The colours of the rainbow will light up Brisbane again this year on Tuesday, May 17 to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The Brisbane Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer Action Group (BLAG) is hosting a series of events to commemorate IDAHOT, which remembers those who have died as a result of homophobia and transphobia.
Group events for the public will be held on both Sunday, May 15 and Tuesday, May 17 – the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.
While the iconic Story Bridge will be lit up for the third year in a row, for the first time the city’s other main bridge, Victoria Bridge, will also be lit in rainbow colours.
“The recent introduction of LED lights on Brisbane’s other main bridge … has made it possible to mark significant events there as well,” BLAG convenor Phil Browne said.
The Queensland Police Service has extended its involvement this year with an information stall at Queens Park and a rainbow flag will fly at its Roma Street headquarters.
This follows the formation of the QPS LGBTI Support Network in February, underlining its strengthening relationship with the LGBTI community.
Brisbane City Council has confirmed that City Hall will be decorated in rainbow lights and flags for one night but organisers are hopeful council will accede to their request to leave them in place for four days and nights to incorporate the weekend of the Queens Park event as well as the actual IDAHOT day the following Tuesday.
Last year three other Queensland councils flew the rainbow flag for the first time to commemorate IDAHOT – Somerset Council, Ipswich City Council and Townsville City Council.
A memorial ceremony, led by civil celebrant Gai Lemon, will be held in King George Square at 1.15pm on Sunday, May 15.
Mr Browne said that although homosexuality is now legal in Australia, prejudice and discrimination still exist.
“Extensive university research and ABS statistics confirm discrimination toward LGBTI Australians results in a range of worse health and social outcomes, including alarmingly high rates of mental health conditions and suicide,” he said.
“Disturbingly, these rates are highest among transgender people who often experience worse discrimination.
“For many this (IDAHOT) is a painful day as they will have lost LGBTI friends and/or partners to suicide. The memorial ceremony is designed to both remember and to assist to heal.”
SUNDAY, MAY 15:
11am – Queens Park, George St, Brisbane CBD (behind casino). Entertainment, information stalls, support services. FREE entry.
1pm – Walk as a group to nearby King George Square. Help carry the folded giant rainbow flag (loaned by Brisbane Pride Festival), from Queens Park to King George Square, where it will be used in the memorial ceremony.
1.15pm – King George Square memorial ceremony, led by civil celebrant Gai Lemon. View the rainbow flag flying from City Hall.
TUESDAY, MAY 17:
5.30pm – Group viewing of Story Bridge lit in rainbow lights; meet at Wilson Outlook Reserve, cnr Bowen Tce & Kent St New Farm.
5.50pm – Walk to Sydney St to ride the 6.30pm free CityHopper ferry beneath the Story Bridge (camera moment!) to Riverside, then walk to City Hall.
7pm – Group viewing of Brisbane City Hall lit in rainbow lights – King George Square, Anne/Adelaide Sts, Brisbane.
7.30pm – Walk as a group from City Hall to Victoria Bridge to view the rainbow lights.