Haven’t you heard? WorldPride is finally here, taking place on the lands of the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidjigal, Darug, Dharawal people – the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin. We’re embracing this year’s festival theme, Gather. Dream. Amplify. to celebrate the enterprises, social support networks and organisations making waves for local LGBTQIA+SB communities.
Much more than a fabulous party, Mardi Gras has always been about activism, with a program built around protest, passion and progress. Mutual aid and advocacy has always been fundamental to the success and longevity of the festival and to the livelihoods of the great communities that uphold it.
Whether you’re already familiar or hearing their names for the first time, here are some of the organisations pushing for progress, support and better health outcomes for LGBTIQA+SB communities across the country; not just during Pride, but every damn day.
Black Rainbow is a 100% Indigenous owned-and-operated national volunteer social enterprise that strives to uplift the positive health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBQTIA+SB community located in the Top End capital, Darwin, Northern Territory.
The entity runs a range of community projects and initiatives to identify and address social and cultural determinants of wellbeing related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who identify as LGBQTIA+SB*.
The enterprise operates on a hybrid model of donations, fee-for-service and sales from educational materials and services. To date, Black Rainbow has supported several community initiatives and outreach activities, including a microgrants program to support social events and gatherings, pre-paid data and phone credit to those in need, a Futures Fund, an annual glossary poster series (returning soon) and a pilot project with the Tiwi Island Sistergirls.
*The abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more, with the addition of Sistergirl and Brotherboy. Sistergirl is a term used to describe gender diverse people who have a female spirit and take on female roles in the community. Brotherboy is a term used to describe gender diverse people who have a male spirit and take on male roles in the community. (Sydney WorldPride Glossary, 20234)
With a focus on strength, conditioning and olympic weightlifting, Pony Club Gym is a Naarm-based fitness space for those who might typically struggle to access a conventional gym setting. The venue is wheelchair accessible, inclusive and adaptive, and offers a variety of specialist classes and coaching to suit a range of interests.
Pony Club Gym believes that everyone should have access to strength, fitness and wellbeing regardless of their body size, gender, age, sexuality, race, ability and or identity. As an allied-health hub and trauma-informed training facility, the gym is redefining what it means to be strong.
Flat Out is a community organisation that has existed for over 30 years, providing support and advocacy to criminalised trans and cis women, and other trans and gender diverse people. The independent, not for profit organisation aims to prevent women and trans and gender-diverse people from entering and returning to prison.
Their project “Beyond Bricks and Bars” provides direct support to trans and gender diverse people in prison, at risk of incarceration, and those returning to their communities, while also providing them with employment opportunities as they find their feet.
Flat Out are currently 65% of the way towards their crowdfunding goal of $200,000 to make sure the project is able to appropriately pay current staff, employ both a steering committee and front line staff with lived experience of the prison system to provide and direct this vital support work in 2023.
QLife provides anonymous and free LGBTI peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Run by hundreds of trained and highly-experienced, LGBTIQ+ staff and volunteers, the organisation delivers both telephone and web chat support, from 3pm until midnight, 365 days a year.
While the national service is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, QLife relies on volunteers and generous donations from the community to meet growing demands.
These are just a few of the great communities making an impact across the country, with countless many more putting in the passion and paperwork every single day. As allies and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we encourage you to join us; to gather, dream and amplify what’s important to you “whilst ensuring that others can turn their volumes up” (Sydney WorldPride, 2023).
Passionfruit acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, where we work, write, play and mourn. We pay respect to Elders past and present - and recognise their connections to land, sea and community, with knowledge and stories that have been handed down since time immemorial. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture today. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.