Anti-Queer Group Tries to Shut Down Dance, Ends Up Funding It Instead

Detail from a poster for the formal.

Minus 18

Here’s a delightful bit of queer-affirming poetic justice to kick off your weekend.

An Australian LGBTQ advocacy group, Minus 18, hosts a “Same Sex Gender Diverse” formal in the Melbourne area to, in their words, provide local queer youth “a night to wear what you want, come with who you want, and just be yourself!” In an effort to open the night of dinner and dancing to as many people as possible, Minus 18 turned to crowdfunding this year, hoping that supportive donors would help cover a block of the $40 tickets for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it. While the group only hoped to raise $15,000, they’ve raised more than $45,000 as of Friday afternoon—thanks to the very much unintended support of an anti-queer organization.

When it heard about the dance, the Facebook-based “Stop Safe Schools Coalition”—which works against gender and sexuality inclusiveness policies in Australian schools—wanted to protest. And in the crowdfunding effort, they thought they saw a clever tactic. “PLEASE go buy a ticket or tickets,” a post about the dance read. “The more tickets sold the more youth we protect. They are non refundable unfortunately so if you are then unable to attend you can’t get your money back or a ticket sold to someone else :)” In other words, SSSC thought that by “buying up” all the tickets, they could block queer youth from having a space outside of often hostile traditional school functions where they could be happy and free.

The punchline? They just ended up buying a bunch of tickets for those very kids—as well as inspiring true supporters to pile on even more money. Now everyone is going to the dance for free (refunds are being granted to early purchasers), and organizers are looking for a bigger space. So a round of applause is in order for SSSC—prejudice may have motivated supporters’ generosity, but stupidity has repurposed it for good. Enjoy the dance, everyone!