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  • Writer's pictureKate Stark

Reclaiming space


Entering the reign of equality

IT starts with one - a quiet murmur, barely audible.

A slow trickle, like a creek, dragging it’s liquid limbs toward the river, toward the ocean, to create a roaring wave of bodies; a throng fighting for justice, begging for equality.

This September, more than 10,000 LGBQTIQA+ will make their way to Brisbane Pride Festival events being held across the capital - activating their communities and reclaiming space.

One of the most anticipated events of 2017 Pride is the Rally and March, kicking off at 9.30am on September 23 Brunswick Street, between Maclachlan and Ann Streets.

There will be a myriad of free events held post-march including in West End where the People’s Pride Protest Party is set to shut down the block from the corner of Boundary and Russell Streets down to Browning Street.

Local legend Adam Sharah said he was excited to MC the event and is encouraging everyone, label aside, to come along, celebrate and raise your voice in peaceful protest.

The 46-year-old self professed ‘Aboriginal queer man’ has spent the better part of his life fighting for LGBQTIQA+ rights alongside friends and allies.

“We need to find a space where we feel safe and included and not marginalised and also people of colour aren’t objectified,” he said, adding pride needed to be a space to, “engage and hold space without retriggering our trauma.”

Made homeless after coming out at the age of 13, Adam said the ‘gay-stream’ scene which was once a sanctuary for many, has now become corporatised and politicised to the detriment of the marginalised.

“A lot of us older queers - we lost our families, our communities, our education and we lost our futures. Just by being ourselves.

“We went to these inner-city havens with the rest of the gypsy scum (which I proudly identify as) to find a place and it was there, back in the 80s, but as the queer scene was appropriated and occupied by political parties and corporatised [specifically mardi gras and pride] a lot of those constructs were installed and I no longer related.

“If we want to deconstruct this, we really have to own the way in which we are oppressing our own by adopting these constructs.”

Adam encourages everyone, whether you identify as part of the LGBQTIQA+ community, are an ally or simply want to support a grassroots movement, to attend the protest in West End on the 23rd.

“Bring your people, bring your office workers, bring your families to the parade on Russell Street. We’ll be here from midday until late and, if you feel we’re not the right space for you, then support pride.

“I’m all about going where you feel you can best support the LGBQTIQA+ community - because we really need it right now.”

Adam said it was also the perfect time to simply take a moment and “check in” on your queer friends.

“Check in...without discussing politics. Cook them a meal, sit down with them ...because we’re all really triggered right now.”

Volunteers will be onsite from lunchtime at the Russell Street block with funds raised from the People’s Pride Protest Party to be administered via Black Rainbow Australia.

“They are a suicide prevention advocacy space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health.

“Our young queers are struggling on country, they suffer from abject poverty so those funds will be going to prepaid mobile cards so they can call organisations when they’re in trauma.”

Adam said, no matter what you choose to do on September 23, he hoped everyone felt free to be themselves.

“I would like people to come along and feel free to express themselves - Explore who you are, no matter how you identify.

“Dress up, become part of the community which is broader than just people who identify as ‘queer’.

“Come and enjoy it and support the local businesses who are supporting us like The Burrow.”

For more information, visit @PeoplesPrideProtestParty and, to donate, head to @BlackRainbowAustralia

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