After filtering through numerous abusive emails from a member of our community last week, I sat in front of my PC, reconsidering my whole stance and views on the safety of my community.

All I want is not to hear that my brothers and sisters have been either bashed or verbally abused for just walking down the street, doing something that most of Australia takes for granted, like holding someone’s hand. Yes, I’m just a drag queen, as pointed out by many, but believe it or not it is a job I enjoy, and I have the courage to make a stand at the drop of a hat, with or without the dress.

With the vigil quickly approaching I had to seek advice from many of my close friends as to whether I should even take part in the event. I am trying to stop abuse, not cop it myself -“ and certainly not from members of my own community.

To be honest, I sat and ate myself stupid thinking. By about my third bowl of ice cream I decided if I don’t put myself out there and try to change what is happening, how can I ask anyone else to do the same? How can I ask others to stand up if, as soon as it starts to get difficult, I run away?

It’s so easy to write an abusive email to me -“ everyone has my email address. But how about channelling your energies in a direction that hopefully will change the terrible things that are happening in our community?

With my small clutch purse of courage I arrived at Harmony Park on Saturday underneath the blazing sun, not hiding behind my dress but putting myself out there and wearing it with pride.

Co-MC Steph Sands and I quickly ran through our run sheets, praying for a healthy turn-out, hoping not only gays and lesbians but also those who support us from the straight community would stand up and make themselves heard. Slowly and surely the park seemed to fill, and both our eyes started to well up with tears from the first performance by Shauna Jensen.

The speakers included the Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and I got into a little bit of trouble from the Lord Mayor -“ the petition that we have all been signing will be presented to Parliament, not Council as I said. I was told it’s at a State level we need to focus energies -“ this is why I could never work as a pollie.

President of ACON Adrian Lovney and Councillor Shayne Mallard both had the sea of supporters united. We had a small hiccup with one speaker but, although some of her views seemed to stray off the track (quite a lot), her passion was there.

There were performances by the amazing Courtney Act, solo to start with and then a tear-jerking duet with Shauna. Soon the mass of pink Aussie flags and whistles marched up to Taylor Square, while people held each other’s hands proudly. There was another tearful moment for Steph and me as we led the audience up Oxford St, and there were cheers and whistles as many onlookers stopped and asked what we were doing.

To everyone who turned up to the vigil, I thank you. It’s not just me, it’s not just Clover, it’s all of us who are going to make things change.

I’m glad I was a part of the amazing turn-out on Saturday in Harmony Park.

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