Bake sale in Brisbane raises funds to support queer men in Chechnya

Bake sale in Brisbane raises funds to support queer men in Chechnya
Image: IDAHOBIT 2017 in Brisbane.

BRISBANE’S LGBTI community turned out on Sunday to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

The day began at Queens Park, with music by local performers and the Brisbane Pride Choir. Groups including the University of Queensland Union, Diverse Voices, Queensland AIDS Council and the LGBTI Legal Service held stalls.

Brisbane Pride announced its Kal Collins Memorial Fund grants program has opened, with up to $2,000 available for projects supporting LGBTI mental health and wellbeing.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights held a bake sale to raise funds for work in support of gay and bi men in Chechnya.

In the early afternoon, the crowd marched to King George Square, carrying a massive rainbow flag on loan from Brisbane Pride Festival.

Phil Browne from the Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group read a poem about LGBTI oppression, “The Perversion of Silence” by African American poet Pat Parker.

“I acknowledge many of us have been alienated, rejected and deeply hurt,” said Browne, before asking the crowd to “keep an open mind” to encountering allies in unexpected places.

Reverend Sue Wilton from St John’s Cathedral on Ann Street spoke about LGBTI inclusivity, saying the church had been celebrating IDAHOT all week, with the rainbow flag and trans flag displayed in the chapel.

“We hope this isn’t just a week,” said Reverend Wilton, describing the church as a “safe and welcoming space” for the LGBTI community.

She spoke against anti-LGBTI violence, including that perpetrated in the name of religion, before reading an IDAHOT prayer.

The giant rainbow flag was held up by the crowd as a minute silence was held for victims of homophobic and transphobic violence.

“Love and support and nurture each other,” said Browne at the conclusion of the day. “We are a family.”

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