At Golden GaytimeTinder now has 37 different gender identity options and I’d say Gaytimes attendees covered that.

After returning to Port Melbourne from Tassie we found ourselves pointing the bus on a bit of a detour on our way to Adelaide, South Australia. Our next destination was the Gaytimes festival we had stumbled across on Instagram some months earlier.

Gaytimes festival was a bit like being in an alternate universe. 90% of the attendees were Queer with the odd straight person keeping a low profile there as ‘friends of’. But at GT it didn’t matter what your sexuality or gender identity was. Who you date, whose special place you touch, what goes on in your trousers, which bathroom you use were all non-issues at Gaytimes. I read recently that Tinder now has 37 different gender identity options and I’d say Gaytimes attendees covered that and then some new ones that will need to be added in 2018. While Jot and I were drinking tea in our bus wondering if we needed two pairs of socks on to venture outside in the cold a completely naked trans woman was wandering back and forth to her car gathering her camping equipment. Two pairs of socks it is.

Now in its second year, Gaytimes is held at an alpine resort in the clouds. Maryville, the closest town is about an hour and a half from Melbourne and then it’s another half an hour of winding roads up the mountain to the ski resort. The people of Marysville must not have known what had hit them on Friday morning as 1000 of the queerest of queers and the gayest of gays descended on the town to stock up on supplies for their two days at the festival. Wandering around town was lovely as everyone eyed each other up and smiled at each other preparing to spend the next 48 hours dancing and, if they were lucky, sleeping next to each other. Even at Stephensons Waterfall the people gazing up at the wonder were all beautiful gay men. Taking in some nature and snapping some #waterfallselfies before heading up the mountain to join the party.

The Friday was a crisp but sunny 20 degrees at the alpine resort when we arrived. Some people were naked, some were scantily clad, lots of guys were in dresses and Adidas must have sold out of their Stella McCarthy range the day before as brightly coloured leggings seemed to be the festival must-have. People had dressed for fun rather than practicality and even though the temp dropped to 7 degrees the next day any time the sun crept through the clouds the 80s ski jackets and running tights came off and as much skin as possible came out.

The vibe of the festival was acceptance and judgement-free individuality. And while individuality was a’plenty I’d imagine acceptance is something that many Gaytimes attendees struggle within the judging world at the bottom of the mountain. Gaytimes brought together the freaks and geeks from the gay world and told them it didn’t matter if they aren’t gym gays with big arms or trendy lesbians with a YouTube channel, this was their weekend to party.

Jot and I perched on a rock at the back of the field observing the crowd. You couldn’t help but be happy for everyone who for this weekend at least there was no one doing a double-take when they noticed a guy holding his boyfriend’s hand, or for having a dress on, or for having a hairstyle that might have been created by kids at kindy.

Gaytimes was a bit too cold for Kate and Jot and our inner Kath and Anne took over as we headed to bed at 11 on the first night. But this chilled festival full of quirky individuals warmed our hearts with happiness and cheer. Next year we’ll probably take ski jackets and byo some brandy and try and make it to midnight.

Next stop Radelaide.