Parties with purpose and why Pride is as important as ever
23 January 2023 at 5:05 pm
As Midsumma Festival kicks off in Victoria, Nevena Spirovska reflects on the important part that parties play in the Pride movement.
As the summer rolls on, the number of Pride parties, festivals, and other events celebrating LGBTIQA+ culture grow in numbers. In Victoria, this includes the Midsumma Festival, a celebration of Queer art and culture that also includes the state’s Pride March and the recently re-announced Pride Street Party, an enormous and extravagant street party held in Melbourne’s north.
Additionally, Midsumma Carnival Day provides an opportunity for organisations of all sorts, from LGBTIQA+ community to social services, to have the opportunity to speak with and connect with members of the LGBTIQA+ community and their allies.
In February, World Pride will be arriving in the southern hemisphere for the very first time as Sydney plays host to LGBTIQA+ community members across the globe. One of the stand out events will be the largest convergence of human rights defenders, community members, government and political representatives, philanthropists, and corporate leaders committed to LGBTQIA+ rights ever held in the Asia Pacific region as part of its three-day Human Rights Conference. The Northern Territory throws the FABalice Festival in Alice Springs, on Mparntwe Country in March, bringing together a rainbow festival in the heart of the country.
It is still so important for LGBTIQA+ people to be able to celebrate their communities in safe, culturally inclusive, and affirming environments, which is why queer events and celebrations play such a critical role in facilitating this. Pride events not only give attendees the opportunity to connect with one another, but they also provide an opportunity for allies to demonstrate their solidarity by attending and engaging with the purpose and meaning of these events.
Some more conservative commentators continue to question the need for ongoing and public displays of LGBTIQA+ affirmation, overlooking the point entirely. Pride is the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of LGBTIQA+ people. Pride is the outlook that bolsters the movement for equity, human rights, and social justice. In these spaces, we can take pride in what we’ve accomplished over the last few decades and plan for a more inclusive movement for change in the future.
Participating in Pride events can help allies and allied organisations better understand their mission and ongoing need. Beyond the rainbow flags, dazzling displays, and fabulous floats, Pride events remind us that even when bigoted attitudes exist, change is possible. They allow us to raise awareness about homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic legislation that needs to be reformed. Pride events incorporate human rights and empowering LGBTIQA+ communities to protest injustice and issues affecting other communities.
When conservative commentators go to great lengths to marginalise and stigmatise the ways we live, the people we love, and rainbow families, visibility and solidarity become even more necessary. They are not only inspiring celebrations of difference, but also a declaration of intent, as they combat shame and social stigma while sometimes marching in the face of threats and violence. They help to change hearts and minds, especially in towns or regional centres with smaller LGBTIQA+ communities. Importantly research tells us that roughly three-quarters of LGBTIQA+ adults believe Pride events help make society at least a little more accepting of the LGBTIQA+ population.
Participating in a local Pride march, festival, or party is a next step for many social service organisations in promoting support and being active members of their communities. Local regional LGBTIQA+ groups put in tremendous effort each year to organise these festivities, often on a volunteer basis, and support is essential to ensuring they can continue operating.
The celebrations of Pride will continue to be parties with a purpose, with a healthy dose of happiness, love, affirmation, and eco-friendly glitter thrown in for good measure.
A state-by-state list of Pride events, festivals, and parties can be found here.