As 50,000 people in their brightest colors prepare to cross the Sydney Harbor Bridge for the Pride March at 7am on Sunday, no one will be prouder than Jason Coombes.
He will be joining the first wave with his niece, film producer Alexandra George, who is making a documentary about her uncle and the historic event.
The Gurnai-Kurnai man from Lake Tyers, Victoria, was one of the first Qantas long-distance Indigenous refugees and subsequently retrained as a nurse in a remote area serving Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and South Australia.
He said: “At a time when the Voice to Parliament is coming up in Australia, this is the proudest thing I can do as a gay Aboriginal man. I’ve been to Love Parade in Berlin, but this is my very first WorldPride. I’ve been going to Mardi Gras for years, but this is the pinnacle.
“This will be my last big party in Sydney. I’m 53 and I think it’s time to leave it to the young. After that, it’s back to nursing, taking care of Indigenous communities, from child immunization to palliative care.”
George said: “He has such an extraordinary zest for life and loves to give back to his community. The film will honor my uncle and represent him as he is, with a touch of glamour.”
The march from north to south between 7am and 10am celebrates the 45th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the 50th anniversary of Australia’s first Gay Pride Week and the fifth anniversary of marriage equality in Australia. Entry to participate was via free vote and tickets are now fully allocated.
Other weekend highlights include: Saturday: Bondi Beach party for 12,000 from 3-10pm; Sunday: WorldPride Rainbow Republic Closing Party at The Domain from 3pm – 10pm.