Queensland’s LGBTI First Nations community will lead the annual Brisbane Pride Festival rally and march procession for the first time tomorrow.

More than 3,000 attendees will also witness another historic first, with traditional elders inviting Brisbane Pride to take part in a flag exchange ceremony set to take place during the rally.

The flag exchange will see local First Nations elders exchanging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags with the rainbow flag of the LBGTI community in a symbolic gesture representing deep mutual respect.

Rebecca Johnson of the IndigiLez Women’s Leadership and Support Group said the community gathered would be witnessing history.

“As the oldest continuing culture in the world, First Nations people will be recognised and respected by the Brisbane Pride Committee,” Johnson said.

“As a community we will be witnessing history, the start of a journey that embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocol and the development of meaningful relationships through a cultural lens.”

President of Brisbane Pride, Deeje Hancock, said it is an immense honour for the Brisbane LGBTI community and Brisbane Pride to be invited to participate in the flag exchange.

“The exchange of flags is one of the highest honours between two cultures, symbolising a commitment between them to honour and learn from each other with the common goal of inclusiveness, support and mutually shared values,” he said.

“The culture and traditions of the LGBTI community are unique and important to us, and the opportunity to both share and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and create a mutual protocol of respect is a unique opportunity for both cultures. We will be seeing history made and there is no greater reason to be proud.”

Hancock said being involved in the flag exchange ceremony would be an honour.

“I couldn’t be more honoured on behalf of Brisbane Pride and the Brisbane rainbow community. I’m overwhelmed to be part of something so amazing and historical,” he said.

This year’s Brisbane Pride rally and march are set to draw the largest crowds in its history.

Hancock said more than 600 Queensland Public Service staff would be marching, a record number.

The Brisbane Pride Festival rally and march will commence from 9:30 am on Saturday September 23 on Brunswick Street, between Ann and McLachlan Streets, in Fortitude Valley.

They will be followed by a fair day in New Farm Park, with gates opening from 10:30 am and plenty of entertainment on offer through the day.

The rally and march are free to attend, and tickets for the fair day are available online.

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