Sydney World Pride Heralded to be Biggest Event Since the Olympics

Apr 6, 2022

Sydney hosting WorldPride in 2023 will put the city back on the international map as progressive, global and inclusive. This was the conclusion of Sydney WorldPride (SWP) CEO Kate Wickett and Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism & Transport Forum, who both recently spoke at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Boardroom Lunch on the Business of Pride, sponsored by PwC.

WorldPride, licensed by InterPride promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. WorldPride celebrations tend to be the largest LGBTQIA Pride events for their year.

From left: SWP CEO Kate Wickett, PwC Partner Cherie Mulyono, CEO of the Tourism & Transport Forum Margy Osmond.

An estimated 1.2 million people are expected to participate in 17 days of activities over the course of the multicultural festival in mid-February to early March 2023, making it the biggest event in the city since the 2000 Olympics. Wickett said that SWP is working closely with Tourism Australia to let the world know that Australia has reopened for international travel.

The inaugural WorldPride was held in Rome in 2000 and 2023 will be the first time that WorldPride takes place in the Southern Hemisphere or the Asia Pacific region. It will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, the 45th Anniversary of the first Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and the 5th Anniversary of the Marriage Equality Act.

Mardi Gras is the largest Pride event in Oceania and, is one of Sydney’s biggest tourism draws, generating an estimated $30million for NSW. Sydney Mardi Gras also has the largest pride social media in the world.

Next year’s Mardi Gras will be the focus of an amazing celebration. But it’s only a part of the 17 days of varied programming that SWP is putting together, including an online Human Rights Conference focusing on LGBTQIA rights, a Pride March over Sydney Harbour Bridge with an estimated 50,000 people, First Nations events, a party at Bondi Beach and pedestrianising precincts in the Oxford Street area. Wicket “wants so much programming that everyone feels like there is something that reflects them, and they feel seen and heard.”

SWP aims to celebrate the diversity of culture and identity in the Asia Pacific region, while shining a light on the widespread human rights abuses faced by those in LGBTQIA communities. She hopes that the conference will “help build capability and capacity, so people can advocate for themselves and against governments for equality.”

SWP has deliberately placed First Nations people at the front of the celebrations. “Everything has a First Nations lens to it” said Wickett, adding that “during the bid phase for WorldPride it became clear to me that many people didn’t know about Australia and especially our First Nations people.”

Selecting corporate sponsors for SWP was based on building meaningful long-term relationships and ensuring values alignment through their ethics charter. “It’s not just about the pink dollar, it’s about corporate leadership, supporting our community not just for Mardi Gras but 365 days a year,” explained Wickett.

In June some of the SWP team is hoping to travel to Tel Aviv for its annual Pride Parade, the largest in the Middle East. Last year’s Tel Aviv pride parade attracted over 100,000 people and was the largest parade of its kind held worldwide since the outbreak of COVID-19.

In 2006 Israel hosted World Pride, only the second country to do so after Rome.

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