At 8am on Saturday morning, rules surrounding public gatherings changed for Queensland residents, with the new government directions ruling out gatherings any larger than 10 in outdoor spaces. However, the new restrictions were not enough to rain on the first pride parade to be held on the Gold Coast.

We just had to be flexible and stay positive. It’s all about finding solutions instead of listening to those negative thoughts. We still made it happen.

We still did a mini parade through Cavill Mall, which makes us the first to parade through Surfers Paradise, and I believe we were the first to do a drag show on the beach as well,” Vince Sicilini, Director of Gold Coast Rainbow Communities, told Star Observer.

“The event went fantastically considering the new restrictionS which came into effect the day before. We had about 150 people turn up, and as far as the launch went, it went really well. 

“Everyone was grateful and just so happy someone was on the Gold Coast doing stuff for the Gold Coast LGBTQI community.”

 Over recent years, LGBTQI nightlife along the Glitter Strip has all but vanished, after longstanding watering holes The Meeting Place and Escape Bar both closed their doors. But despite this, Vince is keen to stress that the community is alive and kicking.

“We wanted people to know that there is a thriving community on the Gold Coast, and it is a strong one. Even though all our venues have closed, the community is still here.

“Eventually we are looking for a venue where we can invite people to come any time of the day, that’s our main goal.”

Vince continued our interview by reflecting on a particularly touching moment at Sunday night’s launch. A moment which, for him, really drove home the importance of events like those run by Gold Coast Rainbow Communities.

 “Community is so important. A lady came up to me at the launch saying thank you for putting this on, she was lonely and had only recently moved here. She had recently come out and had left the church behind, her sister shunned her and said she wanted nothing to do with her, so she needed someone, some connection and that’s why we do this.”

Looking forward Gold Coast Rainbow Communities have a number of events planned and will continue to provide the Gold Coast LGBTQI community with valuable support services.

“We are not just about parties. We also do community barbeques and things like outreach programs too. For December we have events planned, but we haven’t got the final go ahead from Council yet because they are waiting to see what the COVID situation is like as well. We will have also decided to have our big festival next year in May. Hopefully we will have relaxed restrictions by then.”

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