Recent scholarship suggests that the gay/lesbian idyllisation of rural places is an urban construct, constituted through metropolitan sensibilities, communities and imaginaries. We extend this work through examining the construction of Daylesford, Victoria, as a ‘gay/lesbian rural idyll’. Daylesford annually hosts ChillOut, Australia’s largest rural gay/lesbian festival, which underpins its idyllisation. Utilising data drawn from fieldwork conducted at the 2006 festival and commentaries circulated in the gay/lesbian media, we argue that not only is Daylesford idyllised in the Australian gay/lesbian imaginary, but that rurality and urbanity are hybridised in its framing as a ‘gay/lesbian rural idyll’. This is manifested in several ways: discursively, as the ‘gay capital of country Victoria’; spatially, through enabling proximity to Melbourne; materially, as a rustic setting for upmarket stores/services typically associated with the cosmopolitan inner-city. We thus show how the ‘gay/lesbian rural idyll’ is an urban construct not only in the gay/lesbian imaginary, but also when spatialised in a rural place.
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Gorman-Murray, A. W., Waitt, G. R. & Gibson, C. R. (2007). Chilling out in the country? Interrogating Daylesford as a ''gay/lesbian rural idyll''. In N. Stead & J. Prior (Eds.), Queer space: centres and peripheries (pp. 1-7). Sydney: UTS.