The Camp Betty Festival, to be held at the Red Rattler Theatre in Marrickville from June 11 – 13, will feature discussions and workshops on topics as varied as polyamory, stripping, independent publishing, butch manners and a special spoken word eve

nt featuring trans and intersex women.
There will also be panels on queer sexuality, inclusion and exclusion in queer spaces, sex work, femme diversity and activism.
“Camp Betty is open to everyone under the rainbow and has grown into a whole weekend’s worth of workshops, parties, discussions, food, art, dress-ups, panels and spontaneous happenings,” Camp Betty organiser Zoo said.
While this is Sydney’s first Camp Betty event, the festival was first held in 1962 when a group of gay Melburnian men got together for a country outing to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.
Held in secret to avoid harassment, the annual picnic — which featured a dramatic entrance by the ‘royal family’ and a ‘royal parade’ — attracted thousands of people each year but lost momentum after homosexuality was decriminalised in Victoria in 1981.
In 2007, dissatisfaction with political and sexual conservatism led to a relaunch of the festival in Melbourne, and now the event is expanding to the Harbour City — with a few changes.
“In the 21st century, Camp Betty takes on a somewhat queerer and more overtly political twist,” Zoo said.
“We want to dismantle the idea that sex and gender are only interesting or important to queers, women and trans people. We hope that anyone who’s interested in change will come and participate.”
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