QLD Director Paige Wilcox:

Hosting the Queens Ball

In a handmade dress representing the measured way we’re allowed to be out at work, this year with Nevo Zesin, I hosted the 57th Annual Queen’s Ball Awards; the longest running event of its kind in the world.

As someone who has been active for many years within the Queer community, I have long been familiar with and appreciated what the Queen’s Ball embodies and does for LGBTIQ youth. So when Brisbane Pride approached me to be a host this year, I didn’t hesitate to accept. 

On the night I was excited to take home the Trans Activist of the Year award, and I am incredibly grateful for the committee’s and the community’s love and support.

Yet among the fanfare, what I’m most proud of is the event’s approach to diversity and inclusion this year.

That as hosts they chose Nevo—who identifies as non-binary and trans—and, me—a woman assigned male at birth—was important, because even within our own community our voices are often taken away, and our authenticity debated. To see that the ceremony included a Welcome to Country, as well as Auslan interpreters, was heartwarming.

This year, the Queen’s ball also saw the introduction of awards to ensure recognition went to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as intersex and trans people.

It reminded me of why I joined Out for Australia several years ago. As a community we’ve been through so much, and we can achieve so much more when we work together by ensuring all voices within our community have the opportunity to be heard.

I often speak at events my past gender transition and have written in depth about my lived experience. Although I know first hand that it can be quite painful, I persist with sharing my story and encourage others who feel they are able, to do so as well.

Hosting the awards this year helped me further appreciate the importance of role models and shared experiences, especially to those who are at the start of their LGBTIQ journey.

Nevo Zesin (L) and OFA QLD Director Paige Wilcox (R)