Sydney WorldPride 2023 Names Magda Szubanski, Jojo Zaho, Courtney Act, Trevor Ashley & 16 Others As Rainbow Champions

Sydney WorldPride 2023 Names Magda Szubanski, Jojo Zaho, Courtney Act, Trevor Ashley & 16 Others As Rainbow Champions
Image: Rainbow Champions. Image: Maja Baska

Sydney WorldPride 2023 has named the next 20 Rainbow Champions.

According to Sydney WorldPride, the Rainbow Champions announced represent a diverse cross-section of the LGBTQI community and include trans activists, actors, performers and community leaders.

Forty-five Rainbow Champions will be chosen in total, from around Australia, in order to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the first Mardi Gras which took place on June 24, 1978, along Oxford Street. The march, which was held to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riot in New York City, was initially peaceful but culminated in police violence.

Showcasing members of the LGBTQIA+ community that have made a significant contribution to the community and its culture, the final ten individuals will be announced in the near future. 

20 New Rainbow Champions Announced

  • NSW-based musician and folk-pop singer-songwriter, Alex the Astronaut.
  • Drag superstar, RuGurl, singer, and television personality, Courtney Act
  • Musical theatre actor, drag artist, and cabaret performer, Trevor Ashley.  
  • Victorian Australian Rules footballer, and captain of the Richmond Football Club, Katie Brennan.
  • Actor, performer, and singer, Paul Capsis.
  • ACON’s Director of Community Health and Adjunct Lecturer at the Kirby Institute UNSW, Teddy Cook.
  • Presenter, artist, musician, actor, and reality TV contestant, Casey Donovan
  • ABC broadcaster, interviewer, and commentator, Fran Kelly
  • Musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and Rainbow Republic Co-host, G Flip.
  • Football player and Olympian, Chloe Logarzo.
  • Gadigal and Wonnarua man, Deadly Hand Talk artist, and LGBTQIA+ advocate living with a disability, Daniel McDonald
  • Musician, songwriter, storyteller advocate, and Third Culture Kid, Mo’Ju.
  • Director of Finance and Membership for Emerald City Kickball and community sports coordinator, David Parsons
  • Comedian, singer, and actress, Jordan Raskopoulos.
  • Walkley Award-winning journalist and content lead for ABCQueer, Mon Schafter.
  • Community advocate, actress, and author, Magda Szubanski
  • NSW-based actor known for their roles in Wentworth and Nine Perfect Strangers, Zoe Terakes.
  • Miss Universe Australia 2020, writer, and television personality, Maria Thattil
  • Drag queen, podcaster, and entrepreneur, Vanity
  • Biripi and Worimi drag queen and star of season one of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under,  Jojo Zaho.

Magda Szubanski: It’s Such an Honour

In a chat with Star Observer, Magda Szubanski talked about what being named a Rainbow Champion means to her

“It’s such an honour,” Szubanski said.  “It’s such a wonderful community to be able to represent and do whatever I can to speak out for.” 

She continued, humbly saying, “I think there’s so many people who probably deserved this more than I do. But you know, I get that I’m sort of like a team mascot. 

“I think the whole WorldPride thing is just a stunning venture. And I’m very excited about it. And I can’t wait to get to some of the events.”

Magda Szubanski. Image: Maja Baska

Jojo Zaho: It’s Very Surreal and Humbling

In an interview with Star Observer, Jojo Zaho explained how “surreal” it all is, to be recognised in this way. 

“I see myself as a man and dress having a good time. And for me, it’s kind of one of both ways. It’s like, oh my god, I don’t deserve this. But at the same time, I’ve achieved what I set out to and that was just be a role model that I needed growing up,” Jojo said. 

“I consider JoJo my life-size Barbie, she’s my toy, and she’s kind of a toy that I like to share with everyone…Not that kind of toy. Hygiene first,” she said with a laugh. “It’s very surreal. It’s very humbling.”

Jojo Zaho. Image: Maja Baska

Paul Capsis: Honoured to Have That Acknowledgement

Paul Capsis told Star Observer that he was “beyond honoured.”

He continued, “I’m so honoured to have that acknowledgement. Because yeah, it’s been, you know, for all queer artists, gay men, performers. It’s a tough road and it still is.”

Paul Capsis. Image: Maja Baska

Sydney WorldPride CEO Kate Wickett said, “The contribution that these 20 Rainbow Champions have made to the community has been enormous across the arts, sports, media, literature and health. Their visibility and advocacy has literally put a face to what it means to be LGBQTIA+ in Australia, and by sharing their journey has made it safer for other community members to simply be themselves.”

A total of 35 Rainbow Champions have been announced so far with the first three announced in July, followed by the announcement of 12 in September.

Sydney WorldPride 2023 takes place from February 17 to March 5, 2023, with over 500,000 people expected to take part in the 17-day celebration.

The full program of events, over 300 and counting, will be revealed in November.

WorldPride started in 2000 in Rome. Since then it has been held in London, Toronto, Madrid, New York, and, most recently, Copenhagen. This is the first time, however, that WorldPride will be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

For information on Sydney WorldPride 2023 go to

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.