• The Ginger Pride Rally hosted by Buderim Ginger and RANGA is back in Melbourne for a second year. (Facebook cover image from #thegingernet)Source: Facebook cover image from #thegingernet
Redheads and copper-tops of Australia will come together en-masse in Melbourne for the second annual Ginger Pride Rally on Saturday April 29. So what does ‘ginger pride’ really mean?
By
Megan Blandford

28 Apr 2017 - 11:43 AM  UPDATED 28 Apr 2017 - 12:03 PM

Tim Minchin famously sings that, “Only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger”. I hope he’ll excuse this brunette for writing about ginger pride, however, if I tread carefully.

This story begins with a country girl who moved to the city and unexpectedly found her flame haired tribe.

Kelsey Wilson is 19 years old and now lives in Melbourne, although she grew up in a country town where redheads were scarce. “There weren’t a lot of redheads in my town, so it’s nice to see a lot of us around the city,” she says.

And there are never more redheads to be seen than at the Ginger Pride Rally. Last year’s inaugural rally was hailed a success, with more than 1,000 redheads and gingers gathering to celebrate their uniqueness.

“I’m looking forward to watching the Ginger Speed Dating: it should be really entertaining, and so will the Ginger Beer Pong."

Wilson says she went to the event on a whim; “A friend saw something about it and it was a great excuse to catch up at a fun event. I didn’t know what to expect, but to get there and see so many people with flaming red hair was incredible.”

The rally is on again this year and, on Saturday 29 April, it’s expected that even more redheads will gather in Melbourne.

“I’m looking forward to watching the Ginger Speed Dating: it should be really entertaining, and so will the Ginger Beer Pong,” Wilson says of the upcoming rally. “There’s also a callout for costumes, so it will be really fun.”

The anti-bullying message

The Ginger Pride Rally is more than just a redheaded party; there’s a serious message that’s made very vocal throughout the campaign.

And it’s this message that has inspired Wilson to take part again this year. “It isn’t just about saying, ‘Look, we’ve got red hair’; it’s about standing up for who we are,” she says. “Having a certain coloured hair or any other feature doesn’t warrant people being nasty.”

“I get my fair share of names and the occasional person calling out, ‘Ranga’. I don’t let myself get down about it, but I know there are people who are bullied pretty harshly just for having red hair. We’re all standing together and saying that we accept everyone for who they are.”

“Having a certain coloured hair or any other feature doesn’t warrant people being nasty.”

It’s a message that others share around the community but, Wilson says, it becomes particularly poignant coming from those who have had a hard time. “I think it’s a great message coming from the victims,” she says. “It’s not just a parent or a teacher saying bullying’s bad; it’s coming from the people who have been bullied, and having the victims’ perspective is pretty moving.”

To show they’re putting their money where their mouth is, the rally organisers are donating 50 per cent of funds raised from merchandise go to The Alannah & Madeline Foundation: a charity that works to prevent violence and abuse against children.

“It’s about being proud of who you are and where you come from.”

Life as a ‘ginger’

The first thing that comes to Wilson’s mind when she’s asked about life as a redhead is the weather. “I know a lot of redheads love winter,” Wilson says of the easily burned skin that so often comes with the territory.

But behind that, ‘ginger pride’ is an important part of her identity. “It’s saying I’m proud of who I am,” says Wilson. “And it’s about saying that discriminating other people – whether they have red hair or something else – is wrong.”

“It’s about being proud of who you are and where you come from.”

Ultimately, though, Wilson loves being a redhead. “It’s a lot of fun!” she enthuses. “People say blondes have the most fun, but I think redheads do.”

“As long as we’re not in the sun,” Wilson laughs.

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