On Sunday 21/01/2024, Victoria Police and their associates were given space at the Midsumma Festival held in “Melbourne” and advertised as “Australia’s premier LGBTQIIA+ cultural festival”. Just one day later, on Monday 22/01/2024, Victoria Police officers violently targeted people protesting against the docking of a ship owned by an Israeli company for Israel’s genocide and occupation of Palestine. Legal observers at the protest flagged Victoria Police’s unlawful use of pepper spray, as well as pushing over and dragging a disabled protester out of their wheelchair, then aggressively telling them to move.

Further, Victoria Police has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Home Affairs to exchange information about immigration status of people, putting our community members at risk of detention and deportation to danger.

While Midsumma Festival declare themselves to be “celebrating solidarity in gender and sexuality diversity”, we eX-detainees of all ages, genders, sexualities and disabilities who have been permanently disabled by the Australian detention-torture system, do not feel any solidarity from Midsumma Festival when Midsumma proudly provides platforms and space to our oppressors at their events. 

Politicians, Police, Military, Navy as well as the architects and profiteers of the detention industrial complex work hand-in-hand with each other to target us in all aspects of our lives. They target us from the time we arrive in “Australia” by boat to seek protection from being persecuted regardless of ages, genders, sexualities and disabilities. Every single one of us who has arrived by boat to seek asylum and faced the detention torture regime created in 1992 in so-called Australia – is a person of colour.

Enough is Enough! Recognising the injustice, oppression, and institutionalised violence against marginalised groups is another aspect of queerness. There is NO pride in police, politicians, military, navy and other architects and profiteers of detention torture.

We, eX-detainees demand the following from Midsumma Festival:

  1. Immediately cut ALL ties with Politicians, Police, Military, Navy, detention architects and profiteers of the detention industrial complex
  2. Not allowing anyone listed above to wear uniform or display their organisation’s logo at any Midsumma events, and these people should not be allowed to attend in their professional capacity and only as ordinary community members
  3. Not giving any individual or organisation listed above any space, platform or air time
  4. Resignation of ALL current Board of Directors and the Executive staff members for failing to carry out community safety at Midsumma events, especially putting eX-detainee queer people and queer people of colour at risk

Unless these demands are met, we ask everyone to boycott Midsumma.

Finally, we urge all artists and musicians to boycott Midsumma. No, we don’t accept your approach of “participating and making a point”. And No, we don’t believe in your Uncle Tom cop-out theory.

RISE eX-detainees