Image via QNews
The Brisbane Pride Festival happened a couple days ago to great fanfare.
While you would think all talk would be about the fact that Australia is currently in the middle of a popular vote to potentially legalize Marriage Equality, the real talk at Brisbane Pride was on its efforts towards diversity and unity.
One of the biggest acts that the pride event did towards that effort was to invite Queensland’s LGBTI First Nations community as the lead of this annual festival.
More than 3,000 attendees attended the event and witnessed something special and historic. First Nation Elders came to Brisbane Pride and participated in a flag exchange ceremony.
During the flag exchange, those elders exchanged the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags with the rainbow flag of the LBGTQ community in a symbolic gesture representing deep mutual respect.
Before the event, Rebecca Johnson of the IndigiLez Women’s Leadership and Support Group, said that this year’s Brisbane Pride would be a historic one.
“As the oldest continuing culture in the world, First Nations people will be recognized and respected by the Brisbane Pride Committee,” Johnson said.
“As a community we will be witnessing history, the start of a journey that embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocol and the development of meaningful relationships through a cultural lens.”
In addition, Deejee Hancock, the president of Brisbane Pride, announced how honored everyone was to be invited for the flag exchange.
“The exchange of flags is one of the highest honors between two cultures, symbolizing a commitment between them to honor and learn from each other with the common goal of inclusiveness, support and mutually shared values,” he said.
“The culture and traditions of the LGBTI community are unique and important to us, and the opportunity to both share and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and create a mutual protocol of respect is a unique opportunity for both cultures. We will be seeing history made and there is no greater reason to be proud.”
“I couldn’t be more honored on behalf of Brisbane Pride and the Brisbane rainbow community. I’m overwhelmed to be part of something so amazing and historical,” he said.
That said, while there was an acceptance and merging of cultures, there was still some conflict. A group of six anti-gay religious protestors walked at the front of the parade, but were drowned out by chants like, “love is love,” and “preach love, not hate.”