2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Brisbane’s first Pride celebration, Brisbane Pride 1990. Ivan Nunn was there that day with his camera.
Ivan snapped unforgettable images of the day Brisbane’s LGBTIQ communities burst defiantly from their closets, never to return.
Back in June 1990, male homosexual sex acts remained illegal in Queensland. However, with the recent demise of Joh Bjelke-Petersen as Premier and the election of the Goss Labor Government, Brisbane’s LGBTIQ community felt on the cusp of momentous change.
Dykes on Bikes
That first Brisbane Pride came about thanks to the efforts of a group of activists known as the Lesbian and Gay Pride Collective.
With the collective committed to the equal participation of women, something of a novelty at the time, Dykes on Bikes led the first parade. Thirty years later, they still do.
That first Brisbane Pride event consisted of a rally and Gay Pride march through the streets of Brisbane.
Shayne Wilde who was involved in that first march, remembers the dramas with the cops assigned to the march.
Until just a year before, under the National Party Government, marches were something to be suppressed, violently if need be.
Now, the new government tasked the same police with keeping order and facilitating the march. However, the police took some years to adjust to the idea of cooperating with people they still regarded as miscreants.
Religious protestors heckled the marchers and threw not just insults, but also rocks. As the march moved onto Victoria Bridge, a man drove an old ute out from Grey Street and into the marchers. Activist Geoff Barrie jumped onto the bonnet of the car in an attempt to stop it. Then Carol Ferrier from the International Socialists kicked his headlights in. Fortunately, no one suffered any serious injury.
Ivan Nunn at Brisbane Pride 1990
Photographer Ivan Nunn was there that day documenting the rally and march. His photos capture both the determination of the Brisbane LGBTIQ communities of the time to achieve fair and equitable reform and the celebratory nature of the day.
Because this was a day many of us who lived under the Joh Bjelke-Petersen autocracy never imagined coming.
A glance through the images shows many familiar faces.
Toye de Wilde, Sister Mary Megamouth and Lance Leopard
Addressing the rally, Toye de Wilde, legendary showgirl and life-long activist who gave our communities some of their first social meeting places and helped facilitate the birth of our first community organisations.
There’s the amazing Sister Mary Megamouth, nun extraordinaire.
Hanging off the rail of Victoria Bridge, Lance Leopard. Lance first came to renown as a musician in the sensational local New Romantics band The Megamen. Later, he moved off to Sydney for a career as a professional stirrer and gossip columnist.
With 2020 the thirtieth anniversary of that first Brisbane Pride, plans are afoot to commemorate the event. QN Magazine looks forward to the commemoration. After all, our history belongs to us all, and we need to know it in order to both celebrate it and learn from it.
Check out more of Ivan’s photos of the very first Brisbane Pride at his Flickr page.
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