Parramatta Pride Picnic returns September

Gavin Prendergast and Ray and Judy Brown. Photo: Carlos Furtado

Gavin Prendergast and Ray and Judy Brown. Photo: Carlos Furtado

The Parramatta river foreshore will shine when the eighth annual Parramatta Pride Picnic returns on September 14 from 11am-4pm.

Presented by the Parramatta Queer Forum, Parramatta council and community organisations including ACON and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the family event will include activities for young and old.

The picnic’s food sales will support the Western Suburbs Haven, a drop in facility at Blacktown for people living with HIV.

One of the event’s organisers, Gavin Prendergast, an ACON health promotion officer for western Sydney, anyone to attend with their ‘‘rainbow families’’ rain, hail or shine.

‘‘We get lots of mums and dads, and mums and mums, and dads and dads with their kids, which is lovely,’’ he said.

‘‘Sometimes, isolation and homophobia can still be a problem for GLBTI people living in the western suburbs. It’s really important to show that we are a vibrant, culturally diverse and accepting city that creates spaces where people can come together and feel safe.’’

The event will include stalls, barbecues, martial arts displays, activities like egg and spoon races and a tug of war with officers from Parramatta police on one side and drag queens on the other.

Also on offer are Bollywood-style dances by performers from Trikone, a global organisation for South Asian bisexual, lesbian, gay, and transgender people, as well as a ‘‘Doggywood’’ dog pageant, with one competition category for the dog most like its owner.

PFLAG president Judy Brown encouraged families from across the west to take the opportunity to connect as a community.

‘‘It’s kind of like a mini Fair Day,’’ Mrs Brown said.

‘‘The west in particular hasn’t really been a gay friendly area, that’s why we’re trying to bring some diversity to the western suburbs.’’

Gay and lesbian liaison officer Sergeant Ainsley Hodges said Parramatta local area command was proud to support the pride picnic. She said members of the LAC would attend and operate a stall.

"Parramatta LAC hopes to build positive partnerships and get to know members of the local GLBTI community and community in general. As well as ensure the picnic is safe and trouble free for participants to enjoy,’’ she said.

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