Photos: GLAAD celebrates Sydney Mardi Gras with Australian LGBTIQ community

GLAAD wrapped up its visit to Australia to the bang of confetti cannon, marching in the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, presenting to Australian media executives, media appearances, and sharing best practices with Australian LGBTIQ organizations.

Ray Bradford, Director of Entertainment Media, and Ross Murray, Director of Programs, Global and US South, were featured in In Conversation with GLAAD: Accelerating LGBTIQ Acceptance Through the Media. The conversation centered on inclusivity and representation in media, the harmful tropes that continue to feed into prejudice and violence for the LGBTIQ community. The panel was sponsored by Queer Screen, Screen NSW, and ACON. 

Fellow panelists Benjamin Law and Jordan Raskopoulos are both taking that misrepresentation on directly. Benjamin is the creator of the new dark comedy, The Family Law, loosely based on Benjamin’s childhood, featuring a Chinese-Australian family whose son, who happens to also be named Ben, who is on the verge of discovering his sexual orientation. It’s one of very few representations of Asian LGBTIQ characters on Australian television.

Jordan is a comedian and openly trans frontwoman for The Axis of Awesome. Jordan shared her journey of coming out to bandmates and fans, and incorporating her story into her shows. She used YouTube to talk about her transition to fans of the band.

GLAAD also met individually and in forums with executives, producers, and leaders in Australian film, television, and advertising. GLAAD presented data on acceptance from the Accelerating Acceptance report, talking about how understanding the perception of the non-LGBTIQ community will help to shape understanding and acceptance. GLAAD also talked through its two signature entertainment reports, Where We Are On Television and the Studio Responsibility Index. Joining with Australian LGBTIQ organizations, GLAAD called on Australian media to include representations of LGBTIQ people that are fair, accurate, and inclusive.

Several Australian organizations talked about how to replicate the work of GLAAD in Australia. Ray and Ross spent several days with the leadership of the Australian LGBTI Media Centre, explaining the creation of the entertainment reports and GLAAD strategy of accelerating acceptance. The Australian LGBTI Media Centre intends to create resources for Australian media based on GLAAD resources.

GLAAD engaged in local efforts to accelerate acceptance, attending the inaugural Australian LGBTI Awards. GLAAD was a sponsor of the “Community Initiative of the Year” award, which was presented to Australian Marriage Equality.

Ray and Ross sat for a one-hour interview with JOY 94.9, Australia’s only national radio station focused on the LGBTIQ community, appearing on Word for Word with host Dean Beck. The interview included discussion about the state of LGBTIQ representation in the media, the roots of GLAAD’s global work, and GLAAD’s work with partners in Australia. Listen to the interview here.

GLAAD also attended a Pride in Sport soccer match between the Sydney Football Club and the Melbourne Victory, with both teams wearing rainbow laces. Local LGBTQI clubs Sydney Rangers Football Club and The Flying Bats Women's Soccer Club handed out rainbow laces & "Pride in Sport" promo material and carried a large Rainbow banner to the middle of the field to greet the incoming before the players enter the field in full view of the entire stadium.

Finally, GLAAD closed out its time in Sydney marching in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, marching with ACON, Australia’s LGBTIQ health organization. The Mardi Gras Parade is Australia’s premiere LGBTIQ event, similar to Pride events in the United States. After marching, Ray and Ross were interviewed at the SBS studio stage along the parade route, talking about GLAAD’s work and the representation of LGBTIQ people in Australian Media.

GLAAD’s tour of Australia was conducted through our Global Voices and Entertainment Media programs, and our primary hosts were Queer Screen, Screen NSW and ACON.