From the Newsroom

How do you feel about the Grafton Jacaranda Festival becoming a gender-neutral event?

Emma Pritchard

Following the recent announcement by the Jacaranda Festival Committee, the Clarence Valley Independent hit the streets and asked the question…

Barbara Cobham: I really don’t agree with it, at all. I think the whole concept of making the event gender neutral is wrong. We’re losing the tradition of having a Jacaranda Queen, a proud and time-honoured event, and it is essentially throwing away more than 70 years of history. I don’t care how people identify or how they want to represent themselves, but why should a much-loved community event change just to appease a minority group?

Jharrah Lynch: That is the best decision ever! I totally support it, and it’s so awesome because now everyone can feel wholeheartedly included in the event.

Daisie Wilde: It’s really good to see the Jacaranda Festival embracing every person and their own special identity. I think it’s a great call. I really think it will encourage more people to get involved with the event each year because there are no sexist restrictions anymore.

Dharn Jacobson: I think it is such amazing news. I have to include a big shout out to the Jacaranda Festival Committee for keeping it real and making it real for everyone.

John Hutton: I don’t think it’s a good move. I’m really p****d off to tell you the truth. Horrendous decision. It should have been left the way it was, it was fine as it was.

Jessica Stapleton: I really don’t know if it’s a good decision or a bad one. I do think it’s going to create a lot of diversity. There are staunch traditionalists who want the festival to remain the way it’s always been, but you also have the power behind the woke movement and raising awareness of social inequalities. I think it is important for everyone to feel equal and involved, but I’m kind of sitting on the fence with this one.

Joyce Freitas: What a ridiculous decision.

Samarita Eaton: I applaud this decision. Why should we be defined by gender and why should only people who identify as female be allowed to compete to be a queen? My sister is raising her child as gender neutral, and this means they can now take part in the festival if they want to.

Charlotte Freeman: I don’t really care to be honest.

Kendall Healey:  I don’t really agree with it. I support people who choose to identify as gender neutral or non-binary, but I think the festival should have been left to continue as it was.