A fresh type of party launches in Sydney this week, with Worship taking over The Red Rattler for a night of performance and dance on Friday July 26.
The event’s co-creators, Dyan Tai and Tammy Piper, conceived the event as a way for queer, trans and gender diverse performers and performers of colour to centre their experiences while offering a killer dance party for the wider community.
Hosted by Tai and Piper, the first Worship party will feature Marlena Dali, Radha La Bia, Zaya, Mamacita Death, Sunday Best, The Natural Blondes, with Sophie Forrest and Ben Drayton on the decks.
Tai and Piper spoke to the Star Observer about their motivation behind launching the party.
“Worship has been created to empower and inspire the community by initiating conversations through performance and dance,” Tai said.
“I think there’s a gap in Sydney for parties that bring us together not just to connect but to reflect on our differences and celebrate the strength that comes from those differences,” Piper added.
“People should come to Worship expecting to see glimpses into different lived experiences, to hear voices that are too often ignored and silenced by the mainstream.
“We also want you to come ready to dance together once our amazing DJs get started.”
Tai, who is a performance artist, singer-songwriter and DJ, said that it was important to create a space to showcase the community’s diversity.
“I would say that in general, being a queer performer of colour in Australia definitely has its challenges and is frustrating at times.
“It is frustrating to attend a party or to see an event on Facebook to realise that lineup is only, or majority, white, cisgender performers.
“It is common to wonder, ‘Would I have gotten this gig or perhaps I would have been more successful if I presented or appeared a different way?” said Tai.
“For queer performers of colour, a lot of us would have felt at some point that being Asian, being a person of colour , being queer is not what mainstream media would portray, and most people would perceive, as the ‘right/best fit’.
“But those are important things we should celebrate because diversity, having an accent and our heritage, cultural identities are things that make us unique and should not be deemed an obstacle.”
Piper said the pair want Worship to provide a new possibility for a night out, in a scene that is increasingly diverse.
“We’re not trying to be the new model for queer events, we’re just presenting an alternative option.”
“I coexist between the mainstream gay venues on Oxford St and the queer parties in the inner west,” Tai said.
“I am probably one of the very few Asian DJs/performers on Oxford St. Working on Oxford St has always given me a very cis, gay white men vibe and that it caters to their party needs.
“I hosted an interactive session at The Equality Project’s LGBTI conference and one of my guests, Candy Box from The Stonewall Hotel, said Oxford St actually started as an inclusive safe space for both gay men and women back in the day but women started moving away from Oxford St and into Newtown and Enmore. I find that really interesting.
“I think what we need on Oxford St is more opportunities for queer, trans, POC artists and drag queens to perform and safe inclusive parties for everyone to have a good time,” said Tai.
Piper said she hopes that future events can continue to give a platform to a diverse range of performers.
“I think it’s important for the wider community to support events like this because of the voices that are being presented,” she said.
Tai hopes that Worship is just one of many events that will continue to move the needle.
“We can continue having these conversations and more performers in the future, each with their unique story and identity to share.
“For me, I would love also to see more diversity in the Sydney gay scene – not just Worship, but also on Oxford St!”
Worship kicks off at 6:30pm on Friday July 26 at The Red Rattler. For more information about the event, check it out on Facebook.
To purchase tickets, head to Eventbrite.