Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. This week: Paul Kennedy, Queer Screen’s partnerships manager and community advocate.

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PAUL KENNEDY, Queer Screen

What do you love about Australia’s LGBTI community?

We all know the whole marriage equality plebiscite was a waste of bloody time but I was very proud to witness our community working together with such incredible determination to achieve something so epic. I can’t wait to see what the community directs this passion and energy towards next.

What motivates you to get involved?

I work with several LGBTI events and charities and find collaborating with different people and organisations fun and rewarding, especially when it benefits the community in some way.

What area do we need to focus on the most at the moment?

I’m on the board of the Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) which provides people with free legal services on LGBTI related matters and works on LGBTI law reform. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in this area. The religious freedoms review is also going on at the moment and we definitely need to keep an eye on any lawmaking in this area. Anyone should be allowed to believe in what they want but Australian law should not protect people or institutions that want to discriminate, humiliate, or hurt others.

Who do you see as an LGBTI hero in the community?

Senator Penny Wong is incredible. Such grace and eloquence. A fantastic role model and ambassador for the LGBTI community. She’s definitely my current girl crush.

Favourite LGBTI venue?

Green Park Hotel is my local watering hole. I know I’ll always bump into friends there and for a small pub they have Sydney’s best DJs.

Favourite LGBTI anthem?

True Colours by Cyndi Lauper. I get the feels whenever I hear the lyrics to that chorus. Dedicated to her lesbian sister, Lauper co-founded the True Colours Fund, a non-profit dedicated to ending homelessness for LGBTI youth.

Best Pride moment?

Mardi Gras Film Festival – I’ve been involved with the festival for five years now and I am very proud of how it’s grown over that time. MGFF showcases important LGBTI stories from around the world that might not get seen otherwise. It also brings the LGBTI community together to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness. It’s a safe space for everyone.

Bigot of the month?

Has to be Barnaby Joyce obviously. He’s always been a bigot and was incredibly vocal in his opposition to marriage equality but he was also revealed to be a big ol’ hypocrite this month too. So much for the sanctity of marriage.

Advice for young LGBTI people?

Be kind to yourself, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

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