Recently, Brisbane Pride Festival received a letter from the No Pride in Police Collective, Queer Liberation Front, Transgender Prisoner Solidarity Queensland, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, Jade Simpson – Ethereal Being Collective, Unite, and The Anticapitalists UQ.
In this letter, the following demands were made of the Brisbane Pride Festival Management Committee:
- To rescind our invitation to members of the Queensland Police Service to march in the Pride March on Saturday 17th September.
- To make Fair Day a free event
- To have a more transparent and diverse Brisbane Pride Festival Management Committee.
As a not-for-profit organisation, we strongly believe in honesty, openness, and transparency. As such, we felt it best to respond to these demands directly. As this collective of organisations has published their letter, we thought it prudent to publish our response.
Our response to these organisations is as follows.
Dear representatives of signatory organisations,
Thank you for your open letter to the Brisbane Pride Festival Management Committee.
We appreciate the time you have put in to expressing your opinions to us and we have carefully considered your thoughts.
In your letter, you outlined three main points that you have called upon the Brisbane Pride Festival Management Committee to action. These three points you have raised are:
- No police in pride – you ask us to prevent the Queensland Police Service from participating in the Brisbane Pride Festival.
- Free and accessible Pride for all – you ask that we make the Festival free.
- More transparent and diverse Pride Committee – you ask we take steps to ‘ensure’ non-white people are represented on the committee and that people seeking profit from the organisation be excluded due to conflicts of interest.
We respond directly to your points below:
- No police in Pride. Queensland Police Service members are humans, too. Many members of the Queensland Police Service identify as `LGBTIQA+ and its is not our place to deny how they choose to express themselves – whether that is with Pride in their uniform or as private citizens.The Management Committee believe in the power of inclusivity and its ability to break down barriers to understanding and empathy. The Queensland Police Service will be welcome to participate in Pride as working together is the best way to ensure progress is achieved.
- Free and accessible Pride for all. This is simply not possible with our current level of funding. Delivering a festival costs tens of thousands of dollars, plus thousands of unpaid hours by the Management Committee, our friends, our family and our fabulous volunteers. Brisbane Pride Festival is a not-for-profit, but this does not mean we can be “for loss.” These events must break-even or they will simply cease to exist – this is the financial reality we face.
- More transparent and diverse Pride committee. The Brisbane Pride Festival Association Management Committee abides by its Constitution and legislation governing associations.The Management Committee members are elected by members of Brisbane Pride Festival Incorporated at its Annual General Meetings (AGMs) each year. Any member is free to nominate for a position on the Committee. While the current committee is predominantly male and white, we work to ensure equal representation and accommodation of all facets of our community and all cultures. We encourage any and all to become members and run for a position on the Management Committee. All AGMs are public and the minutes of every meeting are available to any member upon request.
Brisbane Pride Festival is an umbrella organisation that is looked to as a representative group. This is inherently problematic and we acknowledge that not every decision the Management Committee makes can please all parties – but this will not stop us from trying our best.
In the spirit of inclusion in which we so strongly believe, we would like to offer you the following opportunities:
- Speak at the Rally – we offer a representative from your collective the opportunity to speak at the Brisbane Pride Festival Rally. This provides you with the chance to publicly air the issues that are important to you in front of the community gathered in pride and love.
- Join the March – we offer you the opportunity to lead the walkers in the Brisbane Pride Festival March. This again gives you the opportunity to publicly air your concerns, whilst participating in Pride.
In order to accept these opportunities, we will need a representative of your collective to contact us by COB on Thursday 15 September 2016. This is deadline is set so we can make the necessary preparations and inform key stakeholders of any changes.
Again, we thank you for your letter and welcome your feedback. We hope, beyond this letter, you will participate in the Brisbane Pride Festival Inc by becoming members and exercising your rights at our AGM scheduled for February 2017.
Happy Pride 2016.
Brisbane Pride Festival Association Management Committee