Midsumma Responds To Calls For 2025 Pride March Boycott

Midsumma Responds To Calls For 2025 Pride March Boycott
Image: Victoria Police at the Midsumma Pride march in 2021.

Midsumma said it was undertaking an external investigation into the disruption at this year’s Pride March when protestors clashed with the Victorian Police contingent marching in the parade

LGBTQI activist group No Police At Pride (NPP) had called for a boycott of next year’s Midsumma Pride march, saying they were disappointed with Midsumma organisers for “failing to protect the safety of the queer community”. 

In a statement provided to Star Observer, Midsumma said it expressed “profound distress over the disruption that occurred at this year’s Pride March on what was otherwise a wonderful event.”

Midsumma is undertaking a thorough external investigation of what occurred this year, and that, along with ongoing community and stakeholder consultations, will inform decisions regarding Pride March 2025,” Karen Bryant, Midsumma CEO said. 

Diverse Opinions And Views In The Community

In response to the boycott call over the presence of Victoria Police officers in uniform, Midsumma said it acknowledged the “complexity of issues” over groups who participate in community events like the Pride March. 

“We acknowledge that this complexity means there is often no singular solution to any given issue or query. We believe that engagement and open dialogue are essential components of affecting positive change, and we are committed to fostering an environment that encourages discussion and understanding while celebrating the diversity and resilience of our communities in a non-exclusionary way,” said Bryant. 

According to Midsumma, it recognised the diversity of opinions and views on the issue. It pointed to studies that said that more than half of LGBTQI Victorians were not out at work. 

Up to 50% of LGBTQIA+ Victorians say they still can’t be entirely out at work, and so for these employees, the relationship they have with employee Pride networks is vital to positive changes in work cultures for all LGBTQIA+ people. For many LGBTQIA+ employees, participating in Pride March with work colleagues is vitally important to them,” the statement said. 

No Police At Pride

Victoria Police and protestors clashed at the Midsumma Pride march on February 4, 2024. Images: Instagram/X

Earlier this month, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras barred members of the NSW Police Force from marching in the Mardi Gras parade in uniform. Midsumma has also faced demands to ban the participation of Victoria Police in uniform in the annual Midsumma Pride March. Violence erupted at the 2024 Melbourne’s Midsumma Pride march on February 4, when protesters confronted the Victoria Police contingent. 

No Police At Pride said it had provided Midsumma with a petition signed by over 1800 signatures (the signatories now stand at 2500) calling for the police not to be allowed to march in the parade. 

“Each year, we receive equal amounts of feedback both for and against the inclusion of police in Pride March – and each year we continue to assess and refine our approach to ensure Midsumma remains a platform for celebration, inclusivity, and community for all,” Midsumma CEO said. 

“Throughout the past number of years, Midsumma have been working closely with a range of community groups in relation to police involvement which has brought about a range of changes to the ways police engaged with Midsumma activities for 2022, 2023, and 2024. Positive change of course is always an ongoing process.”

Midsumma added that it did not condone “aspects of any policing culture, past or present,  that are contrary to our values”.

Midsumma acknowledges community concerns around police accountability (particularly surrounding Indigenous deaths in custody, police brutality, discriminatory behaviours against LGBTQIA+ communities, and dealings with the trans community), and does not condone any such aspects of policing culture. There is much work to be done to address these issues,” Bryant said, adding, “Balancing the very diverse views of our many communities is one of the greatest challenges Midsumma has.”

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