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Ginger Pride rally Melbourne: Red heads unite to fly ‘freak flag high’

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YOU can’t call someone a racist name, or make fun of their sexuality or weight.

Yet “gingerism” is alive and well with red-headed people regularly teased, bullied or constantly joked about due to their colouring.

That is the view of Buderim Ginger, the organisers of Australia’s first Ginger Priderally, which aims to unite red heads across the country to fly ‘the freak flag high’.

As part of the Melbourne rally, organisers are calling on gingers everywhere to celebrate their greatest difference — their hair — and bring an end to gingerism once and for all.

Hang on, what’s gingerism?

According to Buderim Ginger spokeswoman Emma Pryor it is “definitely a thing”, adding that being a red-headed kid at school isn’t a walk in the park.

Between one and two per cent of the world’s population have red hair, yet rather than being celebrated the point of difference is often ridiculed, she said.

The rise of gingerism, defined as prejudice or discrimination against people with red hair, sparked the introduction of ginger pride rallies across the world with Edinburgh among the cities celebrating all things red.

The US city of Chicago even held its own rally last year which attracted thousands of red-heads.

That event is an offshoot of a massive festival in Breda in the Netherlands called Roodharigendag which runs for three days in September each year.

It may sound like a laugh, but the Melbourne rally has a serious side with most gingers admitting they’ve been teased or ridiculed or in extreme cases even bullied due to their colourings.

Ms Pryor said there’s still a perception that it’s okay to tease gingers because it’s just hair and it seemed to be seen as the last acceptable prejudice.

“After South Park showed an episode about kicking a ginger day, kids in the UK actually reported an increase of being bullied after people tried to do it there,” she said.

“Gingerism really is a thing.

“Red-headed people have been an object of ridicule forever and instead of celebrating this difference we make fun of it.”

Buderim Ginger Marketing Manager Jacqui Price said the teasing has to stop.

“It’s no secret that gingers are used to being teased for their flaming locks and freckles, experiencing unfair prejudice and misrepresentation since the dark ages,” she said.

“And it’s time we say enough!”

The festival is also supported by Bully Zero Australia Foundation and The Red and Nearly Ginger Association (R.A.N.G.A), “the peak special interest body for Ginger issues”.

Participants will be encouraged to donate a gold coin with proceeds going towardsBully Zero.

Foundation Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Oscar Yildiz JP, said the team was excited to take a stand against bullying and celebrate the diversity of our community.

“We will take a united front to shed light on the fact that bullying affects children through to adults for such trivial factors such as hair colour or freckles, and make it very clear that bullying is never OK,” he said.

“We hope the Ginger Pride Rally helps to foster acceptance and diversity in the community, because we should all celebrate and be proud of what makes each person an individual.”

The event, to be held on April 16 at Melbourne’s Federation Square, will be led by distinguished copper top Michael Beveridge, the ginger-palooka will feature free ginger beer, vigorous games of ‘Ginger Beer Pong’ and live performances by local Melbourne band The Vanns.

Gingers should celebrate while they can because according to scientists, the gene is set to be wiped out in future years.

Climate change is threatening to wipe out the gene in areas including Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK, The Independent reported.

If rising temperatures continue, Scotland, which has 13 per cent red=heads and 40 per cent carrying the gene, could lose its special characteristic as rising temperatures cause the gene to regress.

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