Proudly gay in St Kilda
St Kilda is arguably one of the most eclectic communities in Australia. Every race, creed and subculture of society is represented here. Summertime in particular, is a transient time of tourism, festivals and the celebration of the Australian lifestyle on the 26th of January.
I first made St Kilda my home 26 years ago and instantly recognized it as a place where I could be me; where I could be gay. It’s because of the progressive attitudes of the St Kilda locals, even back then in the 80’s, that I have felt safe and at home here.
Although I have enjoyed a lifestyle that is what I consider a basic human right, people in other parts of the world are not always so fortunate. In fact, in some cultures, people are persecuted just for being the wrong sex, let alone for issues of sexuality.
This is one of the reasons why people, gay, straight and otherwise come together in the streets of St Kilda to celebrate and participate in the Annual Pride March Victoria.
On the first Sunday of February, more than 5000 people, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and supporters will again fill Fitzroy Street with colour and movement, a sight which needs to be seen to be believed.
“Pride means something different to every person you ask, due to personal experience, age, location and social influences,” said Brett Hayhoe (President of Pride March Victoria).
“The reason I work the hours I do for ‘Pride’, both on a local level and internationally as Secretary of ‘InterPride’, is I believe that ‘Pride’ plays a vital role in keeping our community visible. Without visibility the chances of us losing the ground we have achieved socially and politically, are greatly increased. Each Pride event held around the world also sends a clear message to those who think we are second class citizens. That it is NOT ok. In essence, I believe ‘Pride’ makes a REAL DIFFERENCE. “
The march starts Sunday 5th February at 2pm precisely, from the corner of Lakeside and down Fitzroy Street to the Catani Gardens on St. Kilda’s beautiful foreshore where a carnival-type celebration continues well into the night.
My own personal experience of last year’s Pride March was to be part of an environment that does indeed induce pride. It was a chance to see old friends and to publicly thank members of our community that work tirelessly behind the scenes. The groups represented within the actual march are generally those of both honourable intention and community service, individuals that deserve recognition by not only the GLBT but the wider community.
Pride March Victoria is supported by the City of Port Phillip and highlights the diversity and inclusiveness of the council, locals and the area in general. Participants come from across Victoria, interstate and overseas to participate in this long standing celebration of culture (since 1994). Pride March Victoria is a member of the International Organisation of Pride Organisers (InterPride).
The official 2012 launch of Pride March Victoria is on 3rd January. To register your interest or for further information visit their website at www.pridemarch.com.au
By Steve Anderssen firstname.lastname@example.org