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Pride of place: Commemorating the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras

Remembering the past, shaping our futures: 25 – 26 June
The Ally Network and the University are proud to join hands with members of the Mardi Gras 78ers Collective, to host an international academic conference commemorating 40 years of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The Mardi Gras 40th anniversary conference will be held on the anniversary of the 1978 rally and protest that evolved into Sydney’s world-famous Mardi Gras.

Co-sponsored by the Ally Network, the 78ers, Sydney Pride History, the University’s Culture Strategy, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the conference will explore themes of intergenerational lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer experience, and celebrate the evolving purpose, identity and influence of Mardi Gras within the LGBTIQ community. The relationship between LGBTIQ politics and Indigenous Australians, as well as multi-ethnic communities, will be a focus of conference discussion.

Connect and network with a diverse group of people from the University of Sydney, City of Sydney, and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, as well as community organisations, other institutions and government agencies. 

For more information on the conference speakers and talks, view the conference schedule (PDF, 524KB). 


  • $50 for a 2-day conference

Please note that the conference sponsors support complimentary attendance for eligible individuals or eligible members of community organisations. Please contact us directly to ask about eligibility at

Supporting students 

To celebrate the historic contributions of the 78ers, the University of Sydney is establishing the 78ers Legacy Fund. By donating to the fund, you will support students interested in advancing gender, social, cultural and sexual equality, inclusion and diversity. 

Conference acknowledgement

It is with deep respect that we acknowledge that the campuses of the University of Sydney are located on the traditional lands of the Cadigal, Gundungurra, Duruk, and Wangal Peoples of the Eora Nation. We would like to pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and to extend this respect to Aboriginal people, colleagues, staff and students participating in and attending this conference. Indigenous knowledge informs our values, our learning, and our research. Our values have, in turn, informed our curation of the University’s conference commemorating 40 years of the Mardi Gras in Sydney. The experiences of Indigenous LGBTIQ Peoples are integral to our histories, and to our thinking about Australian LGBTIQ futures. 

The University has a unique institutional role as an academic space that has nurtured gay and lesbian activism since the 1970s, with many distinguished LGBTIQ alumni and scholars, past and present. In that tradition, all fora at this year’s conference are committed to your inclusion, to the open expression of your diverse voices, and to listening respectfully to your contributions.

Speaker line-up

Dennis is an emeritus professor and professorial fellow in the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He has written 14 books exploring sexuality and politics globally. He was President of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific between 2001 and 2005 and a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society. He is a patron of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Australia, a Member of the Order of Australia, and the 2013 recipient of the Simon and Gagnon Award for contributions to sexualities scholarship.

Michelle is an associate professor of modern history at Macquarie University. She is the author of two books and her radio documentary (produced with Catherine Freyne and Timothy Nicastri), ‘Public Intimacies: the 1974 Royal Commission on Human Relationships’ won the 2014 NSW Premier’s Multimedia History Prize. Michelle has held research fellowships at the National Archives of Australia and the National Library of Australia, and she is a Chief Investigator (with Barbara Baird, Leigh Boucher and Robert Reynolds) on the ARC-funded project ‘Gender and Sexual Politics: Changing Citizenship in Australia since 1969’.

An original 78er, Frank is a retired teacher and trade union officer activist. After teaching maths for 25 years, Frank was elected as an organiser for the NSW Teachers Federation where he took on the extra role of looking after the rights of gay and lesbian teachers. At the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he was in the forefront of trade union policies. He helped organise the Workers Out! Conference in 2002 and has volunteered at more than 30 Mardi Gras parades.


Thomas is a lecturer in Japanese Studies in the Department of International Studies at Macquarie University. Thomas’s scholarly research focuses upon the construction of desire within the Japanese gay media landscape. In recent years, Thomas has broadened his research focus to investigate the transnational circulation of queer Japanese popular culture throughout East and Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in such scholarly journals as Japan Forum, East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, Language and Sexuality, and ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies. He was awarded the 2016 Ian Nish Prize by the British Association for Japanese Studies.

Rillark is a final year PhD candidate in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Their research looks at exogenous testosterone use by trans, transgender, genderqueer and non-binary people articulated through thirty qualitative interviews conducted with trans and non-binary people who use, have used or who have seriously considered using testosterone in Australia. Rillark’s thesis aims to bring together Trans Studies and Science and Technology Studies to illuminate the novel ways that trans and non-binary people negotiate testosterone that goes beyond current biomedical and social understandings of the substance.


Leigh is a senior lecturer in modern history at Macquarie University. His research centres on the construction and representation of difference in liberal democratic political and popular cultures. His previous research has examined the relationship between citizenship and sovereignty in settler colonial political cultures, contestations over masculinity in the representation of the AFL, and the impact of changing ideas about sexuality on the operation of citizenship in late-modern Australia.

Paul is a research associate at Swinburne University's Department of Media and Communication. He researches digital media and cultures of care, including LGBTIQ young people's practices of peer-based support. His work centres on uses of digital media for practices of intimacy, friendship and wellbeing.

Matthew is a third year PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, where he is completing his thesis on letter writing and queer modernism.

Dawn is a psychologist and a Jewish lesbian. An early advocate for homosexuality in the Australian Jewish community, in 1990 she debated two rabbis in the first public forum of its kind in the Jewish community. A decade later, she co-founded the activist group, Dayenu, initiating a highly successful campaign for the inclusion of Jewish lesbians and gays that culminated in the first large Jewish float in Mardi Gras. Dawn has been active in the marriage equality fight, contributing to the 1993 Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby forums and position paper on relationship recognition. In April this year, she married her partner of 34 years, Robyn.

Rob is an associate professor at The University of Western Australia. He is a chief investigator on the Queer Generations ARC Discovery Project (2015-18) examining the history and conditions of LGBTQI youth sexuality support and a Discovery Project (2018-20) investigating representations of gender and sexual diversity in Australian screen media. His Recent books include: Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives? (2012), Vulnerability and Exposure: Footballer Scandals, Masculinity and Ethics (2015); Digital Identities: Creating and Communicating the Online Self (2016) and (forthcoming in 2018) Emergent Identities: New Sexualities, Gender and Relationships in a Digital Era.

Australia's 2nd best David Bowie impersonator, Marlena Dalí is the gutsy immigrant-carny-scumbag brimming with gusto. Former Venice Beach Freakshow snake charmer, and current Juggalx heartthrob, their nebulous gender plays a major role in their ambitious and boundary-breaking works. They are the creator, producer, and emcee for The Oyster Club: Glamdrogynous Freakshow, a monthly LGBTIQ variety night. Marlena is also the creator, producer, and director of Cabaret Sasquatch, a grassroots arts collective, and has also curated the performances for Heaps Gay’s events as a part of Sydney Mardi Gras 2018.

Arpita is a PhD candidate in the gender and cultural studies department at the University of Sydney. Her academic interests include gender, sexuality, intersex issues, disability and biopolitics. She has worked as an activist and practitioner in South and Southeast Asia on gender-based violence and sexuality rights. Her most recent scholarly publication is a practitioner journal that she edited on the theme 'Women with Disabilities: Disabled, Sexual, Reproductive'.

Kamalika is an accountant and business adviser by trade with an entrepreneurial spirit. Drawing on her business acumen, analytical skills and personal migration experience, she recently co-founded a non-profit organisation called “SheQu”, with the mission to help and support Queer Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She is also a passionate public speaker through her role as Board Secretary for Professional Toastmaster Club, Sydney.

Ken became involved in socialist, environmental and gay liberation politics during his school years, and marched in the first Mardi Gras parade in 1978. He has been active in the development of the Gay Trade Unionists' Group, as well as the lesbian and gay conferences in postal and public service unions. After 1978, he worked to support people with HIV, working with Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) and with unions in southern Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific. In 2002, he helped organise the international Workers Out! conference in Sydney. 

An original 78er, Peter was a foundation member of CAMP Inc (Campaign Against Moral Persecution) – the first homosexual rights movement in Australia. In 1973 he established the Phone-A-Friend program, the precursor of current the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service. He has served roles throughout his career to support the LGBTIQ community, including working as a health promotion coordinator at the Bankstown Community Health Centre and an Immigration advisor, at the NSW Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force.


Kat is a senior event producer specialising in the music and youth market, she has over a decade of experience with multiple brands, such as Junkee, Electronic Music Conference, Red Bull Music, Splendour in the Grass, Semi Permanent and FBi Radio. She is also the founder and director of Heaps Gay, an all-inclusive community who throw art, music and charity events around Australia. Kat is on the Board of Directors for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, a fortnightly guest presenter on FBi Radio in Sydney, and has recently been appointed to the City of Sydney's Nightlife and Creative Sector Advisory Panel.


Kerryn is a Research Associate at the Centre for Social Research in Health at the University of New South Wales. Her doctoral research, awarded in 2016, examined Sydney's local drag king culture from the perspective of a scene fading from cultural view, and her first monograph, Intimate Investments in Drag King Cultures: The Rise and Fall of Lesbian Social Scenes, is currently under contract with Palgrave Macmillan. Kerryn’s research interests lie broadly in LGBTIQ social scenes and practices, social justice initiatives around substance use among same-sex attracted and sex/gender diverse people, and innovative approaches to blood-borne virus prevention and treatment.


Quinn is a researcher, writer, and award-winning poet whose work lies at the nexus of trans, queer and feminist theories of the body, autobiography, and philosophy. Eades is published nationally and internationally, and is the author of all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body, and Rallying, which has been shortlisted for the 2018 Mary Gilmore Prize for poetry. He is the winner of the 2017 Arts Queensland XYZ Award for Innovation in Spoken Word, and is currently working on a book-length collection of fragments and related theatre show written from the transitioning body, titled Transpositions. 


Alison Eaton is a policy register administrator at the University of Sydney and a regular volunteer of Rainbow Families, in which she sits on the board. She has a particular interest in social justice issues and a passion for supporting families, drawing on her own experience as a mother of five diverse people, her indigenous heritage and involvement in the Rainbow Families community programs. She has been involved in LGBTQI antenatal classes, Making Rainbow Families Seminars, Family Pride Day, and of course Mardi Gras.

Matthew is a senior lecturer in the accounting discipline at the University of Sydney. He completed a PhD by research in 2012 which focused on exploring the detail and motivations behind the emergence of water management and accounting systems in organisations operating in the Sydney region during a period of significant drought (to 2010). Prior to academia, Matthew has worked as a finance manager, company secretary, external auditor and internal auditor including experience within a medium-sized publicly listed entity, and over seven years' experience in two chartered accounting firms in Australia and Solomon Islands.

Jan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. His research interests include gender/sexuality and space, intimacies and relationships, queer theory, social policy, and citizenship. His current research project explores the intersections between urban planning, state policy and queer life by drawing on sexual and gender minorities’ lived experiences of belonging and exclusion in contemporary Sydney. He holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from University College Maastricht and a Master of Cultural Studies from the University of Sydney.

DJ Sveta is one of Australia’s most well-known queer DJs, and co-founder of the Kingki Kingdom/Queer Central drag king events that ran for more than a decade. She is also a tireless event producer of Sydney’s LGBTIQ party scene and mentor to emerging talent for almost two decades. From Sydney’s fiercest and dearest club nights through to the underground parties and beyond, Sveta has also pioneered club night Sissy, held residencies have spanned The Hellfire Club through to Chinese Laundry, and spun at iconic parties, such as Sydney Mardi Gras, Sleaze, and various festivals.

Mark is a social anthropologist and teacher, having worked as a teacher and workplace trainer in intercultural communication in a number of countries including Zimbabwe, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, Indonesia and Mongolia. He currently teaches English as a second language at the Centre for English Teaching at the University of Sydney where he is a coordinator of the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Project – an outreach of the university to the community. In June 1978, in Sydney, he participated in the first Mardi Gras and was part of the momentous period of mass civil unrest in Sydney that demanded justice and basic human rights for sexual minorities.

Katherine Giunta is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney. She has recently completed 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork with LGBTIQ and Queer Sydneysiders, focusing on those who identify as femme and/or feminine. Her research is informed by queer studies and critical femininity studies in anthropology.

An experienced social researcher, Rebecca’s work focuses on the clinical encounter, domestic violence and the needs of particular communities, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees and Humanitarian Entrants, and LGBTIQ communities. Having worked extensively in clinical and community settings, she is experienced in applied research and knowledge translation and has contributed to practice, program and policy development.


Jen is the General Manager of quality, outcomes and research at Relationships Australia NSW. She has worked as a social work practitioner, academic, adult educator and senior manager in non-government family and community support organisations for over 30 years. Until December 2017, Jen was the lead writer and policy analyst for diversity issues at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. She has also conducted numerous community and stakeholder consultations addressing complex intersectional issues.


Melissa is a senior lecturer and associate dean of undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is currently completing a monograph on the closet after queer theory; two publications drawn from that project are an essay in modernity on Dog Day Afternoon, sexual modernity, and figurability (2016) and as an essay on queer theory and post-structuralism that appeared in Scott Herring’s Cambridge Companion to American Gay and Lesbian Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Her article on Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell’s library book alterations was recently published in Angelaki in a special issue on Queer Objects.

After graduating from her studies at the National Art School, the College of Fine Arts and the Sydney College of the Arts, C.Moore became a commercial photographer and artist. Film was her method of documentation and as a freelance female feminist photographer for the Sydney Star Observer. Facebook (@CMoore Hardy) and Instagram (@cmooresydney) are now her gallery spaces.

Brett Hatfield is a refugee health nurse from the NSW Refugee Health Service and plays a role in supporting newly arrived refugees in integrating into Australia’s healthcare system. Brett has a master’s in international public health from the University of Sydney and has worked in Peru and Tanzania in health service delivery over his nursing career. Within his role at Refugee Health, he is passionate about raising awareness and overall support for sexual and gender diverse people seeking asylum in Australia.

For almost 30 years, Gail ran Sydney’s Feminist Bookshop with her two sisters before retiring in 2011. The bookshop was a renowned LGBTIQ institution – a centre of information, resources and a supportive safe space for Sydney’s LGBTIQ community. She also received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2006 for her contribution to the community and mentoring emerging writers. An original ‘78er, Gail marched in the first Mardi Gras parade and has been a lifelong activist for her community, both feminist and queer.

Siobhan Irving is an executive committee member of Sydney Queer Muslims, where she serves as the non-profit group’s academic advisor. Her PhD study focused on perceptions of sexuality and sexual healthcare within Muslim communities in Singapore and Sydney. Drawing upon research that explored the experiences of Muslims of diverse genders and sexualities, Siobhan helps develop outreach programs and activities at Sydney Queer Muslims to help the group better support LGBTIQ Muslims.

Jessica is a PhD candidate at La Trobe University. She is the Representative for the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) in Oceania and a rescuer in the Coalition Against Duck Shooting. Jessica is also an editor for the journal Writing from Below, a research assistant for the La Trobe Violence Against Women Network (LAVAWN) and the co-convenor of the La Trobe Animal Studies Association (LASA).

Peter is an emeritus professor of Thai history and cultural studies in the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. Over the past 30 years, he has written extensively on modern Thai cultural history, with special interests in religion, sexuality and critical approaches to Asian histories and cultures. Peter is a founding member of the editorial collective of Hong Kong University Press’s Queer Asia monograph series, and he established the Thai Rainbow Archives Project, which with support from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, has collected and digitised Thai gay, lesbian, and transgender magazines and community organisation newsletters. His recent books include Queer Bangkok: 21st Century Markets, Media and Rights (2011), The Language of Sex and Sexuality in Thailand (2012) and First Queer Voices from Thailand: Uncle Go’s Advice Columns for Gays, Lesbians and Kathoeys (2016). He is currently writing a book on the political dimensions of new cults of wealth and forms of non-orthodox ritual in Thailand.

Laura has a PhD in English and Gender Studies from the University of New South Wales and has published papers on the relationship between the trope of hell and antipodean colonial identity from pre-modern literature to contemporary Australian and New Zealand representations. Laura also teaches at the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology on women’s and gender Studies, Australian literature, politics and social inquiry.

Randa is the Chief Executive Officer of the Arab Council Australia and is a key driver of the organisation’s success as a contributor to policy dialogue in Australia and abroad. During her 30 years in community leadership posts, she has been at the forefront of critical community engagement and dialogue on issues such as divisive political discourse, the status of women and inclusion. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Premier’s Council for Women, Premier’s Crime Prevention Council, Anti-Poverty Week, the NSW State Library Cultural and Linguistic Advisory Board, and the Western Sydney Community Forum Board. She is a jury member of the Sydney Peace Prize.

Paul is a researcher and arts writer based in Sydney, currently completing his PhD in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney titled S’uburban Queer: Infrastructure and Art in Greater Western Sydney’.

Lisa Kemball, aka D-Vinyl, is one of Sydney’s pioneering drag kings, seen on the stage as early as 1998. Together with DJ Kate Monroe, D-Vinyl founded drag king competition event Drag Kings Sydney (DKSY), running at ARQ between 1999 and 2000. An instant success, DKSY is widely credited as mobilising interest in the creation of Sydney’s own distinctive drag king scene. Lisa also designed lighting for many lesbian/queer events, including On the Other Side and the girl’s space at Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Having retired from drag in 2010, Lisa now runs a successful pet sitting service called Sherriff About Town.

Kim recently completed his PhD in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, on the life and career of the Australian soprano Marie Collier (1927-1971). His research interests include opera as a social phenomenon in Australia and the history of sexuality.

Mark is the associate director of Pride in Diversity. He served as the Australian Executive Sponsor of the LGBTIQ community during his 35-year career at IBM and sat on the Pride in Diversity Advisory Forum. Mark has also held a number of board positions including Mid-Summa Festival, the Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce, and the HeadOn Foundation and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His other interests include current affairs, history, travel, scuba diving, skiing and spending time with his three (nearly-grownup) children.

Benjamin is a TV screenwriter, columnist, journalist and author of The Family Law (2010), Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) and the Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, Moral Panic 101 (2017). His books have been nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards, and The Family Law is now an award-winning SBS TV series that he created and co-writes.

Fiona McGregor is a Sydney writer and performance artist. She has published five books including Strange Museums, a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland. Her latest novel Indelible Ink won Age Book of the Year. She writes essays, articles and reviews for The Monthly, The Saturday Paper, Overland, RealTime and Running Dog. Fiona’s performance, prioritising endurance and durational forms, has been presented internationally. Recent group shows include ‘Performance Presence/Video Time’ at Australian Experimental Arts Foundation in Adelaide. Since the 90s, Fiona has performed and curated in Sydney’s queer alternative culture, currently co-producing dance party UNDEAD, the annual fundraiser for Unharm.


Dorothy is a Minister in the Uniting Church in Australia. For 10 years she was Minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church in central Sydney and then National Director for Mission for Uniting Church. She is now retired and Minister-in-Association with the Uniting Church in Waterloo and co-edits the South Sydney Herald.

Oscar Monaghan is a scholar from the Guugu Yimithirr people of far north Queensland. Oscar has lived, worked and studied on Gadigal land since 2009, when they came to Sydney University as an undergraduate studying Arts and Law. They were appointed to the University of Sydney Law School as a Wingara Mura Postgraduate Fellow in 2017; their current research focuses on the relationship between property law and the production of heteronormativity in the Australian settler colonial context.

Julie is a social researcher at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health. Her research examines avoidable health differences that put socially disadvantaged people and communities at a further disadvantage. Julie has a long history of research on the health of sexual minority women. She is the joint coordinator of SWASH, the longest-running survey of lesbian, bisexual and queer women's health, and leads a program of research on LBQ women and smoking (some of which informed ACON’s Smoke Free Still Fierce smoking cessation campaign for LBQ women).

Chris is a senior Human Resources leader with more than 20 years’ experience in the finance and insurance industry, currently the senior relationship manager of Pride in Diversity. He was also a foundation committee member of the Commonwealth Bank’s LGBTI network, Unity. Chris has degrees in theology, adult education and an MBA from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

Christy Newman is an associate professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health, at the University of New South Wales. Drawing on her background in media communications and health sociology, Christy examines both lived experiences and cultural representations of health, sexuality and relationships across a range of collaborative, interdisciplinary projects. She is particularly interested in understanding how concepts of inclusivity and diversity are conceptualised and addressed within health policy and practice, especially in the fields of sexual and reproductive health, blood-borne virus prevention and care, child and family wellbeing, mental health, cancer care, migrant and refugee health, and Aboriginal health.

Felicity Nicol is an award-winning performance director and artistic director. A graduate of NIDA, she has gone on to work with some of the most prominent artists around the world, including Ontroerend Goed (Belgium), Punchdrunk & Gecko Physical Theatre (UK), Illutron (Denmark) and Mammalian Diving Reflex (Canada). Felicity holds a particular interest in working with young people, specifically queer young people and young people experiencing mental health issues. This interest has led her to working with Spark Youth Theatre and the Australian Theatre for Young People, Mit Ohnes Alles (Germany), The Torontonians (Canada) and Company3 (UK). Felicity’s mission as an artist is to interrupt people’s assumptions about the world and the people we share it with in order to bring these into question. By focusing on those traditionally left out of mainstream narratives, she attempts to redistribute cultural attention towards those who need it most.

Jacqueline first worked as a lawyer, specialising in family law, before attending rabbinical school at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. She received a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and was ordained as a rabbi in 1998, beginning work at Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney, the same year. Jacqueline was the first female rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue and the third Australian-born woman to be ordained as a rabbi. An active leader in the Synagogue’s social justice programs, she believes in the centrality and importance of community and providing a place where people feel valued, included and treasured.

Maree is a lawyer working at a trade union-owned law firm. She is also a Director of Teachers Mutual Bank. Maree is a former industrial officer and president of the NSW Teachers Federation. In 2008, Maree left her role at the Teachers Federation to become the Director/Solicitor of the Welfare Rights Centre assisting people who need access to social security.

Nicolas has more than 25 years’ experience in the public and community health sectors. For the last nine years he has been the CEO of ACON, NSW’s leading health promotion organisation that specialises in HIV and LGBTIQ health. Prior to this role, Nicolas worked in senior policy roles for NSW Health and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet Office. He also has a background in social marketing campaign management and public relations.

Heath Paynter is the Deputy CEO of the Australian Federation of AID Organisations (AFAO) – Australia’s peak HIV organisation. Heath manages AFAO’s Australia program which delivers thought leadership, strategy government relations, policy advice and nationally coordinated health promotion to support Australia in meeting its target of ending HIV transmission. AFAO’s international program supports stronger civil society responses to HIV, health and human rights, and contributes to effective policy engagement in Asia and the Pacific.

Robyn has been a lesbian feminist activist since the early ‘70s. She came close to losing her teaching position at an Anglican secondary school when a photo of her being grabbed by police at the first Mardi Gras was splashed across the newspaper. She started the first Lesbian Mothers Group in 1976 to fight lesbians losing their children in custody cases. In 1978 she started the first Lesbian Teachers Group to support lesbian teachers and provide a more supportive school environment for lesbian teachers and students. Her early politics in CAMP NSW was depicted in the recent telemovie Riot. She continues to be involved in lesbian feminist politics on ageing.

Susan Potter is a film studies lecturer at the University of Sydney and President of Women and Film History International network. Her essays have been published in Camera Obscura, Framework, and Screen. Her first book, Queer Timing: The Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema (University of Illinois Press) will be released in 2019.

Kane is an associate professor in gender and cultural studies at the University of Sydney. Over the past two decades, he has led efforts to treat the embodied practices and pleasures of those at risk of HIV and drug harm as crucial for the renovation of public health strategies internationally – an approach he terms ‘counterpublic health’. He served on the board of ACON between 2000 and 2003, was the original convenor of the queer contingent of Unharm between 2016 and 2018 and is the author of Pleasure Consuming Medicine: the queer politics of drugs (2009); Plastic Water (with Hawkins & Potter, 2015); and The Gay Science: Intimate experiments with the problem of HIV (2018). 

Victoria Rawlings is an academic fellow at the University of Sydney. Her research and teaching focuses on education and the ways that gender and sexuality play a role in school environments. She also focuses on the life worlds of young people and how these are impacted by schooling, gender and sexuality. Prior to her appointment at the University of Sydney, she was a senior research associate at Lancaster University in the UK, researching why LGBTQ youth have higher rates of self-harm and suicidal feelings than heterosexual or cisgender youth.

Niamh is an associate professor in social science in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales.  Her research examines the connections between public health and the public it tries to regulate and who try to shape public health actions. This has involved researching HIV prevention as well as public health preparedness for emerging infectious disease. She is the co-author of three books: Socialising the Biomedical Turn in HIV Prevention with Susan Kippax; Escape Routes: Control and Subversion in the 21st Century, with Dimitris Papadopoulos and Vassilis Tsianos; and Analysing Everyday Experience: Social Research and Political Change, with Dimitris Papadopoulos.

Daniel’s poetry has appeared in Cordite, Rabbit and SCUM; his journalism has been published by Archer, Junkee and the Sydney Morning Herald. Last year he presented on the cinema of Derek Jarman at Queer at The Australian Homosexual Histories conference.

Shawna is a lecturer in the Gender and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Sydney. Her research is in the field of queer Asia, with an interest in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Specifically, she studies sexuality politics, LGBTIQ ageing, non-normative families and intimacies, homophobia and sexuality justice in Asian global queer cities, using the critical paradigms of feminist, queer, postcolonial and Marxist theories. 

Cris is currently writing her PhD on playgroups, parenting, and family identity at the University of New South Wales. She studied mathematics and education at Cambridge University and was a teacher in England in the time of Section 28, which prohibited local government from promoting homosexuality as a ‘pretended family relationship’. After a Masters in the sociology of gender from Essex University, she became a chartered accountant and came to Sydney with a professional services firm. On the Mardi Gras board in 2001 and the board of Playgroup NSW while her children were young, she is now navigating their early adolescence in a queer family.

Jane Tucker is a final year Bachelor of Social Work student at Western Sydney University who was in 2017 awarded 1st class honours for her research exploring how youth accommodation services in Sydney are positioned to accommodate transgender and gender diverse young people.


Honni is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology. She has a PhD from the University of Washington where she was a Fellow in the Society of Scholars at the Simpson Center for the Humanities. She has published on feminist theories of harm, formulations of responsibility in law and literature, the role of history in the common law, and on questions of justice relating to the Stolen Generations. Honni is currently writing a monograph, Law and the Girl: Gender, Genre, Violence, which argues for the centrality of the figure of the girl to emergent critical and cultural forms that challenge liberal law and social violence.

Tommy is a social worker and research practitioner who has worked extensively with marginalised people across the asylum seeker, domestic violence, disability and environmental sectors. Her work aims to challenge systems of oppression and discrimination in the personal, social and political spheres. Her most recent roles have been as an asylum seeker caseworker at the Red Cross and as an educational policy officer at the Australian Human Rights Commission, focusing on inclusive practices for marginalised groups in our communities. She is currently a domestic violence research officer at ACON.

Guy is one of those intense and creative types. Various documentaries have been made on his work that have been shown at many film festivals including London and New York. He has exhibited his work in galleries around Europe and Australia. He has been called many things over the years but notably ABC called him “one of the most collectable and promising” artists in Australia and Magda Szubanski once called him an “evil genius” on SBS (which, to be honest, Guy thought a tad uncalled for, but because, quite rightly, she is the nation’s sweetheart, he decided to let it go…)

Bronwyn is an associate professor at the University of Sydney. Her transnational feminist research is situated at the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, globalisation, violence and the State. She is former branch president and assistant state secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union and co-founder of Queer Unionists in Tertiary Education (QUTE). In 2002 she was an organiser of the Workers Out! conference in Sydney and in 2006, chaired the trade union plenary at the first International LGBTI human rights conference in Montreal.

Hendri is the author of Coming Out, a researcher and an educator of gender and sexuality studies in Indonesia. He is currently completing his Master of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies department at the University of Sydney. He frequently writes and publishes articles on the issues of LGBT, gender, sexuality and sexual politics in media, including The Jakarta Post, Indonesia at Melbourne, and New Mandala. While completing his research degree, he is also tutoring Bodies, Sexualities and Identities course and working with ACON's Gay Asian Men Survey.