THE future of Brisbane Pride Festival has been secured for the next three years after Brisbane Council recently voted in favour of funding it,
The vote was made in response to two petitions regarding a decision made this year by council to provide $21,000 in funding to the festival for the next three years.
Brisbane residents opposed to the decision compiled the first petition, while the second was created by those who wanted to voice their support when news of the first surfaced.
Detractors took to social media, citing religious objection and calling the festival a “simulated orgy” when news of the funding was released in July.
Council’s civic cabinet approved entering into a funding agreement for the festival and at that time the petitions were received.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk had already advised the Brisbane Pride Festival Association that funding for the festival for the 2013-14 financial year had already been approved, with an optional two-year extension.
The vote, held during last week’s council meeting, to secure the funding passed unanimously.
LNP councillor Vicki Howard was one of the most vocal supporters of the festival.
“I was pleased to have been able to secure this longer-term funding certainty for the Pride Festival, the first time that council has entered into a formal agreement with the festival organisation,” she told the Star Observer.
“Festivals such as Pride are one way in which we are delivering on our vision for an inclusive community.”
Brisbane Pride Festival vice president Peter Black said the first petition and the negative reaction from some in the community didn’t come as a surprise.
“While it was disappointing there was a petition against the funding, it was not unexpected. There is still an element of homophobia from some people in the wider community,” he said.
“However, this really stems from a lack of understanding and education about the LGBTIQ community – something that we hope the festival will be able to help correct as we continue to expand over the coming years.
“This show of support is important and helps us get a positive message out to the wider community.”
Sources have told the Star Observer that the outcome of the vote was marred by reports that during the meeting, some LNP councillors laughed at a proposal for Brisbane’s Story Bridge to be lit up in rainbow colours during next year’s festival.
The bridge was recently lit with identical lighting during council’s Valley Fiesta festival held last week.