WorldPride has been a fixture in LGBTQI celebrations since the first one was held in Rome in 2000. Last year it was announced that the 2023 festival will be held in Sydney, Australia. This is the first time ever that WorldPride will beheld in the Southern Hemisphere, which is significant as the festival will, for the first time, have the opportunity to shed light on the experiences of LGBTQI people in this part of the world.

Star Observer spoke with Kate Wickett, currently a director of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and CEO of WorldPride Sydney, about the process of securing Sydney WorldPride 2023. 

In 2019, the global campaign for Sydney WorldPride 2023 began. To determine who would be the host of WorldPride in 2023, a vote was held at the InterPride AGM in Athens. InterPride is an international organisation that is comprised of producers of pride events for the LGBTQI community from around the world. It was at this AGM that Sydney was awarded the honour of being the host of this international celebration of Pride in 2023.

Kate stated that some of Sydneys strongest selling points were the fact that they intended to shine a light on Indigenous communities throughout the festival, that Sydneys bid for WorldPride 2023 had backing from multiple political parties and community groups and that Sydneys Mardi Gras is the only curated LGBTQI parade in the world held at night.

Speaking to Kate, it became extremely evident to me just how passionate she and everyone involved is in ensuring that this festival fulfils its potential to shine a light on LGBTQI people, not only in Australia but in the Asia Pacific as well.

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 Sexual activity between two people of the same sex is outlawed in at least 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region. In Indonesia, same-sex couples are not afforded the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, whilst homosexuality remains illegal in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. Conversely, the Philippines is also home to the only LGBTQI political party in the world. The Asia Pacific is representative of a range of experiences for LGBTQI people, and providing a stage for these experiences will hopefully shed light on the hardship still faced by many LGBTQI people around the world, whilst also celebrating all that has been achieved.

In addition to shedding light on LGBTQI communities throughout the Asia Pacific, Sydney WorldPride 2023 will also highlight and celebrate Australias First Nations people.

At the 2023 WorldPride festival there will be a dedicated First Nations Hub. Kate described this as being a 2-3 day longevent, with a dedicated area completely curated by First Nations people. Currently, there is recruitment underway for a First Nations Officer and a First Nations Creative Director. This hub will be entirely designed by First Nations people.  

When it comes to planning the festival, and what it will look like, there are four key components that must be delivered. Two of these components are an Opening Ceremony and a Closing Ceremony. The third component is a Pride March, and the fourth is a Human Rights Conference.

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 During our conversation, Kate placed emphasis on the significance of this Conference. The Human Rights Conference at Sydney WorldPride will be different to others, in that it will be an immersive and interactive experience, similar to a South by Southwest conference. Kate described this conference as the cornerstoneof the festival. 

There are a number of exciting events on the agenda for WorldPride 2023, including the aforementioned First Nations Hub, a huge beach party at the famous Bondi Beach and of course, a Pride March. The 2023 festival will coincide with Mardi Gras events.

With two and a half years until WorldPride 2023, significant work is clearly underway to make this one of the most memorable World Pride events yet.

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