BRISBANE Pride Festival is in full swing following its gala launch last week that saw the unveiling of the highly-anticipated and thought-provoking festival campaign Define Me.

The festival, which has been on since August 29 and ends October 5, will see just over a month of cultural, artistic, political and sporting events encapsulating the talent and diversity of the Brisbane LGBTI community.

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“The festival is all about our community and its supporters, irrespective of whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex or queer, or as something else altogether,” Brisbane Pride president Peter Black said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Brisbane Pride Festival Gala Launch Night

“[The ‘Define Me? More Than A Label’] theme was chosen to empower Queensland’s LGBTI community to stand proud and counter the culture of labels that are placed upon them by others both inside and outside of our community.”

The brainchild of Pride board member Michael James, the theme aims to dispel the theory that sexuality is the only thing that define LGBTI community members.

“The theme… acknowledges that as a community we are often segregated by labels, sub-labels and cultures that we allow to define us,” Black said.

“The wider society, whether supporters or opponents, will label and judge us in any number of ways, often failing to see both the diversity and simplicity of existence.

“We hope that the theme…will make visible the concept of labels and encourage each person to take control of how they define themselves in a strong and bold manner.”

The festival will be represented by two ambassadors: Brisbane’s original “rock chick” Carol Lloyd and author, columnist and screenwriter Benjamin Law.

This year marks the continued pledging of support from Brisbane City Council, whose desire and passion to promote an inclusive city has seen council shrug off detractors of their financial and symbolic backing of the LGBTI community.

Along with the three-year funding deal arranged by council last year, the Queensland Attorney-General’s department has also awarded a grant of approximately $33,000 towards Brisbane Pride Festival and Fair Day.

“I think to be honest with you, that our position is very clear in wanting an inclusive Brisbane and my colleagues and I believe that it is the majority of people see our city,” Cr Vicki Howard told the Star Observer.

“We did receive a petition from people who were opposed to our funding of the BPF but the Council didn’t support that view and we decided to continue our plan to fund it for three years.

“We are very excited about being involved in that and seeing it grow – from a local councillor’s perspective – [my] area that includes Fortitude Valley and New Farm…seeing a growing sense of inclusion fits in perfectly with the values I want to promote.”

Apart from providing funding for Brisbane Pride and working to secure the iconic New Farm Park as a venue for the festival’s signature event, Fair Day, this year marks the first time council will advertise  and pay for  the festival on 50 of the city’s buses.

“Not only will these advertisements promote this fantastic community event, but it will also place the LGBTIQ community front of mind for Brisbane residents this September,” Howard said.

“Brisbane Pride volunteers, past and present, have made an enormous contribution to our local LGBTIQ community and this advertising will further recognise their efforts.

“Brisbane Pride 2014 being bigger and better than ever and I look forward to being involved.”

Credited as one of the main driving forces behind arranging the bus advertising, Central Brisbane state Coalition MP Robert Cavallucci was proud to have contributed to the effort.

“I had some discussion with the members of (Brisbane Pride) committee a while ago and they’d raised the potential idea about ads on buses,” he told the Star Observer.

“I asked for the support from [Chairman of the Public and Active Transport Committee] councillor Peter Matic for the initiative and he said it was a great idea.”

Cavallucci also praised the efforts of the overwhelmingly supportive council.

The entertainment lineup for this year’s Fair Day will include a special appearance by New York singer Ryan Amador, whose song of the same name inspired the festival’s Define Me campaign.

Amador will sing his signature song in a duet with local artist Lucinda Shaw along with others, hoping to introduce himself to an Australian audience.

“I am incredibly blessed and honored to perform at Brisbane Pride this year — and for the theme to be inspired by our little video just goes to show how a little drop of truth can ripple throughout a whole ocean,” Amador said.

“Pride this year is going to be the self-defined party we always dreamed we could attend.”

Local performers and community favourites that include Kristy Apps and the Shotgun Shirleys along with Youthfire, Aimee Francis, Nikolaine Martin and Blue Honey, Chocolate Strings and Rawr Vanity.

Fair Day perennial crowd favourites, the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir will also take to the main stage that was the home to their first performance 15 years ago.

For a complete list of events and details, visit www.brisbanepridefestival.com.au

Main image: Brisbane Pride board member Michael James, Brisbane Pride Vice-President Shaz Gerchow, Brisbane councillor Vicki Howard and campaign model, Kat Wright. (Photo: David Alexander; Star Observer)

PHOTO GALLERY: Brisbane Pride Festival Gala Launch Night

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