By Marjorie Blowers
The Sunshine Coast Pride Network recently celebrated their 11th anniversary with a Family Fun and Fair Day at Quota Park in Nambour on the 28th of April as part of this year’s Pride Festival.
The theme of the event “We are One Family”, symbolized the bringing together of our community, to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion.
For the first time ever the festival, usually hosted in February each year, had to be postponed due to ongoing heavy rain in the area making the venue resemble
a dam and not a park. Water sports were not on the agenda.
The new date was embraced by the community with over 500 people attending and travelling from Fraser Coast and Brisbane areas to join in on the fun in the sun! It was so exciting to provide a venue where our elders, people with disabilities and young people and families could come and have a great time.
Pride Festivals are important for our community, they give an opportunity for everyone to come together and celebrate our identity whilst also helping to provide a safe, inclusive and purposeful environment for the LGBTIQ+ community and a sense of belonging which we all strive for in society.
Attendees at the event loved the experience, with warm words of support from all who attended. “We feel so loved here! We feel we belong and have found our family.” Words which brought so much joy to all the people who help to bring this local event together every year.
Having events like these are vital for regional communities as access to social and wellbeing support services are limited.
Here on the Sunshine Coast there are no specific LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing services, so as a network it is important we work together to keep bringing these and other events to the coast.
We must also continue to work with mainstream organisations to ensure safe, respectful and inclusive places are available for the LGBTIQ+ community across the coast.
These events also enhance opportunities for more isolated residents to access community groups and services which they might not necessarily have known about.
Pride Festivals in the future deserve to be embedded in the local, regional and state calendars, increasing their visibility and inclusivity within the wider community.
We have the opportunity to write a leading chapter in the pages of diversity and inclusion for future generations, we are all one family, so let’s get writing and celebrate.
Marjorie Blowers is an organiser with the Sunshine Coast Pride Network.
(Photo by Leo Wiles)