Labor MP Darren West commends Albany Pride for another great festival in State Parliament

Jacob Morgan-de LaineAlbany Advertiser
Albany Town Hall lit up for the Pride festival.
Camera IconAlbany Town Hall lit up for the Pride festival. Credit: Supplied/Albany Pride

Albany Pride took centre stage in State Parliament last week with Labor MP Darren West praising the organisation and the festival.

Founded in 2011, Albany Pride has been putting on the Albany Pride Festival every year since 2016.

Starting as Albany Gay and Lesbian… and Everyone in Between, it was the brainchild of headspace Albany manager Andrew Wenzel and social worker Annie Arnold who were concerned that one in five young people presenting to the mental health service identified as “not straight”.

Their aim was to try to better represent the LGBTQIA+ community in Albany which is estimated to represent around 10 per cent of Albany’s population.

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Albany Pride Festival 2023 banner placed at the Premier Hotel.
Camera IconAlbany Pride Festival 2023 banner placed at the Premier Hotel. Credit: Laurie Benson

Years on, Albany Pride is the only recognised service for LGBTQIA+ people in the Great Southern region, running outreach groups, and support services and working with local community organisations to get good outcomes for the LGBTQIA+ community.

This year’s Pride festival has been called a great success by the organisers and impressed Mr West.

Despite the theft of its banners, the festival went ahead with the support of many local businesses.

Mr West was in Albany with Labor MP Dr Sally Talbot for the festival’s Politics at the Pub event.

In State Parliament on Wednesday, March 15, Mr West said the wonderful group of people who made up Albany Pride made the event so successful.

Albany Pride Festival committee members Simone Van Hattem, Hannah Halls, Tiger Bird, Millie Reid, Karen Timmins and Darren Moir
Camera IconAlbany Pride Festival committee members Simone Van Hattem, Hannah Halls, Tiger Bird, Millie Reid, Karen Timmins and Darren Moir Credit: K&K

“I just want to give a big shout-out and thank Albany Pride for its hospitality,” Mr West said.

“It was a wonderful event; I had a really good time. Well done Albany Pride. I am glad you had a great festival and I look forward to being involved in the future.”

Albany Pride media co-ordinator Tiger Bird said they were really pleased with how many people turned out for the festival.

“We had a lot of people come from outside o Albany for the festival which is always a joy,” they said.

“The events were really well attended and there was a really beautiful community feel this year.

“ I enjoyed the 80s dance party a little too much and the Fair Day was really beautiful this year.

“Also having Abbe May here was fantastic, at the town hall, she was funny and a great singer. “

Bird said Mr West’s visit to Politics at the Pub was another highlight of the event.

“It’s fantastic that Darren gave us a mention,” they said.

Freedom Fairies' Daisy Heath and Elyse Hewitt.
Camera IconFreedom Fairies' Daisy Heath and Elyse Hewitt. Credit: Laurie Benson

“The event went down really well, in fact, there has been expressions of interest to make it a regular event.

“Not just about LGBT issues but also broader issues.”

Bird said this year had laid down the groundwork for next year.

“We have got it quite tight now and we really know what we are doing,” they said.

“We want to mention our sponsors and all the local businesses that got involved and decorated their windows, which was incredible to see in Albany.

“So many businesses really stepped up to the plate and embraced what was happening and I think that’s just going to grow year after year. The level of support this year has surpassed any other year.

“Given the recent events in Melbourne, it’s more important now than ever for businesses to be visibly displaying their support.”

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