BRISBANE Pride Festival’s annual Fair Day returned last Saturday for its biggest year yet, complete with rallying cries right before the city’s largest LGBTI pride parade set off.

Led, as always, by the deafening thunder of the Dykes on Bikes, over 700 people rallied outside Fortitude Valley’s Empire Hotel before making the 1.7km journey to Fair Day’s new home at New Farm Park.

Brisbane Pride ambassador, Australian rock legend and Brisbane local Carol Lloyd had the crowd hanging on her every word with her iconic stage presence.

From the Empire Hotel balcony overlooking the assembled crowd below, Lloyd reflected on this year’s festival label-busting theme “Define Me: More than a Label”.

“We are the police that protect our kids and keep our streets safe. We are the doctors and health care workers that deliver our babies and keep us healthy,” Lloyd said.

“Blue collar, white collar, we are all the same for mine and we all have love and we all deserve respect for that love and our lives.

“This is our city. These are our streets. Let’s take to these streets with pride, let’s carry the banner high and tell the world we love our partners and we’re very proud of who we are.”

Brisbane Pride president Peter Black used an example from his own life as to why the issue of marriage equality – popular with the crowd – meant a lot to him.

“Today, my sister just happens to be getting married, unfortunately to a man, but I’m also very excited for her,” he said.

“But, to be honest, while I’m proud and excited it also makes me a little angry, angry that I am not able to be married, angry that full equality before the law seems tantalisingly close but still elusive for so many in our community.

“But I’m also hopeful because we have come so far, because as a community we support and look out for one another and because days like this give us so much to look forward to.”

Black said that all the work that had gone into making the day, and festival in general, successful had left him feeling proud.

“If I were to define myself today, more than anything else, I am proud. Proud of our community, proud of our diversity and proud of all the hard work that went into making this day possible,” he said.

Later, thousands attended Fair Day, which saw predicted rain hold off for the most part to make the day a success.

US singer and inspiration behind the festival’s label-defying theme, Ryan Amador, took to the stage to perform live, including his signature song, Define Me, only interrupted by a brief shower.

“You’re the first audience that’s stayed with me during rain,” Amador told the crowd.

Members and representatives from a range of political parties all converged on Fair Day for a bipartisan show of support for Brisbane’s LGBTI community.

The coveted Mr and Ms Pride titles was won by Jackson Scarrabelotti and Tegan Acton respectively, and the Brisbane Hustlers RUFC took out the inaugural Fair Day Tug-of-War competition.

(Main photo: Members of Brisbane’s LGBTI community march in the Pride rally, en route to Fair Day. Photo: Brendan Burke; Star Observer)

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