but Lesley believes a lot more still has to be done.

"When the vote went through there was an increase in violence against the LGBTI community because a lot of people were cranky," she said.

"One member of my group had his face rearranged.

"There is still a lot of prejudice."

She said real change comes only when the message is actioned by the country's governing bodies.

"You have to have police and government on side to give you the basis to make changes," she said.

"You can't change the culture until you have the people on the top on board."

Rainbow Noosa's next social event will be held at the Cooroy Hotel from 12pm to 4pm on Sunday, January 19.

For more information go to the facebook page or email Lesley on rainbownoosacontact@gmail.com