The first ever world pride festival in the southern hemisphere (take that New Zealand) has kicked off and what a few days it’s already been.
Fair day was bigger than ever, thanks to the 78,000 visitors coming to take part in the festival, and it didn’t matter if you couldn’t find your friends since you probably made new ones along the way. Our iconic Opera house has been lit up to, loudly and proudly, show off the progress pride flag. And of course, there’s progress shark who’s taken the world by storm. After all, what’s more Aussie than a great white in rainbow lycra?
If you’re part of the queer community, then this festival is for you. And if you’re not, now is the time to learn, grow, and be the best ally you can be. All while sipping on your drink of choice and going to some rainbow-coloured parties. If you want a head start on how to be a better ally, our blog post from last year goes over 5 ways to show your support.
Roller Derby (you've missed this)
Never heard of roller derby? Here’s a quick video going over the rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFC6YE8zLmY
It’s physical, technical and, thanks to roller deby’s early founders identifying as members of the LGBT community, inclusive and welcoming of queer people. Game 1 was Country All-Stars vs Coastal All-Stars and the big bout was Team Australia taking on Team World (Team Australia won!).
Fair Day (you've missed this too)
Fair day kicked off celebrations with over 200 stalls taking over Victoria park. There was live music, info stalls, and enough rainbow capitalism to keep you fuelled for the whole day.
Mardi Gras Film Festival (15 Feb – 2 Mar)
Queer Screen is putting on a Mardi Gras film festival and this has got to be one of our favourite things to do. These films from all over the world will open your mind to new points of view and make you more empathetic to the experiences of queer people. If you could only watch one film (you should watch more), our recommendation is Joyland.
Queer Art After Hours (22 Feb)
Held in the new wing of AGNSW, queer art after hours will showcase dozens of queer artists across various disciplines from 5pm – 10pm this Wednesday night.
Marri Madung Butbut (Many Brave Hearts)
Another excellent art exhibition, this one focuses on First Nations LGBTQIA+SB art and will be held in Carriageworks. There are a whole heap of performances (and parties) and you can see the whole line-up + get tickets here.
The Big Parade (25 Feb)
It’s on and it’s bigger than ever. And this will be the first parade where a sitting prime minister also marches. There’s going to be 200+ floats along Oxford street to get people “Out of the bars, and into the streets!”
NOT ALL GLAM AND GLITTER (SADLY)
We’ve come a long way as a nation since 1978 when 500 protesters were met with police brutality at Hyde Park. But there’s still a certain irony in the world pride festival being held in NSW, the state with the worst laws for LGBTIQA+ people. The state which still allows faith based schools to remove queer children and teachers. And soon to be the only state still requiring genital surgery for trans and gender diverse people to access affirming identity documents (look to Spain to see how this should be handled).
There’s still a long way to go and grassroots organisations are continuing to put in the time to effect change. Pride in Protest is one such organisation so be sure to check out their Instagram to stay informed on how you can continue to support LGBTQIA+ people in Australia. From fighting to remove excessive policing from Queer and Indigenous spaces to helping unions be up to date on the needs of the community, they really are grassroots and help those who need it most.