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Travel Notes

Brisbane Pride’s gala LGBTIQ event, the Queen’s Ball, was held again this year in Brisbane’s iconic City Hall, with the totally on-trend theme of Going to the Chapel. Four hundred plus patrons dressed to impress in their most glamorous clobber, some in snug fitting suits, sparkling dresses and even the obligatory white wedding gowns. However, it was the drag queens who stole the show with their amazing frocks, dazzling make-up and brilliantly styled hair.

The Ball started 56 years ago and is one of the longest continuous running gay events in the world. Brisbane gay royalty and original founder of the Queen’s Ball, Dame Sybil Thorndyke was present and looking fabulous. She reminisced with us about how the Ball was first held in three houses with a central courtyard in Mount Tambourine, with only a handful of people in attendance.

The Queen’s Ball has come a long way since the 60’s, now with its superb location, fine catering and spectacular stage shows. This event has something for everyone, including our politicians, both gay and straight. It was an opportunity to show their support for the LGBTIQ community with about seventeen in attendance this year, including State Attorney General, Yvette D’Ath.

This is the night of nights on the gay social calendar for the Brisbane and Queensland community, especially the awards part of the evening. There is a public vote for a variety of categories including Licensed Venue of the Year (The Sportsman Hotel), Activist of the Year (Lawyer, Peter Black), DJ of the Year (DJ Sammy Huth) and Community Social Group of the Year (Brisbears). It was really no surprise that Brisbane‘s favourite drag queen Ms Candy Surprise took out two awards, one for Performer of the Year and another for Drag Performer of the Year.

The Ball serves as a stark reminder to everyone about how far the gay community has come in 56 years. In 2017 the LGBTIQ community and their supporters were proudly celebrating together in Brisbane’s premier venue. However, with marriage equality still out of reach, we have a way to go before any of us will be Going To The Chapel for real. Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Roz Dickson (Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland) and a posthumous award went to Rocky Malone (Open Doors Youth Services), recognising their valuable contributions and achievements.

The highlight of the night was the judging of the Belle of the Ball. With so many insanely beautiful drag queens, the competition was hot! After several rigorous rounds of selection the audience vote went to Gayleen Tuckwood dressed in an inspired purple and black checked wedding gown, black flowing veil, superb hair and makeup and, to top it all off, she was young and thin and had already taken out the Young Achiever of the Year award.

This festive evening also gives everyone the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make significant new connections. Many groups booked a whole table of ten and made it a real party event. A VIP ticket gets you through the door at 6.00pm for the President’s welcome speech and an early start on drinks and canapés. Dinner is two courses accompanied with free flowing wine and champagne. General admission is at 7.00pm.

After dinner, when the awards were completed, it was time for dancing. Perennial favourites like It’s Raining Men, Nut Bush City Limits and Dancing Queen had everyone immediately on their feet with lots of 80’s jazz hands and disco action.

The Queen’s Ball is a night of gay celebration, recognition of our leading LGBTIQ community members and an opportunity to dress for a gorgeous, gala occasion. We definitely had a ball and can’t wait to be ‘party-ready’ next year.

John Walker & Gavin Patterson
Gay Men On Holiday


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