ONE of the world’s longest running LGBTI events lit the halls and main auditorium of Brisbane’s City Hall with the glitz and glamour of The Great Gatsby last weekend as Brisbane Pride Festival held its annual Queen’s Birthday Ball Awards.

Marking the 53rd year of the event, the awards that celebrate contributions to the Queensland LGBTI community by outstanding people and organisations, also revelled in a few firsts.

After close and unprecedented cooperation with Brisbane Pride, Brisbane Council offered to host the ceremony in the iconic City Hall’s main auditorium for the first time.

Along with having a large-scale drag performance (and naked magician), council also made history by contributing 40 per cent of the night’s operating expenses.

In yet another first — that quickly became a highlight of the night — the auditorium’s dome was lit in a rotating display of pride colours.

IN PHOTOS: Queen’s Birthday Ball at Brisbane City Hall

Sunday night saw members from all aspects of Brisbane’s LGBTI community along with health organisations, community groups and representatives from the country’s three major political parties gather to recognise significant community achievements.

From its humble and risqué beginnings from Mount Tambourine in the Gold Coast hinterland in 1961 — a time when homosexuality was not only illegal in Queensland but across the country — to now being held in the houses of government, the 2014 Queen’s Ball and Queensland’s wider LGBTI community marked a significantly symbolic moment in its history.

Considered one of the evening’s highlights, the awarding of the Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledges a considerable and long-standing commitment and contribution to the LGBTI community.

This year’s recipient, Brisbane independent radio 4ZZZ presenter Blair Martin, was celebrated for his decades of volunteer, media and fundraising work.

He was also honoured as a man who has never shied away from championing the community and holding the powerful to account.

“Tonight’s recipient of the lifetime achievement award, like so many others, is not a quiet person. A person who is not backward is coming forward and supporting the rights of our treasured community,” previous Brisbane Pride president Deeje Hancock said.

“Like so many quiet heroes and heroines within our community there is something that person is not good at being loud about, and that is their own achievements.”

Current president Peter Black praised the community support for the ball and also thanked the work done by the Pride board, along with the support of the Brisbane Council.

IN PHOTOS: Queen’s Birthday Ball at Brisbane City Hall

2014 QUEEN’S BALL AWARDS RECIPIENTS:

Activist of the Year: Phil Browne

Volunteer of the Year: Jaxxon Chilli

Artist of the Year: Damian Overton

Licensed Venue of the Year: The Sportsman Hotel

Media Personality of the Year: Ruth Gardner

Adult Venue of the Year: Number 29

Community Social Group of the Year: Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir

Young Achievement Award: Tasman Anderson

Regular Event of the Year: Cheated Hearts

Community Support Group of the Year: Open Doors

DJ of the Year: DJ Arsee

Annual Event of the Year: Big Gay Day

Performer of the Year: Julia Rose

Drag Performer of the Year: Mandy Moobs

Lifetime Achievement Award: Blair Martin

IN PHOTOS: Queen’s Birthday Ball at Brisbane City Hall

© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine November 21 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.