I have attended this event since 2010, when I won the volunteer of the year award, and I love the chance to get dressed up, hang with my mates, dance, drink, dine and have an awesome night. I also love to see the people who have done wonderful things in the community in the previous year, social and support groups, volunteers, activists, events and venues, allies and the recipient of the lifetime achievement award.
This got me thinking about the things and the ways we celebrate in our lives, birth (then the same day every year), anniversaries of relationships starting and commitments made within those relationships (engagements, ceremonies etc.), culminating in death and a celebration of the person’s life. In many cultures other points along the life journey are also celebrated, menses, manhood, puberty, whatever is important in that society. There are also special cultural celebration days for celebrating nature and the changing of the season, special events of the past and for those who are in a minority culture in a more dominant one there are days to celebrate their ethnicity and place of origin.
When it comes to diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity or bodies, for people who identify as LGBTI or in any other way, June has been a month of celebration since the Stonewall riots in the 1960’s and the first PRIDE celebrations. This is celebrated in many countries around the world, not only in June but at other times as well, the Queen’s Ball started on the June Queen’s birthday long weekend back in 1961 and was part of the month long festivities. In the past few years the Brisbane PrIde month events have been held in September when the weather is better, but the awards and ball have remained on the same weekend, even with the Queen’s birthday long weekend moved to October the ball has stayed and only moved to the Saturday night instead of the Sunday (allowing for a recovery day).
So today my evening wear is packed away, I have recovered well from a night of festivities (more the late night than the alcohol), and I troll social media to see all the wonderful pictures of the evening. I ponder the opportunities to celebrate for my community, Transgender Day of Visibility, International Intersex Day, Pride month, and other days for individual sexual identities, like International Lesbian Day. Days that I swell with my own sense of pride in who I am and my community, days when I see others, often for the first time, seeing solidarity in their identity and celebration not only from other LGBTI people but also from our allies.
Many people don’t attend these events for whatever reasons they may have, and that is their choice. They may celebrate in other quieter ways, on a daily basis, in small groups, on their own, just by being who they are.
So no matter how you identify yourself, be proud of who you are, and celebrate yourself in whatever way works for you.