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Sydney WorldPride 2023 will showcase the city’s iconic venues and celebrate the LGBT community: Kate Wickett

“This will be an LGBTQI event the size of which has never been staged in the Southern Hemisphere before,” proclaims Sydney WorldPride 2023 CEO Kate Wickett.

Usually, WorldPride takes place during Pride Month in June. In the southern hemisphere, we do things a little differently.

From February 17 to March 5 next year, Sydney WorldPride will exist in the same footprint as Mardi Gras.

“We incorporate all the fabulous Mardi Gras events that are always happening. So it’s basically a mega Mardi Gras, if you will,” says Wickett.

In addition to regular Mardi Gras events, Wickett says, “We have over 13 additional major events. There are 90 WorldPride arts events. There is a WorldPride sports program. There are up to 300 community events”.

The human rights conference will be the centerpiece

The centerpiece of Sydney WorldPride will be the Human Rights Conference (March 1-March 3).

Wickett explains that it will be similar to South by Southwest or a TEDx conference, and will feature “politicians, activists, the community, businesses, all together under one roof, where we can discuss and debate ideas. , all in pursuit of human rights and equality.

Wickett believes in the need for WorldPride to “highlight [inequality] around the world, as there remain “many issues facing LGBTQI communities in Australia and around the world”.

WorldPride in iconic Sydney locations

In addition to the Human Rights Conference, events will also take place across the city.

“We’re actually closing some iconic locations,” Wickett says. We are closing Bondi Beach and we are also closing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, where 50,000 people marched across the bridge in solidarity with our community and for human rights.

Riley Street and Crown Street will also be closed to vehicles and turned into “Pride Villages” for nine days.

During the last two days of the festival, Oxford Street will be closed to vehicles, from Hyde Park to Taylor Square.

According to Wickett, the closed streets will have stalls and market stalls, with food, drink and entertainment.

There will also be pop-up screens, which means you can watch the most important events, such as the opening ceremony, live in the street, for free.

Create a sense of belonging to a community

Wickett says the goal is to “create a sense of a community center where people can come and meet and drink and eat and you know, watch live music or watch live performances and really rejuvenate that kind of neighborhood d ‘Oxford St.’

Wickett explains: “We work very closely with the City of Sydney and we work very closely with the chamber of business here around Oxford Street, and I’m so excited that business, but also the community, is coming back and getting better. unite on what our home really is.

“We’re going to work closely with our community to really bring these Pride Villages to life.”

Oxford Street is a special place for Wickett, who is the first ever female CEO of a WorldPride.

A self-proclaimed ‘girl from Adelaide’, the former drag king recalled the first time she saw Oxford Street when she was 18. “It was my first Mardi Gras…someone said to me, you have to come see Mardi Gras.

“The Wednesday before Mardi Gras a friend of mine jumped out of a taxi outside the Columbia on Crown and Oxford Street and I looked up that street and saw the pride flags. I saw bears, I saw dykes, I saw transgender people, I saw all kinds of different people, and it was actually extremely overwhelming for me. For the first time in my life, I felt part of the community and it was a pivotal moment in my life.

“That’s what I felt. I found my tribe.

WorldPride was founded in 2000

WorldPride started in 2000 in Rome. Since then it has been held in London, Toronto, Madrid, New York and most recently in Copenhagen.

Speaking of the bid to host WorldPride, Wickett said, “It’s like the Olympics! You have to bid to host WorldPride and we did that in 2019. And we managed to win WorldPride, which was fantastic.

Wickett says she is very excited about “bringing together a very diverse group of our community from around the world. So people from all walks of life come to celebrate and defend our rights, but also to introduce our First Nations cultures to the world and show our beautiful city to the world.

For more information on Sydney WorldPride 2023 and its mechanics, visit sydneyworldpride.com