Brisbane march launches Pride Festival

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Brisbane march launches Pride Festival

By Nick Everett

BRISBANE — Five hundred people participated on Saturday, June 26, in a march and rally organised by the Lesbian and Gay Pride collective as a commemoration of Stonewall and as the launch of two weeks of Pride Festival events.

Speakers at the rally in Albert Park included Geoff Sheverton from the collective and Doug Currie and Dodie from Two Spirited People of Colour.

Geoff Sheverton spoke of the significance of Stonewall as a rebellion against years of violence and discrimination. He also made the point that many lesbian and gay rights are yet to be won. Lesbians and gays are still not recognised under anti-discrimination legislation and face harassment from police and other sectors of society.

The importance of the Pride Festival, he said, was to assert lesbian and gay rights — "We're here, we're queer, and get used to it" — and to build events that are of benefit to the lesbian and gay community, rather than for venues that want to make profits out of what they perceive as a new market.

Sheverton pointed to the poor record of the Goss Labor government, not only in relation to lesbian and gay rights, but also in its inaction regarding abortion and land rights.

Doug Currie spoke of some of the changes that he has seen over the years as a Murri in the Sydney and Brisbane gay communities. He pointed to the racism he faced as a black gay man in the late '60s, and the support and strength he feels in today's lesbian and gay community.

After a minute's silence in commemoration of all those who had died from AIDS, a march proceeded over Victoria Bridge, where it stopped for a five-minute dance party, and then on to a fair in Musgrave Park.

The fair was followed by a Queer Cabaret at Boulder Lodge, with performances from Isis and Chris Maver and DJs.