Brisbane Pride Festival started in 1990 as a means of organising and promoting public events and activities that contribute to queer culture. The first event was held as a Rally and March through the streets of Brisbane, ending with a small gathering at Musgrave Park, South Brisbane. This day has now grown to encompass a Parade through the city streets and a huge Fair Day.
For 13 years the Festival was run by a collective and in 2002 was Incorporated. Pride is now the state’s largest and the country’s third largest Gay and Lesbian event, attracting more than 10 000 Festival-goers over a four week period in the clear and sunny spring month of September each year, when we have been since 2011.
The Festival is a celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender culture through the arts, sporting, community and political events. The Pride Festival aims to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Brisbane together. In the process, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community unites – and through the media, advertising and public visibility, their profile within the wider community grows.
Pride Fair Day is the main event with more than 5,000 attending. The Festival is an inclusive, community-based celebration run by Brisbane Pride Inc, a non-profit organisation operated by a voluntary board /working committee, assisted by a trusty band of volunteers.
History of the Pride flag
The rainbow flag is an instantly recognisable symbol of Gay and Lesbian pride around the world. Back in 1978 Gilbert Baker, an American ex-G.I. who liked to sew was approached to make something that would stand out for the San Francisco Pride March. The rainbow immediately came to mind. “It’s in the sky,’ he explains, “and there’s the colours and diversity and the spectrum. It really was quite logical.”
Baker’s original flag was eight strips but a supplier could not supply pink so the flag became 7 stripes. After the march, Baker decided to cut the colours back to 6 because it was more symmetrical. The flag continued to grow in popularity, dominating the 1994 Stonewall riots anniversary with the unfurling of a Rainbow Flag 1 mile long through the streets of New York.
The Rainbow Flag turned 25 in 2003 and Gilbert Baker created a rainbow flag in the original 8 colours for Key West Pride Celebrations. This flag was 1 1/2 miles long and after the parade was cut into 150 pieces and sent to cities around the world.
Brisbane Pride Festival is very proud to be the only organisation in Australia to receive a piece of this flag.
Every year the Brisbane Pride march through the city streets is led by community members carrying what is probably the biggest rainbow flag in Australia.