Training, but no raining on parade 

THE flagship Pride Parade returns this year after being Covid-cancelled in 2020, with a new location at Gloucester Park and a promise there’ll be less perfunctory corporate presence. 

The parade was traditionally held in Northbridge in Perth council’s domain, and the city nearly lost the hosting rights after many LGBTQIA+ folk objected to mayor Basil Zempilas’ radio remarks about trans people. He apologised and underwent training along with the rest of the council, and last month councillors endorsed a three-year LGBTQIA+ Plan to make the city a more welcoming place with upcoming trans ally awareness training for rangers and all-gender public bathrooms.

As a result the parade stayed in Perth council’s boundaries but shifted over to Gloucester Park to have more space in case stricter Covid restrictions had to be reinstated.

The organisers also took a firm stance requiring corporations contribute more to Pride and LBGTQI+ rights if they wanted their float in the parade this year. 

Equality fight

In recent years big corporates have fielded growing fleets of branded floats for just $500 entry fee, but in September Pride WA president Curtis Ward and vice president Gerry Matera penned an open letter to the WA business community saying it was time to put in more of a material contribution and up their fight for equality. 

They noted more than half of LGBTQIA+ people still hide their identity at work and called on companies to do more than token gestures in what is a “dangerous period of oblivious complacency”.

“We understand our high-profile festivities offer businesses exposure, affiliation value and community recognition, but this year we are asking our business and industry partners to back their involvement with extended financial support so that Pride WA can help deliver life-changing, community strengthening programs and support across WA – initiatives spanning three areas of impact: advocacy, education and support,” the letter said.

Some of those who’ve stepped up include Bankwest, BHP, and Woodside. Earlier this year Woodside lost naming rights to the Fringe Festival’s main Pleasure Garden hub after growing concerns from performers over the company’s environmental impact, but they still have funding ties to Fringe’s organising body ArtRage.

The Parade’s on November 27 opening from 4.30pm and it’s free but numbers are limited, so if it fills up there’s a livestream at Northbridge Piazza. 

by DAVID BELL

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