By Andrea Marklew
BRISBANE — More than 600 people attended this year's annual Lesbian and Gay Pride rally at Roma Street Forum. The rally marks 10 years of activism for Brisbane's Lesbian and Gay Pride Collective.
The rally was chaired by Gay Lemon, a prominent lesbian activist and host of radio 4ZZZ's "Dykes on Mikes".
Rodney Goodbun, a founding member of the collective, explained that lesbians and gays had little public profile in Queensland in the era of National Party premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The Pride Collective had been initiated because of a "hunger in the lesbian and gay community to become active for gay rights and political rights".
Goodbun said the collective had been a forum for both discussion — looking at how lesbians and gays wanted to be represented — and activism — highlighting the need to challenge homophobia. He said activism is still necessary because the need to defend lesbian and gay rights remained.
Goodbun noted that it had taken Queensland Labor 10 years to propose a law that recognised same-sex couples. While this a victory, he said, far more is needed to achieve real equality for lesbians and gays, and transgender people in particular, who are still given no protection under anti-discrimination legislation.
"While law reform has regained some momentum in this state", Goodbun said, homophobia remains prevalent. He cited a resurgence of bashings in Townsville, and attacks on the Queensland Aids Council offices and staff in the city.
The rally was followed by a lively march and a festival at Musgrave Park. The events are part of the month-long Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Festival, which will conclude on July 24. For more details on festival events, contact the Pride hotline on 0418 152 801.