Members of "It’s OK on the Macleay"
Members of “It’s OK on the Macleay”

It’s OK on the Macleay is now in its third year and will be featuring live entertainment; lived experience speakers and a variety of stalls

The rural township of Kempsey lies approximately 420 kilometres north of Sydney.  It is located on the Macleay River with cattle country and the Great Dividing Range to the west; dairy farming, cropping and some of the best beaches on the coast to the east.

It’s OK on the Macleay came about as a result of the 2017 Plebiscite regarding Marriage Equality.  It was and is still auspiced by the Foundation: Baylin’s Gift.  This Foundation was established in 2016 by Hayley Hoskins shortly after her son Baylin took his own life.  The story of Baylin’s mental health struggle and more on Baylin’s Gift can be found here:

In the lead up to the Plebiscite, Hayley was shocked to hear some of the intolerance that was sweeping the community.  Hayley felt that a celebration was in order to help support the people from this amazing community.  So began the ‘It’s OK on the Macleay’ celebration.

The aims of It’s OK on the Macleay celebration are:

•            Have an event that focuses on the wonderful diversity and talent on the Macleay;

•            a family day to help demonstrate acceptance and tolerance for everyone

•            To show support for the LGBTIQA+ community and to acknowledge the rights of all peoples to be treated just like everyone else;

•            Provide education and information to those within the LGBTIQA+ community including their families;

•            Continually look for ways to improve services for those within the LGBTIQA+ community.

•            To provide a visual demonstration to young people that being LGBTIQA+ and coming out is OK. That you have support, you have accepted, and you are loved.

The event is now in its third year and will be featuring live entertainment; lived experience speakers, a variety of stalls; community organisations; stand-up paddleboarding; mechanical bull riding; dragon boating; kids activities include face painting and a blow-up obstacle course; and for the first time, there will be holding a dog show.  During the whole day, there will be Auslan Interpreters.

This year, the stall fees will go towards purchasing books for LGBTIQA+ kids, young people, and families.  These books will be donated to the Library as a resource for our community.  Baylin’s Gift will also develop a library for the families they come in contact with during the course of their community works.