Adelaide marches for queer pride

Adelaide Pride march, November 10. Photo: Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

The Adelaide Pride march snaked its way through the Adelaide CBD on November 10, bringing traffic to a standstill with blasting music, dancing and some wild outfits.

The annual march celebrates the opening night of the Feast festival but, according to some attendees, it is also an opportunity for self-expression.

“It allows us to be us. [We] don’t have to hide who we are,” marcher Sasha Delight told Green Left Weekly.

First-time marcher Chloe Bleakley said: “Seeing everyone in the same place reminds us we're not alone.”

Although the march maintained a focus on celebrating diversity and culture, many attendees expressed concern about the slow progress made nationally on issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) community.

Like many attendees, Rebecca Andrews said she was dissatisfied with the lack of progress on marriage equality nationally. She told GLW: “The government needs to get a move on.”

She wasn't alone. Janet Ahrens described not being able to marry the partner of her choice as “suffocating”. Her mother, Karen Ahrens, was there to support Janet. She said: "I'm marching because at this moment my daughter doesn't have the right to marry who she has chosen.”

Long-time equal rights campaigner Natasha Godfey agreed. “I don't get why they [the government] stop gay marriage,” she said.

Dorian Rix, another young campaigner, said: “Equality is not the purview of the few.”

To other marchers, the event was simply an opportunity to express themselves and celebrate. “I enjoy the culture,” said Mitch Peterson. “I think the world would be lessened without the culture of the Pride March.”

A new addition to this year’s Pride March was the Rainbow Youth Collective. Supported by members of Resistance Adelaide, the collective was formed in August to “unite and organise all young people in high schools, universities and the wider community in order to fight against homophobia and other forms of discrimination”.

High school student Bethany Brown said the Rainbow Youth Collective presence at the march was focused on delivering an anti-homophobia, pro-marriage equality statement.

“If we make enough noise, it might just get through to the government — we just want the same rights as everyone else,” she said, while carrying a banner saying, “homophobia hurts young people”.

Another Rainbow Youth Collective member told GLW: “It's good for everyone to participate in solidarity with the queer community.”

The members of the Rainbow Youth Collective felt empowered by the march, but not all LGBTI rights advocates were able to join in as they had hoped.

South Australian police officers were banned from marching in uniform, despite a petition against the move that collected at least 2400 signatures.

SA police has previously confirmed there were 44 openly gay and lesbian officers serving in the state, and a spokesperson told media outlets on November 7 that police could take part in the march independently.

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