They come from all walks of life, and they work and play in all sorts of different ways, from journalists and performers to athletes and activists. But they all have one thing in common, and that is a history of excellence in supporting Australia’s LGBTQIA+ communities.
They have one other thing in common now as well – these 45 high achievers have each been named Rainbow Champions by Sydney WorldPride, for their work in promoting the rights and interests of LGBTQIA+ communities everywhere.
The 45 Rainbow Champions represent the 45 years since the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which was staged in 1978.
WorldPride is a global LGBTQIA+ festival that has been staged since 2000, with cities competing to host the event. The right to host it is licensed by InterPride which has representatives from nearly every Pride organisation around the world. Previous WorldPride celebrations include New York in 2019 marking 50 years since the Stonewall uprising, and Copenhagen in 2021 celebrating both WorldPride and the EuroGames.
Sydney was chosen by InterPride members to be the host of WorldPride in 2023, marking the first time a city in the southern hemisphere had been chosen. Sydney WorldPride will incorporate all the beloved Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events, plus a broad festival offering across arts, sport, theatre, concerts, parties, First Nations programming and a human rights conference.
Over to the 45 Rainbow Champions….
Narelda Jacobs | Journalist
A Whadjuk Noongar journalist and presenter hailing from Boorloo/Perth now living on Gadigal Country in Sydney, Narelda has worked at Network 10 since 2000 and spent 19 years in the Perth newsroom before heading to Sydney, where she co-hosts Studio 10 and presents 10 News First Perth. Once a week, Narelda finds herself at NITV where she co-hosts the network’s flagship program The Point. Once a year, she also co-hosts NITV’s January 26 Sunrise Ceremony. She’s a regular on news panels at ABC TV & co-hosted Sydney Mardi Gras 2018-2020. Narelda has shared the stage with prime ministers, international leaders, humanitarian advocates and superstar artists. She is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and is on the board of the Walkley Foundation, the National Indigenous Advisory Committee for Football Australia, and is an ambassador for MND Foundation, the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute and The Pinnacle Foundation.
Steven Oliver | Performer
A descendant of the Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi peoples, Steven Oliver is one of Australia’s most beloved performers. He was born in Cloncurry in North West Queensland and grew up in Townsville. Steven has worked with numerous theatre companies, festivals and arts organisations across Australia but became notorious with ABC’s Logie/AACTA nominated sketch comedy show Black Comedy, where he was a writer, actor and associate producer. Steven’s array of Season One characters saw him launch into popular culture, but it was his over the top, fabulously camp and highly competitive creations The Tiddas that cemented him as one of Australia’s leading funny people, and led to a Favourite Comedy Performer of the Decade nomination at the 2020 AACTA’s. Season Two of Black Comedy saw him join The Tiddas in holy matrimony, making a firm statement on marriage equality in the process. Little did Steven know that at the time, he had written and acted in the first ever televised same sex marriage of a gay couple on Australian screens. Simultaneously, it is only the second marriage between an Indigenous couple to air on Australian TV. Other Film/TV roles include Tiger Cops and A Very Sexy Xmas for ABC/Iview. Steven is co-creator/writer/presenter for Indigenous Arts Quiz Show Faboriginal as well as the documentary Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky which was awarded Best Documentary/Factual Single at the inaugural Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC) Awards. Steven featured in the critically acclaimed documentaries Occupation Native and History Bites Back. He was a recipient of Screen Australia’s Blackspace Initiative for his premiere web series A Chance Affair, which went on to be nominated for best web series at both the 2018 LGBTIQ Australian Awards and Screen Producers Australia Awards. Steven has done voice work on Australia’s first Indigenous Superhero animation, Zero Point and cameoed as Cousin Carlo in Marvel Studio’s Thor; Ragnarok. His poetry is published in both national and international poetry journals and his plays Proppa Solid (Jute Theatre) and From Darkness (La Boite Theatre) are published by Playlab. Steven is currently nearing the end of a successful national tour of his one man cabaret show. Premiering at the 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Bigger & Blacker was listed as an AdCabFave. Steven is currently in Brisbane being sexy.
Peter de Waal | Activist
Born in 1938, Peter de Waal was the foundation member of CAMP Inc (Campaign Against Moral Persecution) in 1970. As lifelong activists for the LGBTQIA+ community in Sydney, Peter and his partner Peter Bonsall-Boone established a counselling service from their Balmain home called ‘Phone-A-Friend’, which became a precursor of the new Twenty10/Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, and national QLife. Peter is also one of the group known as the “78ers” who participated in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in 1978. In June 2017, Peter was inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours, “for significant service to the community as a LGBTIQ advocate and supporter, and through a range of volunteer roles”.
Rudy Jean Rigg | Creator
An autistic and non-binary transgender host, Rudy Jean Rigg is also a creator, advocate, educator and pop-culture fiend based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. Rudy is the regular ‘teacher’ and host of social media sensation Rainbow History Class and has recently hosted and co-written a Screen Australia and TikTok funded documentary, TransAthletica. Rudy’s work is globally recognised, and was recently named a Top 10 online creator at the 2022 British LGBT+ Awards, as well as being named AiMCO’s (Australian Influencer Marketing Awards) 2021 Best Creator on TikTok for Rainbow History Class.
Katherine Wolfgramme | Educator
Katherine Wolfgramme transitioned over 30 years ago, and is a proud transgender woman of colour with a breadth of knowledge that is unique among trans inclusion educators. Through storytelling Katherine openly shares her experiences as a child born with gender dysphoria, a trans youth, a transgender woman in full bloom and now a transgender elder, community mother and Sydney LGBT community leader. Katherine has created positive impacts for the transgender community both in Australia and abroad, culminating in a fellowship at The Royal Society for Arts (RSA) global network of Positive Impact Makers (past fellows include Charles Dickens and Louis Pasteur; current fellows include Julia Gillard and Barack Obama). Katherine has served on several boards including Wear It Purple, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and Sydney Transgender Day of Remembrance and has also served as The Ambassador of the Gender Centre. Katherine is currently on the board of Qtopia, Sydney’s Pride Museum due to open in 2023. Katherine’s unique style of education and trans advocacy has won her much acclaim in the corporate diversity and inclusion speaking circuit in Australia and internationally culminating in the Inspirational Role Model of the Year award at the prestigious Australian LGBT Awards in 2019. She has been twice nominated for Community Hero at The Honour Awards (2020 and 2022).
Deborah Cheetham | Composer, Musician
A Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator, Deborah Cheetham has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Deborah was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance”. In 2009, Deborah established Short Black Opera as a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous singers. The following year she produced the premiere of her first opera, Pecan Summer. This landmark work was Australia’s first Indigenous opera and has been a vehicle for the development of a new generation of Indigenous opera singers. In March 2015 she was inducted onto the Honour Roll of Women in Victoria and in April 2018 received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia for her pioneering work and achievements in music. Deborah’s Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace, premiered to sold out audiences on-country at the Port Fairy Spring Festival in October 2018, and at Hamer Hall in Melbourne with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2019. Deborah’s list of commissions for major Australian ensembles include works for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australia String Quartet, West Australian Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, Rubiks Collective, The Sydney Philharmonia, Plexus Collective, the Goldner Quartet and Flinders Quartet. In 2019, Deborah established the One Day in January project designed to develop and nurture Indigenous orchestral musicians. In this same year she received the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for service to music in Australia, the Merlyn Myer Prize for Composition and was inducted onto the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll. Deborah has been named the 2020 Composer-in-residence for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and begins her appointment at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University as Professor of Australia Music practice. Deborah is the 2019 winner of the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Music and was named Limelight Magazine’s Artist of the Year for 2019. Deborah describes herself as a “21st century urban woman who is Yorta Yorta by birth, stolen generation by policy, soprano by diligence, composer by necessity and lesbian by practice.”
Caroline Bowditch | Artist
The Chief Executive Officer/Artistic Director of Arts Access Victoria and the Creative Lead of the Alter State Festival, Caroline Bowditch enjoyed an acclaimed career in the UK for over 16 years as a performance maker and industry leader. Caroline was Scottish Dance Theatre’s Dance Agent for Change (2008-2012), a Director of Dance with Paragon Music (Glasgow), Dance4 (Nottingham) and Imaginate (Scotland), and was Visiting Professor at Coventry University. She has been a regular consultant on accessibility and inclusive practice to Skånes Dansteater, Sweden, and the British Council. Caroline’s performance works include Leaving Limbo Landing (2012), an Unlimited festival commission for the Cultural Olympiad, Falling in Love with Frida (2014), which was awarded a prestigious Herald Angel award, and children’s works, The Adventures of Snigel and Snigel and Friends (2016) which was nominated for a Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Festival (2017). Caroline returned to Australia to lead Arts Access Victoria. During her tenure, Caroline has developed strong partnerships with Arts Centre Melbourne, Regional Arts Victoria, MAV (formerly Multicultural Arts Victoria), Melbourne Fringe Festival, Music Victoria and many more. Caroline’s strong advocacy has resulted in significant reform of funding programs for deaf and disabled artists. Caroline has overseen the development of a new strategic plan at Arts Access Victoria and led the organisation through a successful transition to hybrid delivery throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steph Lum | Advocate
An intersex advocate, poet and legal researcher, Steph Lum is based on Ngunnawal and Ngambri land. Steph strongly believes in youth intersex voices and founded YOUth&I in 2019, a publication of writings and artwork by young intersex people from around the world, in order to help establish a platform for young intersex creatives to share and be visible. YOUth&I engages intersex people throughout the publication and translation process and is currently in its third issue. Steph is involved in intersex legal and policy reform and takes a human rights-based approach to their research and advocacy. Steph was a member of the ACT LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council (2016-2020), a co-Chair and board member of Intersex Human Rights Australia (2017, 2019) and was previously a project officer on the intersex project at the Australian Human Rights Commission (2018). Steph is a signatory to the 2017 Darlington Statement, an Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex community consensus statement that outlines the priorities and calls for action of the local intersex community. Steph also writes poetry to help share intersex experiences in new ways. Through poetry, Steph hopes to connect with intersex people and help endosex people feel, even for a moment, what it can be like to live with bodies that are different. Steph has been published in the Australian Poetry Anthology and Not Very Quiet.
Keiynan Lonsdale | Performer
Born and raised in Western Sydney’s St Mary’s, Keiynan Lonsdale (aka Rainbow Boy) has gone from making his musical theatre debut straight out of high school in Fame – The Musical, to becoming a Hollywood star. Keiynan’s first role was on Aussie screens with ABC’s boundary breaking hit television drama series, Dance Academy, simultaneously becoming the face of MTV Australia and New Zealand at just 19 years old. This career momentum and non-stop determination led him to try his luck overseas, eventually landing his first US role in the box office smash The Divergent Series: Insurgent and Allegiant. The only way from there was up – he was cast in Disney Pictures’ The Finest Hours, then following up with the iconic Superhero role of Wally West/Kid Flash in CW’s The Flash. In 2018, Keiynan won an MTV Movie Award for his role in Love, Simon, got a number one Netflix hit with ‘Work It’, and he also appeared as a guest judge on the internationally popular RuPaul’s Drag Race. A bold and colourful music career has seen Keiynan reach exciting heights, garnering over 51 million Spotify streams, and releasing his original music on the debut album Rainbow Boy, garnering acclaim from Rolling Stone, GLAAD, Fader, and Billboard, the latter inviting him to perform a mini concert as part of their Pride at Home Series. Keiynan’s awards and recognitions include GQ Australia’s Actor of the Year, and the NYC LGBT Centre for the Youth Advocacy Award. He made his fashion runway debut at Paris Fashion Week for Louis Vuitton and Off White, and graced the prestigious MET Gala pink carpet in 2019. Keiynan can currently be seen leading Amazon Prime’s My Fake Boyfriend, and will next star alongside Ne-Yo and Christina Milian in Starz/Lionsgate’s series Step Up.
Jessica Johnson | Graphic Designer
Warramungu Wombaya artist, graphic designer and advocate, Jessica Johnson is the owner of design agency, Nungala Creative. Nungala is an expression of lived experience and commitment to a better future for First Nations people centred around LGBTQ+ visibility, representation and wellbeing: “You are seen, loved and sacred.” Jessica’s work is self described as a hot mess and very much a reflection of who she is – her desire to curate an alternative reality void of the BS, while navigating the complexities of contemporary existence as an outsider on stolen land. Jessica is also the artist behind Sydney WorldPride’s logo and festival artwork. “Creation of the new logo and artworks for Sydney WorldPride was inspired by my belonging to a big, multigenerational queer First Nations community and our extended family. We embody intersectionality and I wanted the design to express that through the vibrancy, colours and textures,” she says. “Each and every aspect reflects a sense of movement like light and shadows cast through nature, the trees and water. The tactile, hands-on, textural aesthetic is a nod to the nostalgic tools of our predecessors and an era of people power and protest definitive in our existence today. The electric colour palette draws from the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree and all the wondrous magic our country has on offer.”
Kerry Chin | Activist
An aromantic, asexual, autistic, and transgender beacon of visibility, Kerry Chin is most often seen riding around Sydney on an iconic bicycle. He has a substantial media portfolio, representing the asexual community on Triple J Hack, You Can’t Ask That, Abbie Chats, and in various interviews in both English and Chinese. He has also done modelling in the Bonds Pride Portrait Exhibition, Outing Disability, and various ACON photoshoots. Behind the scenes, he brings the aromantic and asexual perspectives to various advisory roles, such as Autism Spectrum Australia’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee and ACON’s People with Disabilities Co-Design Advisory Group. In the online space, Kerry has helped organise Aussie Ace Week events, and spoke at various international asexuality events such as PANACEA: Asexuality Asia Conference and the International Asexuality Conference 2021. He provides advice on the Tumblr as part of the Asexual Advice and Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week group blogs, and volunteers as a translator with AUREA and International Asexuality Day. Kerry has helped organise various Mardi Gras floats over the years. Some of his favourites include the “Fly Free from Religion” and “No Exemption to Anti-Discrimination Laws for Religions” with Sydney Queer Atheists, and “Neurodiversity Rainbow” with Autism Spectrum Australia. Kerry works as an electrical engineer in the rail industry. Alongside the specialised technical work, he extends his asexual visibility to multiple workplace LGBTQIA+ networks, including Pride and Ally Transport Network, Pride in NSW, and InterEngineer. Kerry’s account of his transgender experience is published in the Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words anthology.
Crystal Love | Performer
Australian and Northern Territory royalty living between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands, Crystal Love is the queen of the Island, respected for being the loving and caring person she is. When Crystal is in a show, she is always a headlining act. Crystal is called ‘Aunty’ because she is an elder in a big family of Tiwi Sistergirls and Brotherboys. Comedy and sass are what she does best. She has represented her community at the United Nations plus many festivals and events around Australia and the world. She is the star of the award winning documentary ‘BLACK DIVAZ’.
William Yang | Photographer
Photographer William Yang came to Sydney from Brisbane in 1969. He came out as a gay man and has recorded much of his life in the Sydney gay community since the early 70s. Yang had his first solo exhibition “Sydneyphiles” at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney in 1978. Part of the exhibition showed scenes from gay life at the time: people, parties, shows, events, and nights at the sauna Ken’s Karate Klub. It was the first time that Australian images of this nature had been shown at a public institution and the exhibition caused a sensation. In 1989 he integrated his skills as a writer and a visual artist. He performed monologues with slide projection in the theatre. They told personal stories and explored issues of identity against a background of social history. He has done 12 full-length works and most of them have toured the world. Recently, William has converted three of his theatre performances into film. He has exhibited regularly at Mardi Gras, and is well known for his documentation of the AIDS epidemic in the early 90s. His Performance piece “Sadness” was made into a film by Tony Ayres in 1999. In 1997 he won the Outstanding Visual Arts Event at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for his exhibition “Friends of Dorothy,” the name he gives to his generic collection of photos of the gay community in Sydney: it has been a book, an exhibition, a performance piece which has toured overseas, and a DVD. In 2021 William had a retrospective exhibition Seeing and Being Seen at QAGOMA in Brisbane. It contained many images of the LGBTIQ community and was very favourably received by both the critics and general public.
Lawrence Bing | Educator
A bisexual transman based is western Sydney, Lawrence Bing is a content creator and a strong advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. He posts daily content for those inside or outside of our LGBTQ+ community to help and guide those who are wishing to support and/or educate themselves. Lawrence loves sharing his transitioning journey since it started over seven years ago, in 2015. His goal and wish is to help individuals through his content.
Jane Marsden | Activist
Jane commenced her career in the LGBTI+ communities later than many, starting in her mid to late 20s after learning of and understanding her own difference. In the early 80s she joined the organising committee of a Western Suburbs Social Group called Scandal. Then after moving into the inner city in the early 90s she was appointed to the Board of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras on which she served for five years. Shortly after she joined the Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Community Publishing Ltd (Sydney Star Observer). Jane was one of nine founding directors of The Aurora Group – A Ruby Foundation. For the 40th Anniversary of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras with the help of many, Jane conceived and produced Special Moments and Memories – The Other 39’ers float in honour of the thousands of volunteers, staff and activists who nurtured and supported Mardi Gras since the first protest march in 1978. She has remained an active participant in the community recently as an advocate for the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Community Workshop and on the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Constitution Review Committee.
Jojo Zaho | Performer
After winning Miss First Nations 2017, Jojo Zaho was a contestant on the very first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under. In 2015 Jojo started her drag career in the New South Wales country town of Dubbo as a political response to a council member stating that homosexuality is not part of Indigenous culture. For Dubbo’s first annual Central West Pride March, Jojo walked the parade in a costume she made with both the Indigenous and gay pride flags. She hasn’t looked back since. In 2017, she appeared in the inaugural Miss First Nations Indigenous drag queen pageant, as well as participating in the documentary Black Divaz about the competition that launched her drag career. Since then Jojo has been involved in some fabulous gigs such as making her first television cameo on Get Krackin, participating in the 2018 Broken Heel Festival in Broken Hill, and being chosen for the Broken Heel mentorship program, which has led to her becoming a Broken Heel festival’s First Nations Glambassador. Jojo has also had the honour of hosting the VIP party for the Newcastle leg of Cher’s Australian tour. More recently Jojo has been placed on the world stage as a competitor in the Stan original series RuPauls Drag Race Down Under, where she now holds the unofficial title of Drag Race Down Under’s Porkchop.
Zoe Terakes | Actor
Zoe is one of Australia’s most exciting new actors. They were most recently seen in the highly anticipated series, Nine Perfect Strangers, alongside Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. Their other television credits including Foxtel’s Wentworth, Amazon’s The Moth Effect, ABC’s Janet King, and Foxtel’s The End. Zoe’s film credits include the coming of age hit, Ellie & Abbie (and Ellie’s Dead Aunt) and Danny and Michael Philippou’s Talk To Me. They are soon to be seen in the Marvel Studios, Disney Plus series, Iron Heart. Zoe’s theatre credits include Belvoir’s Boomkak Panto, A Doll’s House Part II (MTC), A View from the Bridge (Ensemble Theatre), Metamorphoses, The Wolves, and A View From the Bridge (The Old Fitz). For their work in A View from the Bridge at the Old Fitz, they received Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in an Independent Production, and as joint winner, the Best Newcomer Award. Zoe also received the Don Reid Memorial award at the GLUGS for this performance. Zoe was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for MTC’s production of A View from The Bridge. Zoe identifies as nonbinary and trans masculine. They are a vocal advocate and activist for trans rights within the industry and on a global scale.
G Flip | Artist
A Melbourne-born and LA-based music superstar, G Flip is the real thing: unfiltered, driven and bursting out of their bedroom with ideas to burn. In the last few years, Georgia Flipo has gone from unknown artist to international talent. The artist, producer and drummer has won the hearts of fans and media both in Australia and abroad, scoring support from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME and The FADER, among others. Their 2019 debut album has amassed more than 200 million streams to date and debuted #1 on the vinyl charts and #6 on the overall charts. For the past few years G has dominated the Triple j Hottest 100. Their live show has seen them play all over the world at festivals, venues and sold out US tours. Originally a session drummer by trade, their music starts from the drums up. Lyrically, G Flip writes of relationships, heartbreak, and acceptance. Authentic, relatable and always energetic, G Flip is a bonafide powerhouse.
Chloe Logarzo | Athlete
A professional soccer player and a member of the Australian women’s national team, The Matildas, Chloe Logarzo commenced her professional football career with Sydney FC in 2011- 2012 season of the W- League, and continued with the club in 2012-13 before moving overseas. While at Sydney FC she captained the Australian U-20’s national team, then made her first debut for the Matildas in 2013. Chloe joined US W-League’s Colorado Pride in 2014 and went on to be awarded 2014 USL W-League Rookie of the Year. From 2015 until 2017 Chloe went on to play for the Newcastle Jets, Swedish team Eskilstuna United and Norwegian Toppserien side Avaldsnes. It was during this time, Chloe suffered an injury and decided to broaden her skillset to landscaping. In 2016 Chloe returned to the Matildas and has represented Australia in the 2016 Summer Olympics, 2018 AFC Asian Cup, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup as well 2020 Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. 2017 saw Chloe return to Sydney FC where she remained until signing with Bristol City in 2020. In February 2021, Chloe embarked on another new adventure joining Kansas City for their inaugural season as a part of the National Women’s Soccer League in the USA. Chloe recently played an integral part at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign for the Matildas, notching up 50 games in the green and gold. When Chloe isn’t playing the game she loves, she enjoys quality time with her partner and when she can, comes home to spend time with her family in Sydney. Chloe is extremely proud of the country she represents and hopes to mentor young boys and girls and help them also reach their dreams.
Fran Kelly | Journalist
One of Australia’s leading interviewers and commentators, Fran Kelly has earned a reputation as an intelligent, informed and balanced journalist who has been a key contributor to the nation’s political, social and cultural debates for the past 25 years. In that time Fran’s been the ABC’s Europe Correspondent based in London, the political editor for The 7.30 Report and the political correspondent for the prestigious AM program. Fran was, until recently, presenter of ABC RN Breakfast, Australia’s leading national current affairs radio show, which she hosted for 17 years. She has shifted to ABC TV for her next project, host of a new Friday night TV chat show called Frankly.
Robyn Lambird | Athlete
A Paralympian bronze medallist, content creator, model, and disability advocate, Robyn Lambird has just achieved a bronze medal at the Toyko 2020 (2021) Paralympics – making her the first ever out non-binary Paralympics medallist. As a content creator with cerebral palsy, Robyn sets out to challenge society’s negative perceptions of disabilities. Robyn has been featured on such platforms as the BBC, Teen Vogue, The Guardian, The West Australian, SBS, ABC radio, and Triple J. In 2015 Robyn was included in Triple J’s ’25 Under 25’, awarded as one of the 25 remarkable individuals under the age of 25, for her work to promote disability equality and sporting achievements. She has also been ranked 3rd in the Sunday Times Magazines ‘Hot List’ in 2020. Robyn also offers services in public speaking as a disability consultant, and as a mentor in overcoming adversity and increasing confidence. She is also a strong LGBTIQA+ member/advocate and identifies as non-binary.
Casey Donovan | Performer
After a meteoric rise to fame at the age of just 16, Casey became the youngest ever winner of Australian Idol in 2004. A proud Gumbaynggir and Dungari woman, over the last 18 years, Casey has made her mark not only as a musician, but also in the areas of stage, screen, presenting and writing. Casey is a multi-Award winner and nominee, including an ARIA No. 1 Award and Triple Platinum for ‘Listen With Your Heart’ from the Double Platinum Album ‘For You’. She has also won Deadly Awards for Best Album, Best Single and Most Promising New Talent. After taking a break from music, in 2010 Casey returned to the music arena with the release of her hotly anticipated single Big, Beautiful & Sexy. She took that ethos on the road by touring in her own show, which has seen Casey perform to sell-out crowds at some of the country’s most coveted venues. Casey has also headlined her own Mama Cass Tribute concerts and supported the legendary Cyndi Lauper on her 2011 Australian National Tour. Throughout the pandemic in 2020/ 2021, Casey has not only entertained her fans, but nourished her own musical soul, with a Facebook Live performance BluesDay Tuesday, where each week, she acoustically performs some of her favourite songs but also fan requests. “Bluesday is a show that uses music for healing, thought, interaction, distraction, storytelling whether it be m music or someone else’s” says Casey. With thousands tuning in each week, Casey has decided to do a short mini tour in her home State of Victoria in October & November 2021. In 2021 Casey took on the hosting role alongside Noni Hazelhurst and Kurt Fearnley of SBS TV’s What Does Australia Really Think?, a series that reveals what Australia thinks about disability, obesity, and old age through emotional personal stories, confronting social experiments and a nationwide survey. 2022 sees Casey return to the stage as a lead in the hit musical 9 TO 5, playing the role of Judy Bernly (Jane Fonda’s role from the hit movie) opening at the Capitol Theatre Sydney in February, then around the country throughout the year. Casey is also currently working on new music to be released in 2022 and her ‘Bluesday’ Tour is on sale now. She will co-host and perform at Sydney World Pride 2023.
Ian Thorpe | Athlete
Unarguably one of the greatest swimmers whose ever lived, Ian Thorpe’s highlights includes nine Olympic Medals (five of them Gold); 22 World Records; 11 World Championship Titles; 11 Commonwealth Games Medals (10 of them Gold); Four World Swimmer of the Year titles (1998, 1999, 2001, 2002); and nine Pan Pacific Games Titles. Out of the pool, Ian has been just as successful, having been named a Member of the Order of Australia; winning the Australian Sports Medal; and celebrated as Young Australian of the Year. Ian has received honorary doctorates from Macquarie University and Western Sydney University, and he’s been awarded the Human Rights Medal 2012 for his work with Indigenous Australians. He’s also served as an Ambassador – Australian Marriage Equality, AIS, Invictus Games, AIME; and is a Patron and Board Member for ReachOut, and a Board Member for Parley.
Trevor Ashley | Performer
One of Australia’s most sought-after and successful performers, Trevor Ashley has been starring on stage and screen for over 20 years. In musical theatre, Trevor starred as Thenardier in Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables, for which he was nominated for his third Helpmann Award. He has also appeared as Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray and created the role of Miss Understanding in Priscilla Queen Of the Desert. Last year he appeared as Gaye Wray (from Home and Away) in his smash hit play The Lyin’ Queen, at The Sydney Opera House. He will soon star as the Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat during Sydney World Pride. Trevor directed the national tour of the cult musical Heathers, as well as Mack and Mabel at the Hayes Theatre Co. He was the curator and artistic director of Sydney International Cabaret Festival, and this year the curator of the Vivid Sydney Supper Club. In 2017 he completed a national symphony tour of Diamonds Are For Trevor, which was also recorded as a TV special for Foxtel. He has also appeared in Les Norton (ABC), Get Krackin’ (ABC) and Dance Academy (ABC) and the films Holding The Man, and the soon to be released Seriously Red. He is also a regular cast member of RFDS (Channel 7), playing the fabulous Dolly Hardon.
Alex The Astronaut | Performer
An unforgettably original lyricist, the music of Australian singer/songwriter Alex the Astronaut cycles through a series of radiantly detailed slices of life. In her latest album, How To Grow A Sunflower Underwater, Alex documents moments of both the seemingly mundane – from a haircut, a therapy session, a trip to the beach and to the supermarket – to the utterly life-changing experiences as a caregiver (along with the PTSD that followed) and her recent diagnosis with autism. The 27-year-old artist imbues her songs with equal parts self-awareness and sensitivity, imagination and idiosyncratic humour. Alex intimately explores friendship, love, loss, pain, and change in her work, weaving a constellation of stories about the personal reckonings that come with growing up. Her bright melodies, plucked guitars and unmistakable vocals cement Alex as a truly essential songwriter, capable of transforming the way we view ourselves and the world around us. Born in Sydney, Alex first started writing songs at 12, then moved to New York in 2017 to study math and physics at Long Island University. That same year, she delivered her debut EP To Whom It May Concern and its follow-up See You Soon, whose opening track “Not Worth Hiding” became an unofficial anthem of the Australian Gay Marriage referendum. The song is an open letter to Alex’s 16-year-old self that details the journey to owning her sexuality. It clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world, and was played by Elton John on his Beats 1 radio show. In addition to releasing albums The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing and How To Grow a Sunflower Underwater to widespread acclaim, Alex has taken the stage at major festivals like SXSW, Primavera Sound, The Great Escape, and Splendour in the Grass, along with touring Australia on a sold-out headline run.
Jordan Raskopoulos | Comedian
A Sydney based comedian, singer, digital content creator and Twitch streamer, you might know Jordan Raskopoulos from her work as the lead singer of The Axis of Awesome, the singing bumble bee from TikTok, her Ted Talk on anxiety or that commercial where she threw a book at Michael Bolton. Jordan came out as transgender in 2016 with the comedy song The Elephant in the Room and has continued to use humour as a tool to educate and inform. Jordan’s quite a name on the internet but her credits also extend into film, television and publishing. She has contributed stories for numerous anthologies and has had her work published by The Guardian and Junkee Media. Jordan has also appeared in two Australian films: as Trax, Julian Assange’s hacker compatriot, in Underground: The Julian Assange Story, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim, and as Helen Reddy’s housekeep and friend Sylvia in I Am Woman. Jordan is a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ and mental health causes. She is an ambassador for Twenty10, a social services organisation for LGBTQIA+ youth. In 2020 she set the world record for the longest performance of The Song That Doesn’t End (5 hours 43 minutes) in a charity live stream supporting Twenty10.
David Parsons | Athlete
David has a passion for fostering meaningful connections within the LGBTQIA+ community through sporting activities. This passion can be seen in his previous experience serving as president of the Sydney Stingers Water Polo from 2015-2019, after joining the club in 2010. During this time he fostered the clubs female and gender diversity participation, helped lead the club’s yearly fundraising efforts and coordinated corporate sponsorships. In 2016 the club was celebrated with a legacy award by the Federation of Gay Games for the most outstanding local organisation. David is a founding partner and current Director of Finance and Membership for Emerald City Kickball Inc, a community sporting organisation with leagues currently operating in Sydney and Perth, and expansion plans for Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. David helped bring Kickball to Sydney with a small group of friends after experiencing a game in California, where he enjoyed the low barrier of entry, social aspect and inclusive nature of the sport. David’s taken many of the lessons learnt from his experience at the Sydney Stingers when helping set up Emerald City Kickball – ensuring the organisation focuses on inclusion, diversity, participation and creative, campy fun. The league also gives back to the community through events such as a yearly charity tournament, which raises funds for the winning team’s organisation of choice. The mental and physical benefits of the sport have since been recognised by the NSW Ministry of Health, which awarded the league a grant to help deliver the 2022/23 seasons to players in Sydney. David spends his non-Kickball time managing his own architecture practice, and in his spare time enjoys sailing, swimming, cycling, and exploring the great outdoors. He’s also very excited for the international Kickball tournament to be held as part of Sydney WorldPride.
Courtney Act | Artist
Boy, Girl, Artist, Advocate. Courtney Act is more than just the sum of her parts. In 2003, Courtney made it to 13th place on the first season of Australian Idol and then signed to Sony/BMG. In 2014 she was top three on Season 6 of the Emmy Award winning RuPaul’s Drag Race before releasing her debut EP, Kaleidoscope, and touring internationally with her original show, The Girl From Oz. In 2018, Courtney was crowned the winner of Celebrity Big Brother UK, educating viewers on queer issues such as gender fluidity and sexuality. After her successful world tour Under the Covers, Courtney made television history as the host of the UK’s first bisexual dating show The Bi Life (E!). That Christmas she hosted her own variety TV special, The Courtney Act Show (Channel 4 UK and 10 Peach). She competed in Eurovision – Australia Decides and then danced her way into the hearts of the nation finishing runner up on Dancing With The Stars. 2020 saw her new live show FLUID debut at Darlinghurst Theatre in the Mardi Gras Festival. In 2021 Courtney hosted her own series of One Plus One (ABC TV) and launched the podcast Brenda, Call Me (NOVA) with best friend Vanity, and Building Queertopia (BBC Sounds). 2021 concluded with the release of Caught In The Act: A Memoir, which went into reprint on the first day of sales and quickly became a bestseller. Courtney has recently appeared as a finalist in Dancing with the Stars: All Stars (Ch7), Elvira in Blithe Spirit with Sydney Theatre Company and launched Courtney’s Closet (Ch10).
Magda Szubanski | Performer
Famous for making Australia laugh for over three decades, Magda Szubanski is perhaps best known for her role as ‘Mrs Hoggett’ in Babe and ‘Sharon’ in Kath & Kim, but more recently her advocacy in the Marriage Equality Campaign, for which Vogue Australia listed her as a “Game Changer”. Magda advocated tirelessly, making the case for equality with reason and dignity. Her most notable appearances included a pivotal debate on the ABC’s Q&A, interviews on A Current Affair and an address she gave at the National Press Club, ‘What it feels like to be an unwilling human guinea pig in a political experiment’. In 2012, Magda came out live on national TV and has been an active and high-profile campaigner for LGBTI+ rights ever since. She has been a patron of Twenty10, an ambassador for the Pinnacle Foundation and also volunteered for the Orlando Victims’ Fundraiser concerts in Melbourne and Sydney. She has spoken at numerous Marriage Equality fundraisers. Magda’s film credits include The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, alongside the late Steve Irwin and The Golden Compass, with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Australian films include Dr Plonk directed by Rolf de Heer, Bran Nu Dae by Rachel Perkins and starring alongside Ronan Keating in the musical comedy, Goddess in 2013. Magda’s many stage appearances include hit productions of Guys and Dolls, the late Nora Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, The Melbourne Theatre Company production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the national tour of Grease: The Arena Spectacular with John Farnham. In 2012 she performed alongside Geoffrey Rush and Hugh Sheridan in Simon Phillip’s A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Magda is also a best-selling, award-winning author, as seen from the release of her internationally acclaimed memoir Reckoning in late 2015.
Maria Thattil | Advocate
Australia’s most celebrated contemporary South-Asian media personality and Miss Universe Australia 2020, Maria Thattil is a staunch diversity advocate, media personality, commentator, panellist, writer, model, creator and speaker. Crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2020, Maria placed in the top 10 in the international pageant in 2021. She was only the third woman of colour to represent Australia in the pageant’s then 69-year history and was also the shortest international entrant standing at a proud 5’3. A current panellist on Channel 9’s ‘Talking Honey’ and ‘Today Extra,’ Maria is also a contributor/columnist for top lifestyle site 9Honey and national publication Stellar Magazine. Her appeal continues to escalate given her warm personality and ability to speak and write eloquently on a wide variety of issues. Many of Maria’s discussion topics and projects target social justice issues including anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, representation, youth empowerment, mental health, sexism, gender equality and LGBTIQIA+ issues. As an insightful and skilled opinion writer, she has also authored powerful pieces for a variety of reputable outlets. Leveraging her degrees in psychology and management in her creative endeavours, Maria has collaborated with major brands on panels, campaigns and content geared toward representation and equality. She has headlined national campaigns as a face and ambassador for iconic brands including Olay, Clinique, L’Oréal, Witchery, Adore Beauty, Elite Eleven, ulta3, Seamless1 and Eimele. Not only did she serve as the 2022 Mardi Gras Ambassador for Olay, but she was also the 2021 and 2022 Australian Open ambassador for Piper-Heidsieck. Maria also serves as a member of the United Nations Association of Australia. She aims to develop her career further in Australian entertainment with an ongoing interest in hosting, presenting and acting.
Teddy Cook | Activist
Teddy Cook has over 15 years of experience in community health and non-government sectors. Teddy is ACON’s Director, LGBTQ+ Community Health, where he oversees client services and LGBTQ+ health, equity, and harm reduction programs. Teddy specialises in community development, health promotion and program delivery, he led the development of TransHub and established ACON’s Trans Health Equity program. Teddy is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Kirby Institute UNSW and a queer man of trans experience.
Mon Schafter | Journalist
A Walkley Award winning journalist, Mon Schafter leads the content for ABCQueer – the ABC’s home of stories and advice for young LGBTQIA+ Australians. An experienced presenter and reporter, Mon has co-hosted the Mardi Gras parade on ABC TV and told countless stories for the 7.30 program and Hungry Beast. They also host the ABC podcast Innies + Outies, featuring uniquely Australian stories about coming out or staying in. Mon has interviewed Hollywood’s biggest names such as Jodie Foster and Margot Robbie, human rights pioneers like former High Court Justice Michael Kirby, and LGBTQIA+ trailblazers such as non-binary author, model and former Olympian Casey Legler – not to mention hundreds of everyday Australians with fascinating stories. Mon is the co-chair of Twenty10, a non-profit organisation that supports young LGBTQIA+ people in NSW, and in 2020 was named as one of Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTQI+ Leaders in the ‘Out50’ report.
Paul Capsis | Performer
One of Australia’s most versatile performers, Paul Capsis’ extensive career has included theatre, live concerts, cabaret, television, and film. Paul has worked with many leading Australian theatre companies (STC, MTC, Malthouse Theatre, STCSA, and Company B Belvoir) and has performed in Vienna, Valletta, Hong Kong, London, Edinburgh, and New York. In 2021, Paul was able to perform in two original works at Sydney Festival: The Last Season for Force Majeure; and Rapture: a Song Cycle of Desire, Ecstasy, Murder and Mayhem directed by Michael Kantor and co-starring iOTA. Previously in 2019, Paul captivated audiences with a sell-out season of his critically acclaimed show Paul Capsis with Jethro Woodward and the Fitzroy Youth Orchestra at Sydney Festival’s Spiegeltent and a sold-out season at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Paul’s other theatre credits include Barrie Kosky’s The Lost Echo (2006, STC) which earned him the 2007 Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play; Boulevard Delirium in Vienna and Australia, earning Paul the 2006 Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Concert Performer and the 2006 Green Room award for Best Cabaret Artiste for the Australian run. More recent theatre credits include The Bridge Of San Luis Rey (Brink Productions Adelaide), Lady Tabouli (Griffin Theatre), Resident Alien (45 Downstairs), Black Rider (Malthouse), Cabaret (Hayes Theatre and Athenaeum), Rumpelstiltskin (Windmill Theatre and Southbank Theatre London), The Wizard of Oz (Belvoir), Calpurnia Descending (Malthouse/STC), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Newtheatricals), Angela’s Kitchen (Griffin Theatre) for which he won the 2012 Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor and STC’s 2020 production of Terrence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. Paul has also appeared in a variety of television shows. More recently he has featured in the critically acclaimed miniseries Deep Water for SBS and Black Fella Films. Paul’s film credits include Ana Kokkinos’ 1998 film Head On which won him the 1998 Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actor and a nomination for an AFI Award in the same category. Paul’s other awards include the 2021 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award, the 2004 Green Room Award Best Cabaret Artiste, and the 2002 Helpmann Award for Best Live Musical Presentation for Capsis vs Capsis at the Sydney Opera House. This year Paul performed in the Victorian Opera’s production of The Who’s Tommy and the Perth International Cabaret Festival.
Katie Brennan | Athlete
Richmond Tiger’s captain, Katie Brennan is one of the AFLW’s elite. The gun forward and midfielder earned All Australian selection in 2021 and finished second in the club’s best and fairest award as the side’s leading goalkicker. Katie played in the inaugural season of AFLW as a marquee signing and captain of the Western Bulldogs. She led the Bulldogs to the 2017 Grand Final, kicked 15 goals in 13 games and was the leading goalkicker in 2019, despite an injury riddled time with the club. Katie signed with the Richmond Football Club at the end of 2019 season, joining the expansion club for a fresh start. The signing was historic as she was the first player to sign with the Richmond Football Club women’s team and was the first AFLW player to sign a two-year contract with a club. Brennan is the founder of her gym, KB.Performance, which looks to educate, inspire and empower women on and off the field in what is a women’s only elite performance space.
Vanity | Performer
One of Australia’s premiere drag queens, Vanity has played a pivotal role in the evolution of drag over the last 25 years. Starting in the 90’s, Vanity pioneered a whole new style of drag with her ultra-feminine look and mastery and knowledge of pop culture, ultimately changing the face of drag forever. In 2003 Vanity and Courtney Act began Wigs By Vanity largely inspired by RuPaul’s flawless lace-front wigs. Being a master wig stylist, Vanity travelled to China to work with manufacturing experts in the wig field. Together they created a new hand-made custom lace-front hairline to create a one-size-fits-most wig that was previously unavailable on the market. These days the world-famous wigs are worn by almost every drag Queen in the world, including RuPaul herself. Vanity has also had an extremely successful career in musical theatre. Working closely with the team that produced and created Priscilla the Musical production, Vanity worked her way up from a makeup artist to a department head, earning herself the title of Associate Makeup designer. She travelled the world with the show, working everywhere from Broadway in New York to the West End in London. If that’s not enough her skills in hair also allowed her to work on big budget Hollywood films shot here in Australia. Vanity is continually designing and launching new products in Wigs by Vanity line, performing in drag around the country alongside some of the world’s greatest Drag superstars, all while sharing stories and learning new things on her and Courtney Act’s wildly successful Brenda Call me podcast.
Daniel McDonald | Artist
A Gadigal and Wonnarua man who represents Aboriginal art through ‘Deadly Hand Talk’, Daniel is also dedicated to amplifying the voices of people living with disabilities in the arts and culture sectors. He is an LGBTQIA+ Indigenous man living with a disability (Deafness), a member of Sydney Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and a member of the Inclusion Disability Advisory Panel at Sydney City Council. To his knowledge, Daniel has been the only deaf Indigenous man living in the Darlinghurst/Paddington area over the past 30 years. He is proud that locals have been happy to pick up some Auslan sign language from him. Daniel is now working as an artist having culturally learnt a style of Aboriginal dot painting from his grandmother and his Aunty Mum Shirl. Daniel plans to continue delivering his Deadly Hand Talk Exhibition each year, showcasing his evolving style of works, and to continue his contribution to the Arts and Cultural sector as a queer person with a disability.
Deni Todorovic | Activist
A vocal activist for queer rights and human rights, Deni Todorovic pushes the narrative forward around topics of gender, sexuality, politics, race and equality. They are a respected voice within the industry, advocating for inclusivity and inclusive language. Deni identifies as non-binary and presents themself as a neutral combination of gender expression, of which they affectionately call ‘The Space In Between’. Deni has built an amazing online community, and uses their platform to entertain, educate and inspire. Deni has become a respected voice within the LBGTQIA+ and wider Australian community, and through the power of storytelling and content creation, is helping to create change and inspire more diversity and inclusion within society. Deni’s core values are to inform and inspire, whilst always remaining authentic to their sense of self. Deni hosts the Mamamia podcast ‘What Are You Wearing?’ with co-host Tamara Davis. They break down the wonderful world of fashion culture and give fashion tips and tricks that work for the needs of every body type. Deni also has 12 years of industry and freelance experience in fashion, with roles spanning across Fashion Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Celebrity Stylist, Creative Director, Content Creator and Host. Deni is now writing their first book – ‘Love This For You.
Bhenji Ra | Performer
An interdisciplinary artist and community leader whose practice combines dance, choreography, video and event making, Bhenji is the mother of the House of Sle, as well as the pioneer to the Australian ballroom community. She has been a pivotal voice in shaping the community and creating events such as the award-winning Sissy Ball, of which she was the director from 2018 to 2020. Her own artistic work is often concerned with the dissection of cultural theory and identity, centralizing her own personal histories as a tool to reframe performance. With an emphasis on occupation and at times collective action, Bhenji’s work plays with the multiplicities of spectacle while offering strategies to disrupt normativity and western dance convention. Collaboration is key to her work as she regularly accesses her own community as an essential critical voice. She is also a co-founding artist in the collective Club Ate.
Josh Cavallo | Athlete
An Australian professional footballer (soccer) who plays as a left back and central midfielder in the A-League for Adelaide United, Josh Cavallo has represented the Australian under-20 national team. In October 2021, Josh made sports history and international headlines by coming out as gay, making him the first in the Australian A-League and the only openly gay male professional footballer currently playing top-flight football in the world. The announcement caused shockwaves across the professional sports and footballing world, generating inspiring messages from the globe’s top players, clubs and leading sports organisations, including FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the Premier League and legendary players and managers such as Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, Lionel Messi, Marcus Rashford, Antoine Griezmann and Liverpool F.C.’s Jurgen Kloop. Josh’s release of his very personal coming out story and heartfelt video was praised by millions for his courage and bravery, making him the number one trending sports story in the world at the time, with over 20 million views. In January 2022, Josh signed a global deal with Ralph Lauren to launch the new RLX Clarus, a high-performance polo shirt created from natural fibres. Josh appeared on the cover of the January issue of GQ Australia magazine and showcased the RLX polo shirt at the 2022 Australian Open. On February 26, 2022, Josh and Adelaide United made sports history by staging the first official Pride Game in the Australian A-League. On the awards front, Josh was nominated for the prestigious 2022 British LGBTQ Awards and will be honoured in Berlin, Germany with the 2022 Soul of Stonewall Award.
Joel Creasey | Comedian
One of Australia’s most-popular, acclaimed and charmingly controversial stand-up comedians, radio and television presenters, Joel Creasey was described in the Daily Telegraph as “an unstoppable force and the crown prince of Aussie comedy”. In 2021, Joel made history by being the first openly Versace-wearing man to feature on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine. Joel took a huge leap into the radio world in 2020, becoming co-host of Australia’s number one national drive show ‘Kate, Tim & Joel’ on Nova. In 2021’s ACRA Awards the show was awarded the prize for being Best Syndicated Australian Program and Best Networked Program and Joel was personally recognised with the award for Best Newcomer. A self-described shameless “fame whore”, Joel has become a television staple on commercial networks and streaming platforms. Joel’s stand-up special ‘Thirsty’ is on Netflix’s Comedians of the World and was launched globally to rave reviews. A second broadcast stand-up special, ‘Fame Whore’, filmed at the iconic Sydney Opera House, features on Amazon Prime worldwide. Joel can frequently be seen in the ‘funnies chair’ on Network Ten’s The Project, and is the resident host of SBS’s ‘Eurovision’ and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. He has been a team captain in Network Ten’s ‘Show Me The Movie’ and has hosted the worldwide phenomenon dating show, ‘Take Me Out’ on Network Seven. Joel has harnessed his outrageous wit, sass and unrivalled storytelling abilities to cement himself as Australia’s undisputed ‘Crown Prince of Comedy’ and one of the most-sought after and hottest comedians in the world.
Kylie Kwong | Chef
An Australian-Chinese chef who uses food as a catalyst for positive social impact and cultural exchange, Kylie Kwong collaborates with artisans, farmers and the community to develop initiatives that empower people to rethink food through the lens of sustainability, Indigenous traditions and interconnectedness. This energy is driven by a philosophy that the best way to ‘care of self’ is to be connected to community. Kylie believes that when we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of others. Kylie has become synonymous with modern Chinese cooking in Australia. As a third- generation Australian, she has drawn on her southern Chinese heritage to reinterpret Cantonese cuisine, combining uniquely Australian ingredients with traditional Chinese cooking methods and flavours. Kylie’s food highlights partnerships with the local community and collaborations with long-term suppliers and producers, which feature on her daily menu at Lucky Kwong, her eatery in Sydney’s South Eveleigh. Kylie is also the ambassador for food, culture and community for the South Eveleigh precinct where she shares her love of food and family by connecting and working in the melting pot of Sydney’s Redfern. Her advocacy of sharing and sustainability also extends to her involvement with a number of community organisations including The Wayside Chapel, Two Good Co and Addison Road Community Organisation. On a global scale, Kylie is Parabere Forum’s Australian correspondent, an independent and not-for-profit platform featuring women’s views and voices on major food issues. Kylie continuously thinks critically about what it means to be a cook and how she can best serve the community around her.
Patrick Abboud | Journalist
A Walkley award winning journalist, filmmaker, TV presenter & podcaster, Patrick (Pat) Abboud’s documentaries uncover LGBTQIA+ stories you never knew existed from around the world. Pat’s unique LGBTQIA+ storytelling has also won 3 New York Festivals TV & Radio Awards, Best True Crime Podcast and the Creativity award at this year’s Australian Podcast Awards, a United Nations, Media Diversity Australia, and Kennedy Award. He’s been nominated for LGBTQIA+ Presenter of the Year twice, the prestigious Rose D’Or in Europe and SXSW’s Innovation Award. Pat is the founder of Only Human, a production company making original factual films, television, podcasts and interactive documentaries. Commissioned by Audible/ Amazon, Pat’s latest queer true crime series, ‘The Greatest Menace’ journeys behind the bars of “the world’s only gay prison” – a prison in a tiny Australian town with a dark secret. His investigation into what happened inside reveals the full story for the first time. Pat also currently reports and hosts for nightly TV program The Project (Network 10). He’s hosted Conversations on the ABC, Australia’s most downloaded podcast and just developed and hosted a new weekly documentary podcast for the ABC called Days Like These. Pat’s co-hosted the SBS TV Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras broadcast alongside Joel Creasy and Magda Szubanski annually. He founded irreverent news and current affairs program The Feed on SBS TV. He’s directed and fronted documentaries for Dateline. Pat’s unique insight on the arts and pop culture also saw him curate, write and host a special international queer movie show for VICE TV. As a correspondent, to date he’s explored 53 countries, scouring almost every continent for untold stories. As an interviewer, his popular TV series #PatChat where he sits down with pop stars, politicians and everyday people with extraordinary stories has clocked up more than 40 million views across social media. Recently voted one of Australia’s 50 most influential LGBTQIA+ voices, Pat is ambassador for Twenty10 and Wear it Purple advocating for LGBTQIA+ young people. Pat speaks Arabic and German and is Daddy to a two-year-old. When he’s not on TV or radio, you’ll find Pat in the kitchen cooking up a feast with his Middle Eastern family.
Electric Fields | Performers
Multi-award winning Electric Fields create a striking and haunting merging of living traditional culture with electronic music, bringing moments of breathtaking beauty and power to the stage. Featuring the rare and beautiful voice of Zaachariaha Fielding (who often sings in his traditional languages of the Anangu people) and the brilliance of producer and composer Michael Ross, Electric Fields music ranges from soulful pop, to epic-scale electronic works, through to intensely intimate story-songs. Finalists for the ARIA Awards 2019’s Best Australian Live Act, Electric Fields took out seven awards in 2019 – the 3 top spots for the National Live Music Awards: Best Live Act, Best Live Voice, and Electronic Act of the Year; the National Dreamtime Award; the Corner Award, and two South Australian Music Awards. Coming a close 2nd in Eurovision: Australia Decides, they trended worldwide on Twitter at number seven within an hour of their performance. Appearing in three editions of Vogue Magazine, they were named as ‘movers for the Next Gen’. They’ve played for Apple, the APRA Awards, Spotify’s Front Left showcase, Splendour in the Grass, Vogue Magazine, live at the AFL Grand Final, and again for the AFL Dreamtime Round. They opened the Mardi Gras Parade, Parrtjima Festival, headlined Garrmalang Festival, and closed the First Nations Fashion + Design show for Australian Fashion Week. They have played in 10 countries – throughout Asia, NZ, the UK, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the USA – and in July 2022 presented an awe-inspiring collaboration with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Georgie Stone | Actress
Georgie Stone is an actress, and an advocate for trans and gender diverse children and youth. She played Mackenzie Hargreaves on the long running television drama Neighbours, as the first trans actor in a trans role on the show, earning her a nomination for Best Daytime Soap Star at the Inside Soap Awards. Georgie has also contributed to the series as a writer and has been invited to participate in other script developments for drama projects. At just 20 years of age, Georgie was recognised nationally and globally for her activism. She has been awarded the Globe LGBTI Person of the Year, the Young People’s Human Rights Medal, the Young Voltaire Award, the Victorian Young Australian of the Year, the Australian LGBTI Hero of the Year, and the Medal of the Order of Australia OAM.
Mo’Ju | Singer/Songwriter
Mo’Ju has been called “one of Australia’s most exciting singer/songwriters” and their music has garnered critical, commercial and cultural influence. 2018’s release Native Tongue was one of the year’s most important and award-winning releases, impacting not only Mo’Ju’s life and music but also the Australian musical landscape. With the album being a career definer for the sing/songwriter, Mo’Ju had documented a deep and intimate exploration of family and identity, in particular her Wiradjuri and Filipino roots. The album represented a turning point in both Mo’Ju’s career and also the ways in which Australian songwriters are telling their stories. 2019 saw the release of a mini-album Ghost Town, reaching into an electronica inspired sound and 2021 sees a new E.P. ‘O.K.’, a vulnerable and introspective reflection on mental health and loneliness, which, through Mo’Ju’s provocative songwriting, offers up music as an antidote for sadness. Not only is Mo’Ju known for being a prolific recording artist but also for their hard work on the touring circuit. A career of which was at an all-time high for the artist right before the pandemic, having completed almost 200 shows on three continents in 18 months. Highlights included national tour supports for both The Hilltop Hoods and Paul Kelly, Festival dates including WOMAD and SXSW and two headline tours including dates at Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Arts Centre. In February of 2021 Mo’Ju returned to the stage with a full band for a one off show accompanied by the Victorian Orchestra at Sidney Myer Music Bowl. A thought-provoking and articulate speaker, Mo’Ju took on a BIGSOUND keynote address in 2019 and hosted her own panel in 2020. Currently Mo’Ju is working on a 4th studio album.
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