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Celebrating LGBTI PRIDE

The Pride March and the Feast Festival

On Saturday November 11th Adelaide's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex pride marchcommunity and their allies will take part in a PRIDE March, through the streets of Adelaide. The PRIDE March signals the commencement of the FEAST Festival, Adelaide's queer arts and cultural festival. Both the PRIDE March and the FEAST Festival provide an opportunity for Adelaide's LGBTI community (and their allies) to come together and celebrate their diversity, love, strength and solidarity.

History in South Australia

In South Australia it was in the 1970's that the so called Gay Liberation movement commenced. In 1973 Gay Pride Week was the first public celebration of its kind held in Adelaide and the "Proud Parade" was held on Saturday September 15th 1973. This was organised by the Gay Activists Alliance, which was formed in May 1973. The group published a magazine for the community which was called Boiled Sweets. The next Pride March wasn't held until 2003 as part of Adelaide's FEAST Queer Cultural Festival.

Mardi Gras Parade Sydney

In Sydney the iconic Mardi Gras Parade is one of Australia's largest and well known events attracting people from around the world to watch the parade and join in the Festival that takes place over the preceding weeks. The first event, organised by the Gay Solidarity Group, took the form of a protest march and took place on Saturday June 24th, 1978. The event was Sydney's contribution to the International Gay Solidarity Celebrations. Several hundred protesters followed a truck with a small sound system through the streets of Sydney to Hyde Park, where police arrested the driver of the truck. This then led to further arrests and 53 men and women were taken into custody. Many of the men were beaten in police cells.

In March 2016, in the NSW Parliament, Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith made an official apology to the men and women who were arrested and bashed in Sydney during the protest march. He is quoted as saying "On behalf of the NSW Government we are sorry for the way the Mardi Gras was first policed on the first occasion in 1978". He went on to acknowledge the pain and hurt that police actions caused at that event.

Celebrating Community

Both the PRIDE March in Adelaide and the Mardi Gras in Sydney have evolved from their beginnings as demonstrations or protest marches. They offer an opportunity for the LGBTI communities & their allies to come together to celebrate, to unite and to acknowledge their diversity. Many mainstream organisations and businesses take part alongside the diversity of LGBTI community groups and organisations to demonstrate their public support for a society which is inclusive of all people regardless of their gender or sexuality.

Older LGBTI People

Older LGBTI people have lived through a period in Australia's history when they experienced discrimination, stigma, criminalisation, rejection from family and social isolation. Through this history LGBTI people and in particular older LGBTI people have a history of tackling prejudices, advocating for changes to the law, setting up social groups to find connection & building community and the circumstances they faced.

In spite of the many barriers to equality LGBTIQ people have demonstrated resilience and determination to tackle homophobia in all of its forms.

The LGBTIQ People Ageing Well Project

Through the LGBTIQ People Ageing Well Project COTA SA is hearing from older LGBTIQ people about what matters to them as they age. Some of the people who have been speaking with the Project recall the days of the so called gay liberation movement. And whilst they celebrate the progress in recognising LGBTI people and their human rights they also want younger people in the LGBTI community and indeed the wider community to remember that for their struggles to not be in vain then there needs to be a continued focus on ensuring that all LGBTI people continue to be able to lead the best life possible for themselves. For older LGBTI people this means having opportunities for staying connected, to be open about their sexuality or gender with service providers should they need to access services, for the LGBTI community to continue running social & recreational groups and for there to be a range of options for housing as they age.

As COTA SA embraces the diversity of our modern ageing, the organisation looks forward to standing alongside older LGBTI people as we come to understand and act on the things that matter most to them.

For more information

For further information about the Project, Desmond can be contacted by email: dford@cotasa.org.au or mobile: 0409 280 459. Or check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lgbtiqpeopleageingwell/