Each month we’ll champion two amazing drag queens, DJs, or community heroes in the gay scene. This month’s spotlight falls on beloved Sydney DJ and activist DJ Sveta.
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What do you love about Australia’s LGBTI community?
In the best of times we have a huge, intelligent, creative, and visible community that embraces diversity and when it comes together, it can create huge positive change.
The internet is doing it’s best to destroy that but there’s nothing that can beat the excitement you feel when you hear the loud rumbling of the motorbikes from hundreds of Dykes On Bikes at the start of a Mardi Gras parade.
I was a DJ on radio for six years before I started spinning in nightclubs. When I finally accepted an offer to DJ live, I experienced a connection to people that was inexplicable – possibly the closest connection to feeling ‘spirituality’ for me. I was lucky to have started in the mid-90s when the scene in Sydney was so free.
No lockouts, hundreds of clubs, a lot more types of people mixing together as well as a thriving underground and mainstream scene – it was very liberating. I fell in love with it. The ability to make all kinds of people dance and to connect with them across the dancefloor is a gift.
What issue do we as a community need to focus on at the moment?
Ejecting this government for a million reasons. I’d also like to call on our community to support the rights of our First Nations people in their fight for sovereignty before we move onto other LGBTIQ-specific rights.
During the marriage equality fight, we all spent so much time asking for ‘equality’. Now that we have it, we must also show support for our LGBTIQ First Nations brothers and sisters.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m self-employed with a diverse work schedule. I wake up at around 11am on most days and I get sharper and more productive as the day goes on. I usually work until 3am or later. I feed a healthy breakfast to my dog child Mishka and then myself and my partner.
During summer, I spend a lot of time indoors as I can’t cope well in the heat but definitely do more exercise and activities like going for long walks with Mishka. I also spend a few days a week helping to take care of my mum.
Who do you see as a hero in the community?
My good friend and mentor Ken Davis. He’s a ’78er who received the letter from the Stonewall organisation in the US which encouraged us to create our own march, which he helped organise. He never stopped being an activist.
Favourite LGBTI venue?
I have the utmost respect for The Red Rattler which is the only community venue owned and operated by queer women.
I’m lucky enough to be working steadily in many historic LGBTIQ venues like The Oxford and Universal, and I have to give a special mention to The Imperial Erskineville, who go out of their way to hire the most diverse LGBTIQ staff and entertainers in Sydney.
Favourite LGBTI anthem?
“It’s Raining Men”, but only when lesbians belt out the lyrics.
Advice for young LGBTI people?
I would advise them that their short-lived experience with the brutality of the marriage equality debate is something they can learn from, and that just a few decades ago, we barely had any rights at all. I would tell them that being a keyboard warrior is not the most effective form of activism, it’s just the easiest and most public.
I’d remind them that real people are on the other end of judgements and that joining in the crowd noise without knowing facts, history, or context is harmful. The final piece of advice is to be mindful of intent before being offended by something. If you are offended by how people self identify, then you won’t be prepared for what the real world will throw at you.