LGBTI fire fighters and other Country Fire Authority (CFA) members will march in uniform for the first time at next year’s Victorian Pride March.

The CFA will join a growing list of uniformed police and emergency services workers participating in the event, with contingents from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the State Emergency Service marching in previous years.

Gay volunteer fire fighter Russell Wright said participating in the march demonstrated the organisation’s commitment to supporting LGBTI people within its ranks.

“Participating in the Pride March shows how diverse CFA actually is, with so many people coming from all walks of life, as well as how far the organisation has come,” he said.

“Some people have the impression that the CFA is just for ‘blokes’ and this is simply not the case.”

Wright is also involved in the CFA’s new LGBTI support and social group, CFA Pride, which was instrumental in driving the organisation’s involvement in Pride March.

The CFA’s Gippsland Regional Director Mark Potter praised the work of CFA Pride, and acknowledged the significance of members marching in uniform.

“CFA’s diverse membership makes us stronger as an organisation,” he said.

“The CFA Pride group is a great grassroots initiative that has my full support — as does any initiative that promotes inclusion in our emergency services.”

Pride March organisers have welcomed the CFA’s involvement.

The march will take place on February 1, 2015 along Fitzroy St in St Kilda as part of Melbourne’s Midsumma LGBTI cultural festival.

While the march has long been seen as Midsumma’s unofficial closing event, following ongoing financial troubles Pride March Victoria announced in May the organisation would be dissolved, and Pride March would become an official Midsumma event.

A commitment to hold a Pride March each year as part of the festival was written into Midsumma’s constitution.

 

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