Brisbane Pride issues statement on this year’s Queens Ball Awards

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Image: Brisbane Pride Festival

The Brisbane Pride Festival committee congratulates all of the nominees and finalists for the 2022 Queens Ball Awards. Our annual awards recognise the many individuals and organisations whose efforts make our communities better places to live.

The awards now, as always, continually evolve to reflect the feedback of our ever advancing LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities.

The annual Queens Ball Awards began as costume prizes at the first ball on Mt Tamborine in 1962. They brought pride and joy into the lives of people forced into secret community celebrations in an isolated location.

The spirit of those costume prizes lives on in the fiercely contested Belle of the Ball award.

The community awards

In the 1980s, the annual ceremony began to incorporate community awards in addition to the costume prizes. Ball founder Dame Sybil von Thorndyke saw the need to recognise individuals and groups working both at the coal face of the AIDS crisis and on much needed law reform.

Over the years, the awards were tweaked in response to community feedback about changing circumstances and new community needs.

In recent decades, widespread internet usage allowed for full community participation in the nomination and voting process. Each year, the Brisbane Pride Festival committee invites the community to nominate individuals and organisations for various community awards.

Hundreds of nominations flow in annually. To facilitate a workable voting process and smooth awards ceremony, an independent panel then assesses the nominations and decides on finalists.

The panel assesses the finalists based on the number of nominations for the group or individual in their category and the quality of reasoning for each nomination.

Additionally, the panel considers how many times a nominated group or individual has won that category in previous years. Brisbane Pride then contacts finalists to ensure they agree to the nomination.

Community feedback

Every year, Brisbane Pride committee receives strong community feedback regarding the awards.

The committee welcomes and values the feedback and remains committed to listening, reflecting, and implementing that feedback, according to the capacity to deliver. Responding is crucial to ensuring the awards remain relevant to the needs of our ever evolving communities. The committee’s first priority is always ensuring representation for the many members of the LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities who deliver meaningful work for and with LGBTIQ+ people, families and communities.

In response to overwhelming community feedback following the 2021 Queens Ball, the committee reduced the number of finalists in each category. This enables a more manageable voting process, ensures all finalists can access tickets to the ceremony and also facilitates a smoother awards presentation.

For many years, the most consistent feedback regarding the awards ceremony is that it takes too long. Each year, the committee considers tweaks to ensure a more engaging and entertaining awards presentation.

2022 feedback

In 2022, Brisbane Pride committee has already received community feedback which will help improve future awards. The committee depends entirely on the work of volunteers so the capacity to deliver depends entirely on the availability of those volunteers. However, the committee can easily implement some recent feedback before the 2023 Queens Ball.

Over recent years, there has been some ambiguity relating to the Drag Queen and Performer of the Year categories with mostly the same entertainers nominated for both. In 2023, Brisbane Pride will ensure clear differentiation between the two categories.

The committee also received feedback that photos of finalists would be helpful. In future years the voting page will include photos of finalists who consent to the use of their image.

Brisbane Pride agrees with feedback that voters would be assisted by fuller biographies than currently provided for some finalists. In 2023, the committee will ensure the nomination process includes a greater emphasis on the value of details that will assist voters to make an informed choice.

Finally, feedback that two categories only have two finalists. Brisbane Pride contacts finalists to ensure they agree to their nomination. This year, two finalists chose not to participate for entirely legitimate personal reasons. Brisbane Pride respects their choice and thanks both for their community service.


Awards ceremonies are always contentious. The authors of last year’s 60th anniversary Queens Ball Book told Brisbane Pride that has been the case with the Queens Ball Awards since the first year there were too many attendees to ensure an award for each.

But Brisbane Pride remains committed to responding to community feedback and continually updating the awards to best represent the achievements of groups and individuals in our communities.

Brisbane Pride hopes this clarifies the process and we look forward to seeing you all at the 2022 Masquerade Queens Ball.

Most of all, we thank each and every nominee and finalist and wish all the finalists the best of luck in the voting, and we also thank you, the community, for your feedback.

In good community spirit,
The Brisbane Pride Committee

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