Wynnum Fringe Festival organisers have defended their upcoming Bay Pride celebrations, following plans by local residents to sabotage and protest the events.
The annual entertainment festival held in Brisbane’s coastal suburb is set to begin next week, November 15. Their schedule includes the first Bay Pride event, which is a part of a week long Pride celebration.
Since announcing the LGBTQIA+ inclusive events, some local residents have called for the event to be cancelled and are planning to stage a protest on the day.
The bayside residents have also allegedly contacted sponsors, requesting they withdraw from supporting the event.
“It’s a really dated approach”
Organisers have been disheartened by the attempts from some of the local community, but are not planning to back down from holding the inclusive event, reports Quest Newspapers.
Wynnum Fringe Festival Director Tom Oliver spoke to concerned locals during a “town hall” meeting. He reassured the event’s “family-friendly” status, after residents claimed they were organising a “sexualised mardi gras event in a space for children.”
Following the meeting, Oliver said, “It’s frustrating in 2023 that we are still having this conversation.”
“It’s a really dated approach … I’ve asked them to give Bay Pride a chance before dismissing it but they just don’t want to let it go,” he continued.
Wynnum Fringe has held multiple LGBTQIA+ events in the past, including drag shows at Pandanus Beach in 2020 and 2021, but has never had issues reported from locals.
“We have so many LGBTQIA+ couples and families in the bayside and Brisbane (that) the bayside deserves a pride event,” said Oliver.
“To honour the past and look to the future, to celebrate love, kindness and every colour of the rainbow.
“It’s just about showing pride in who you are.”
“We have huge support for this event from the majority of the community already,” he explained.
Local councillors and political members have also publicly supported the Pride Events.
“Do not stand for this bullying”
State Labor Member for Lytton Joan Pease expressed her disappointment in the efforts to shut down the march, posting to Facebook last week following the complaints.
“I am shocked and saddened to hear that certain LNP members are actively trying to shut down [Wynnum Fringe] and certain events within the Fringe,” said Pease.
Describing the event’s significance, helping inclusivity and diversity thrive within the community, Pease says they plan to continue supporting organisers by writing to residents.
“Homophobic and transphobic beliefs are not representative of our kind, caring and inclusive community,” said Pease.
“Do not stand for this bullying, out of step mentality”
This year is the fourth year the Wynnum Fringe Festival has run, and the first time there will hold a large scale Pride event, including a march, market stalls and free entertainment.
Wynnum Fringe Festival will run from November 15 till December 3.
Their second week of events are “Pride” themed, with Bay Pride scheduled on November 26.