By Tom Flanagan
Brisbane will be the scene of much discussion and celebration by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and generally queer and pro-queer people from all over Australia in the early weeks of July.
The fourth Queer Collaborations conference will be held in Brisbane July 2-9. The annual gathering for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students has been timed to link up with Brisbane's Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival, which starts on June 24 and ends on July 2, and the Lesbian Festival running from July 9 to 17.
In 1993 the Queer Collaborations conference was held at Sydney University over three days and attracted more than 300 participants. This year the eight-day agenda includes a Saturday night cabaret, a Sunday tour of queer Brisbane and three days of conference plenaries and workshops, made up of one day on each of three Brisbane campuses.
Workshops will investigate themes relating to diversity, activism, work, families, symbolism and queer studies. Registration is free. Conference organisers can be contacted at Queersland Collaborations, PO Box 511 Bulimba, Queensland 4171. Fax (07) 377 2220. Phone inquiries can be directed to Wayne at (07) 870 3156.
Highlights of the Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival include a cabaret on June 25 and a rally, march and fair on July 2. The events are organised by a group of lesbians and gay men who believe it is important to create events that don't centre on bars and parties run for individual profit.
The Pride Festival is a time for lesbians and gay men to come together and celebrate their lifestyles. "It's about politics, it's about fun ... it's about changing attitudes." "It is also a chance to express our differences and challenge homophobia — in our own spaces and on the streets — on our terms", explains the purple leaflet publicising the festival.
A National Lesbian Conference will be held at the University of Queensland from July 15 to 17, and so will coincide with the Lesbian Festival running from July 9 to 17. The conference aims to reflect the diversity of lesbians and their lifestyles, and to celebrate "commonalities, communalities and cultures".
Conference activities will include workshops, talking circles and playshops (involving activities such as acting, dancing, sports and craft). The Lesbian Confest Coordination Group can be contacted at PO Box 211, Red Hill Qld 4059, or phone Helen, (07) 343 4230.