THE organiser of the city's first rally supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples says Toowoomba's reputation for conservatism is slowly changing.
More than 120 demonstrators met under rainbow flags at Queens Park last Saturday to throw themselves behind the cause.
"I think the change is slow, but it's there and it is for the better," organiser Emma Bust said.
"We had a big mix of people at the event - gay, straight, families, singles, Christians and atheists.
"As I said on the day, marriage, and love are traditions that strengthen the spirit and the family unit.
"Why would anyone be opposed to bringing families together by giving them the choice to marry?"
The rally raised funds for the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities, recently stripped of $2.6 million of funding for what the State Government said was a failure to reduce HIV rates and focusing too much on political issues.
When it cut the funding in May, the State Government said money would be redirected into a new ministerial advisory committee focusing on HIV prevention and treatment.
Mrs Bust said a variety of outspoken activists took centre stage to make their voices heard at the rally.
"There were many highlights on the day, including moving speeches by University of Southern Queensland
"Local musician Brooke Mowett sang original songs that really engaged the audience."
Former Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine also made a surprise appearance at the rally.
"We had invited him but hadn't received a response by email, but nonetheless he spoke very eloquently of his support for our cause and on his thoughts of how the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community and other disadvantaged groups in Queensland were being treated by this current government," Mrs Bust said.
One of the most moving displays took place at ground-level, as demonstrators wrote notes of support on cardboard hearts and planted them in the park.
"The messages received on our 'heart flowers' for the Garden of Hearts were beautiful sentiments," Mrs Bust said.
"Something very special will be created in the next few weeks out of all those messages - it's a surprise!"
Mrs Bust said Toowoomba could expect similar rallies in the not-too-distant future.
"I personally would love to see a protest march through the city in the future," she said.
"I would like to see regular LGBTI community events - a chance to socialise, meet new friends and connect with old ones... a safe, healthy, positive space for the community to meet.
"Whether that is an annual event or a regular monthly meet, that's something we're looking into.
"One thing is for sure, the LGBTI community isn't going anywhere.
"They are proud of who they are and they have strong allies in Toowoomba to help them celebrate."