We are of course part way through the Brisbane Pride Festival – which this year is themed “We Are Family”. The Brisbane LGBT community has never been so spoilt for choice of events to attend. As this edition goes to print, we are on the brink of one of the biggest Pride Rally and Fair Day events the LGBTI community has ever seen, bringing with it the celebration of who we are.

The We are Family theme holds hold extra significance for LGBTI Queenslanders this year. In particular, Healthy Communities would like to thank the Brisbane Pride Committee for nominating Healthy Communities as the inaugural recipient of the Kal Collins Memorial Fund, which will allow Healthy Communities to continue it services to our community. In addition, we have just seen the Cairns Tropical Pride earlier in the month, with a range of events – including a pool party and Pride Fair Day bringing the community together to celebrate our strength and diversity

On the flipside however, the infamous Grim Reaper – and associated imagery of fear, ignorance and hatred of gay men and people living with HIV – has returned to Queensland TV via the Health Minister. The advert, aired on September 9, aims to reinvigorate discussion about HIV, but unfortunately gives the viewer no new information. Unfortunately there is no nothing about HIV testing, or treatment options available for people living with HIV. This is particularly alarming.

Amid all of this, Healthy Communities, which has recently been defunded for its work with gay men and other men who have sex with men – strives to remind our community that we are staying open. A range of other services available to our community are continuing through Healthy Communities including our Indigenous Project, 1:1 counselling and group work, an LGBTI Seniors Project, LGBTI awareness training, and our newly created Multicultural Project.

In this environment of mixed messages, and mixed emotions for our community, it is important for all of us to remember to huge steps we have taken so far to obtain equality, but we should not take these gains for granted. So this month LGBTI Queenslanders will have even more reason to celebrate who we are.

Michael Scott is the manager of Queensland Association for Healthy Communities’ 2 Spirits program.

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