The recent veto of the ACT’s civil unions legislation was a body blow for equality, but organisers of an upcoming gay rights conference hope to turn the defeat to their advantage.

Queer Collaborations opens in Sydney next week with the theme terror alert rainbow, a partly satirical, partly serious comment on the rise of fear-based politics.

It makes a spoof of the American colour code system for terror, with green and red and so on, Queer Collaborations co-organiser Trent Ellerington told Sydney Star Observer.

It’s also political because it makes a statement about how the current political climate and the rise of fear politics and making people afraid has an impact for the queer community.

Queer Collaborations delegates will discuss the struggle for relationship rights, including the ACT civil unions overrule, and organisers hope the five-day event’s subject matter inspires a new group of activists.

Queer Collaborations exists to skill up and politicise both youth and students, Ellerington said.

The queer community at the moment needs to have the next generation educated and skilled. There’s a long way to go for equality.

Queer Collaborations takes place annually and returns to Sydney after a 13-year break. Organisers expect about 350 people at the conference at the University of NSW’s College of Fine Arts in Paddington and nearby venues.

International gay rights movements and the challenges of young gays and lesbians in rural areas will also be up for discussion.

On the conference’s last day, Friday 7 July, delegates will take their message to the streets with a protest planned for the inner city. They will finalise the march’s theme and location next week.

Queer Collaborations is on from 3 to 7 July. For more information visit the Queer Collaborations website.

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