Tomorrow – Wednesday, November 29 –, Rainbow Shoelace Project Co-Founder Abbie Jane will be presenting at the Pride in Practice Conference in Sydney, telling her story and the stories of others positively impacted by her project since launching in March 2022.
After connecting with Pride at Woolworths Group Co-Chair Alex Zachariah, who wanted to show their support for the Rainbow Shoelace Project – and doing so by packing and distributing 10,000 packs of beads –, Abbie was invited to talk about pride with people at the conference during a CRAFTernoon session that will see the audience also packing beads.
“Woolworths Group had supported me and obviously my story can be quite touching for people so I’m really, really looking forward to that,” Abbie told the Barrier Truth.
“Living in Broken Hill, I often have to do things over the phone or online, and I really miss out on that physical opportunity of getting to meet people in real life and have that that one-on-one connection with people. I’m really thankful that I get to go [in-person], because I’m really excited to meet all the people and get to share my story.”
While Abbie will have the chance to share her story as a young queer person growing up and living in a small regional centre such as Broken Hill and creating this project to raise awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s not lost on her the impact she’s had on others along the way.
For everyone the Rainbow Shoelace Project has helped in creating a positive impact on their lives, it’s their real-life stories that Abbie hopes to tell at the Pride in Practice Conference, as a way of giving back to those who have supported her to this point, having encourged anyone to send messages in which will be expressed at the conference.
“I think that that’s one of the parts that gets people the most is because when they first hear it, they’re like, ‘it’s just beads on shoelaces, how can how can that help people?’,” she says.
“And then when they actually hear real people’s stories and how much we’ve helped them, it gives me goosebumps talking about it. I can’t believe a little project that I’ve started – well, not so little anymore – has helped people so much, and that’s why I wanted to share with everyone some stories from people who support us.
“I really appreciate our supporters sharing that part of their life story and showing that part of how much we’ve helped them. I think I owe it to them to talk about them a bit more because obviously we wouldn’t be where we are without the people that have supported us.”
PICTURE: Abbie Jane, the passionate force behind the Rainbow Shoelace Project, shares a moment with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Broken Hill, gifting him a pack of rainbow beads during his visit for the Voice Referendum in October. PRISCILLA McINTOSH