Sunday, 20 September 2015

Brisbane Pride Rally and March

Yesterday was one of those amazing days that when you wake up in the morning, you pinch yourself and hope that all of the promises of the day are met, or even hopefully, exceeded.

All my hopes yesterday were met and exceeded.

It was deeply humbling and an honour to be able to address the rally, and along with the other speakers to be able to lead the parade.

The crowd cheered when I told them that my fiance Mitchell and I are to marry in October in Las Vegas.

In beautiful weather, thousands turned out for the largest Pride rally and march ever. It was truly a credit to Pride chair Peter Black and his committee. 

What was especially significant was who joined the march.

On the 25th anniversary of Pride marches, for the first time Queensland Police joined in in uniform, as did officers of Queensland Fire and Rescue and staff from Aurizon.

It was extraordinary to stand up before the crowd along with Police Commissioner Ian Stewart.  He told me that the Queensland Police Service reflected the community from which it came, so it was fair enough that proud officers were allowed to march in uniform.

Another speaker (and subsequent winner of Ms Pride) was the amazing Roz Dickson, who told the rally about the need for inclusion.

Many politicians came to support.

They included:

  • Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (ALP), who recited the achievements of previous Queensland Labor governments, and told the crowd that Labor had put a bill before the House to allow civil unions again.
  • Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (LNP), who said that his vision for Brisbane was an inclusive Brisbane, reflecting its remarkable diversity
  • Teresa Gambaro (Lib) and Terri Butler (ALP), two of the sponsors of the cross-party equal marriage bill 
  • Senator Claire Moore (ALP)
  • Grace Grace (ALP)
  • Councillor Vicki Howard (LNP)
  • Mayoral candidates Rod Harding (ALP) and Ben Pennings (Greens)
Here is the speech I delivered:

On this spot, guided by Captain Christmas, in 1849, in the land of the Turrbal people, a new band of people arrived. Not allowed to live over there, scorned by the Government under Captain Wickham, these migrants chose to set up camp here in this dale and chose to call it Fortitude Valley, after their vessel the SS Fortitude, which safely guided them across the world’s oceans to their new home.

These migrants knew the lessons of abandonment by government. They knew also of community and togetherness, of caring for each other and of striving for liberty, with enthusiasm, with determination, with courage and with fortitude.

They had a splendid sense of optimism, a keen sense of duty, and a high sense of citizenship. They did not give up. They endured. They thrived.

These lessons from history endure today.

In our community, abandoned at times by government, it is necessary for us, all of us, to stand up and be counted, with that splendid sense of optimism, that keen sense of duty and that high sense of citizenship to help other members of our community, to volunteer, and to agitate for change, for fairness, for equality.

Change, fairness and equality are for each one of us and for all of us.

Having equal rights is not having special rights, just having the same rights as everyone else.

Our relationships, our families, our community ought to be given the same recognition by society and by law as everyone else’s. Failure to do so is a failure to recognise equality in society, equality under law.

It is with great pride and honour to stand here before you behind Gilbert Baker’s creation recognizing our community, the magnificent rainbow flag with all its shades of colour. This flag represents our love of freedom, our diversity, our unity and our community.

Let us march today, proud of who we are as individuals, and proud of our community.

Dykes on Bikes, start your engines!

I address the crowd

Leading the Pride parade (l) to (r): my fiance Mitch, me, Councillor Vicki Howard, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Pride chair Peter Black, Teresa Gambaro MP, Terri Butler MP, the Hon. Jackie Trad, Grace Grace MP and Rod Harding

Nothing like a selfie!

With the other speakers

1 comment:

  1. I know how it must have felt like having the support of so many people who are coming from the same perspective in terms of their views on gender preference. The Brisbane Pride Rally and March bring closer together the people who were once afraid to come out in the open because there just wasn’t enough encouragement and acceptance.