A COOLBELLUP trans-man says he’s likely to skip Perth’s Pride Parade today (Saturday November 30) after a hiccup saw several groups seemingly restricted to just 20 marchers.
Drew Russell-Alchin says he’d be devastated to miss the parade, one of the few places he feels comfortable being visibly trans, but he’s found organisers’ efforts to control participants a long way from the event’s rule-breaking origins at the Stonewall riot.
At a pre-march meeting on Wednesday November 27, participating groups were told all marchers would require wristbands, but some thought that meant they’d be able to pick up theirs on the day and they didn’t register numbers.
They ended up receiving a standard 20 wristbands from Pride WA, which meant groups like the 130-strong Transfolk had some tough decisions to make about who was going or not.
But Pride WA president Frances Burgess said on Thursday the organisation started working with groups to sort the problem out when it realised some had missed the registration.
“Being the first year that parade participants require wrist bands we appreciate there has been some confusion,” Mr Burgess said.
“There has been a lot of commentary recently about Pride WA excluding or limiting wrist bands for certain groups.
“This is not the case. Pride WA suggests anyone yet to confirm their participation to liaise directly with your organisation and their leadership team.”
Mr Burgess said wristbands were used at other major events around the country to increase safety for participants and crowds. There’s also been some discontent about an increased corporate presence and a police contingent, while Perth’s Aboriginal LGBTI+ group has been able to get itself re-instated to near the front of the parade after earlier discovering they’d been dropped back.
“This year’s theme is “reflect”; reflect on what We are a Minority within a minority, Indigenous mob in WA haven’t and aren’t at the same level of the rest of the LGBTI community,” Rainbow Mob posted on Facebook.
“We were the first ever Indigenous float to ever march in WA, and before that Mob have marched as apart of other floats.
“These Actions give Our mob nothing to Reflect, We are still pushed behind the scenes the same as YOU once were by the straight people.”
Last year Rainbow Mob marched directly behind Dykes on Bikes, which leads the parade.
by DAVID BELL