There was a time a couple of years back when the LGBTIQ community wasn’t sure if the Wickham was for them any more. Those days are over, says manager David McKillop.
“We are actually a gay venue, but everyone’s welcome. Not the other way around,” he said.
It’s true that in its recent history, with the shrinking popularity of gay nightspots, the Wickham went through what David calls an “identity crisis”.
But since he arrived back in April last year, the focus has been back on the LGBTIQ community.
“Our Thursday night entertainment is trivia, which is very much the gay community. It’s run by Paul Wheeler, who’s also hosting Big Gay Day,” he said.
“Also, we now sponsor the Brisbane Tritons, the gay water polo team, and we’ve re-engaged with the Hustlers Rugby team, who do their meat tray auction here on a Sunday afternoon. And every event we did last year was orientated to gays, from drag shows to everything.”
David is especially enthusiastic about the Wickham’s upcoming Big Gay Day.
“I want to make sure that we actually live up to our promises, what the event’s all about, which is supposed to be a fundraising event for the community,” he said.
This year the beneficiaries will be the Queensland Aids Council (QuAC), Open Doors Youth Services, the Australian Transgender Support Association Queensland (ATSAQ) and Brisbane Pride.
“They’re the four charities that we’ve chosen to give back to, and they help us with the event as well,” David says. “Mainly those four because they’re not very well funded.
“This year we’ve reduced our costs for the event so obviously there can be more profits, because it will be a percentage of the profits we give to those charities. In addition, Coles (Wesfarmers) are going to donate $10,000 directly to the event’s charities.
“The intention is that at the end of the event we can get out there and say to people ‘We’ve run this event, we’ve given x amount of dollars back to the gay community, and hopefully support it, and keep supporting this event year in, year out.’”
Big Gay Day is on this Sunday, March 11. For tickets visit the Big Gay Day website here.