Pride Picnic to support Blacktown Haven

Organiser Gavin Prendergast with police from Parramatta Local Area Command, who will attend the 8th Annual Parramatta Pride Picnic. Picture: Gene Ramirez.

Organiser Gavin Prendergast with police from Parramatta Local Area Command, who will attend the 8th Annual Parramatta Pride Picnic. Picture: Gene Ramirez.

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.

Food sales will support the Western Suburbs Haven, a drop in facility at Blacktown for people living with HIV and their families and carers, which sees 20-30 drop in clients each week.

Haven manager Colleen Logan encouraged everyone to attend and support western Sydney’s GLBT community.

‘‘You don’t need to be gay or lesbian to attend, it’s all inclusive,’’ Ms Logan said.

‘‘We always raise a lot of money from the sausage sizzle... It helps us fight the stigma that still exists surrounding HIV, the lack of education in the community and generally just provide support for those who are less fortunate.’’

Event organiser Gavin Prendergast, an ACON health promotion officer, encouraged ‘‘rainbow families’’ to attend, 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 and activities like a tug of war, with police on one side and drag queens on the other.

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

PFLAG president Judy Brown encouraged western Sydney families to take the opportunity to connect.

‘‘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.’’

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