The first ever Footscray Pride March was held on Saturday February 22 and saw 400 community members transform Barkly Street, Footscray into a sea of rainbows and pride.
Organised by Bulldog Pride – the LGBTIQA+ group for the Western Bulldogs Football Club – the event marked the third AFLW Pride Match between Carlton & Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval.
Amy Fabry-Jenkins, Bulldog Pride President, noted in a recent press release:
“This is the first time we’ve ever done this and I never dreamed we would get such a positive response. My heart is full and I think many LGBTIQ westsiders feel the same.”
“Today I’ve met queer people seeking asylum and trans teenagers at their first ever Pride March, this has been a truly special day for our community.”
Marchers walked from the Nicholson Street Mall to the Whitten Oval in Footscray, led by the Dykes on Bikes and Bulldog Pride members. They were joined in celebration by local bars, Councillors from Maribyrnong Council, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and local football clubs.
Drag Performers representing the Pride of Our Footscray Community Bar entertained bystanders and added to the pageantry of colour. As the marchers entered Whitten Oval, they were welcomed by a Snuff Puppet from the Footscray Drill Hall waving a rainbow flag.
The Footscray community’s response was overwhelmingly positive. Outdoor seating in many local pubs were packed with crowds cheering on the march as it moved down Barkly Street.
Even those caught in the slight traffic delay seemed largely unbothered, with many of them joining in the fun and honking their horns in time with the Bulldog chants from the crowd.
Wil Stracke, Bulldog Pride Treasurer, was overwhelmed by the positive reception from the community. “When I moved to the inner-west twenty-five years ago, I could have never imagined that one day we would take over the streets for a Pride March. The idea of a Pride March in Footscray sounded terrifying to me at first, and today shows how far we’ve come.”
With the success of their inaugural event this year, the organisers have expressed their desire to run another march next year coinciding with the 2021 AFLW Pride Match.