In a world that constantly seeks to bridge gaps and celebrate diversity, the charter of the Rotary Club of Briz Pride, Qld, stands as a testament to the power of diversity, equity and inclusion.
On August 19, 2023, a chapter of Rotary’s rich legacy was written with pride, acceptance and courage, with the charter of the Rotary Club of Briz Pride, which became the first LGBTIQ Rotary club in the southern hemisphere and the fifth of its kind in the world.
It was a momentous occasion, graced by the presence of five past district governors of district 9620, the district governor-elect, and the district governor nominee. With 22 charter members, this club embarked on a journey aimed at uplifting and serving the LGBTIQ community in Brisbane.
Chartered under the visionary leadership of District Governor Paul Roger, the club emerged as a beacon of hope and inclusivity, with charter President PDG Craig Bowen at the helm of this historic initiative. Recognising the need for a safe and welcoming space within Rotary for the LGBTIQ community, Craig took a courageous step. He invited like-minded individuals to stand together and say, “Let’s start our own club”. This audacious idea garnered substantial support from immediate past District Governor Tim Keeler and current District Governor Paul Roger, enabling the realisation of Craig’s dream.
“The Rotary Club of Briz Pride represents the vibrant tapestry of humanity, woven together by the threads of acceptance and understanding. It echoes the Rotary ethos of Service Above Self, with a resounding emphasis on diversity, equality and love.”
The road to chartering was not without its challenges. They faced scepticism and resistance from some quarters, but this only fuelled their determination. The club stands as a testament to the resilience of a community that stood tall, showcasing unity, and fostering a new era of acceptance.
With a firm belief in the three avenues of service – diversity, inclusion, and equality – the Rotary Club of Briz Pride comprises a vibrant blend of members from both the straight and gay communities. The club’s commitment to inclusivity is underlined by its strong representation of these values in its membership and initiatives.
Meetings, held once a fortnight at the Bulimba Library, are a melting pot of ideas, creativity, and compassion. The club has already initiated meaningful projects and collaborations, affirming its purpose to open doors and extend a hand of support to those in need. Remarkably, the club gained three new members on its charter night, marking the beginning of a promising journey of growth and impact.
Notably, the club received heartfelt letters of encouragement from past International President Ian Riseley and numerous LGBTIQ governors in America. Their words of support have added fuel to the club’s passion for making a difference and forging connections across borders.
The Rotary Club of Briz Pride represents the vibrant tapestry of humanity, woven together by the threads of acceptance and understanding. It echoes the Rotary ethos of Service Above Self, with a resounding emphasis on diversity, equality and love.
MAIN PICTURE: Rotary Club of Briz Pride Charter President PDG Craig Bowen and Vice-President Sylvester Tan.