Hello from beautiful Sydney, Australia. I’ve been honored to be visiting for World Pride 2023 on land that has been danced on for millennia. Today is my last full day and I’m staying in as it hits 38 °C and I’m using the moment to reflect.
As an avid photographer, it’s been a trip where I have taken over 500 photos but they don’t do justice to the beauty I’ve seen. In addition to the time I spent in Sydney, I drove down to Melbourne on the Hume Highway returning via Eden on the coastal A1 route. I will say the beauty on the drive was spectacular, especially the Great Dividing Range.
Of course, speaking of beauty there was World Pride and the numerous events that I was able to take part in. It started for me at the opening concert with Kylie Minogue, ending with last nights closing concerts featuring Kim Petras & Ava Max. The theme this year was certainly celebratory, with the first full Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade since the one I visited in 2019 due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The official theme was “Gather. Dream. Amplify.”
Certainly a place to gather. People from all over the world showed up and together we dreamed of equality. Celebrating the success that has been achieved but also hearing about how much more we must accomplish. That is the point of World Pride to understand how our equality is intertwined.
We learned about history, about how the 78ers participated in the first ever Mardi Gras parade in Australia and associated protests in 1978. I learned that Kylie performed in 1994 for the Mardi Gras Party and endeared herself to the community ever since. We were also reminded that Pride is protest. To bring the point home, 60,000 participants including myself were invited to march across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
So taking this moment to reflect, it is certain that we need to amplify our protests. Last year I had strong language about a court decision which removed the right to an abortion in the US, for which I was scolded. However, they aren’t stopping. Tennessee just banned public drag and gender affirming care. Iowa lawmakers introduced a bill to remove marriage equality. At CPAC, a speaker called for transgenderism to be eradicated. They want to remove our rights and eradicate us. Let that sink in. I can only have strong language and the assurance that we will fight for our rights.
So, please take a few moments to enjoy this selection of photos from my trip. As you do, please ask yourself what you are doing to stand up for LGBTQIA+ rights and woman’s rights.