Melbourne played host to Midsumma’s annual Pride March today, which saw an estimated 45,000 people take to the streets to celebrate the LGBTI community.
More than 200 groups and organisations and an estimated 8,000 marchers took to Fitzroy Street in St Kilda before heading to Catani Gardens for post-Pride celebrations.
The Star Observer spoke with a handful of community leaders at Pride March and asked them a simple question: what does Pride mean to you?
Mark Nannup, Indigenous advocate
I’m proud of the support we get from within the Indigenous community. Support from our own people, and our own organisations. A lot of our elders are 100 per cent on board with LGBTI people, and that means the world to us.
Magda Szubanski, comedian and actor
The past year has been extraordinary, and it’s the culmination of so many people’s work: both LGBTI people just being who we are, as well as the support of amazing straight allies. I think of Natasha Stott Despoja who was the first person to out a bill to parliament in 2006.
Every year Pride means something different, which is why it’s great to keep celebrating, because there’s always a new evolution, and it’s great to be here with the peeps… so hot though!
Dolly Diamond, entertainer
I’m most proud that we all stood up for ourselves over the past year. When we were needed we all banded together and voted. I’m also really proud that it wasn’t all about the LGBTI community, it was about everyone we knew. It felt like a whole generational shift. We fought a good fight for marriage equality, and now we’re just celebrating Pride.
Janet Rice, Greens Senator
We’re so supportive of each other, and particularly on this Pride March, we can be so proud of what we achieved in the past year. It was a bloody horrendous journey that we were put on by the government, but we got through it, we were resilient, and we achieved marriage equality. And not only that, because we really set ourselves on a strong, firm path to ending all other forms of discrimination against LGBTI people.
Mama Alto, artist and performer
Pride is about empowerment, resilience, community, and survival. Pride is about the victories of equality and diversity so far, but also about facing the challenges to come. Pride is about never letting ourselves be destroyed by hatred, intolerance, bigotry and fear.
Ro Allen, Victoria’s gender and sexuality commissioner
Today, I’m proud that everyone has come out in 39 degree weather to celebrate their gender identity and sexuality, nothing can stop us. I’m pretty proud of that.
Anna Brown, Co-Chair of the Equality Campaign
I’m here with the Equality Campaign, so it’s really about looking back and thinking, what a year 2017 was. We’re saying thank you to everyone who campaigned and helped us achieve that incredible result at the end of last year. The heat’s pretty oppressive, but this is about saying we did it, and thank you to everyone that supported one another through the postal survey.
Angie Greene, Stand Up Events
Everything. I think the history, and the resilience that the non-hetero and gender non-diverse community has shown since the beginning of time is extraordinary, especially given what Australia has put the community through. To be here today, after we’ve achieved marriage equality, is so exciting. Marriage equality is a great and positive step forward to creating genuine equality and inclusion, and it’s just the beginning.
Zodiac (Zac Widders), drag performer
I think our resilience. Being Aboriginal takes a lot of resilience to exist in white Australia, and then being queer in a cis heteronormative society requires that too. That’s what I really admire about both of our communities: we push on, fight on, and keep on going.