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HomeLatest NewsNew LGBTQIA+ crew makes lively launch on Beaches

New LGBTQIA+ crew makes lively launch on Beaches

The Northern Beaches will host the very first events as part of WorldPride, which will be held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time this year.

The festival will run throughout Sydney from mid February to 5 March 2023 and complements our world famous Mardi Gras parade (25 February).

The debut local event will be the Fusion Pride Picnic, a LGBTQIA+-embracing event organised by a newly launched organisation, Fusion Pride, a group created to support and celebrate the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer/questioning, Intersex and Asexual community on the Northern Beaches.

The picnic, to be held on Saturday 18 February from 10am-3pm at Ted Jackson Reserve (the grass parallel to Dee Why Beach), is a free family-friendly event with live music, crafts, picnic spaces, support resources and local Pride goods for sale. The event is with the support of Northern Beaches Council and Rainbow Families.

With the full support of all sitting councillors, Northern Beaches Council put $20,000 towards supporting local events celebrating WorldPride in 2023, which has included helping to establish the new org.

Fusion Pride held its launch in mid-January at Freshwater Brewery with a sell-out celebration emceed by comedian and social media star Mitchell Coombs with drag superstar and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under’ finalist Hannah Conda bringing the house down with “You’re the Voice”.

Hannah Conda, entertainer, at the Fusion Pride launch event, Freshwater Brewery, Brookvale, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart
Dr Sophie Scamps, Mackellar MP with Mitchell Coombs, comedian, at the Fusion Pride launch event, Freshwater Brewery, Brookvale, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart

Organisation co-founder Sean Moran said Fusion Pride Northern Beaches will establish a strong presence for the local queer and gender diverse community and will operate on the values of inclusion, visibility, kindness and respect for all. The longer term plan includes regular social events, healthy relationship education, advocacy and connection to existing support services.

Charity King and Sean Moran, event organisers, at the Fusion Pride launch event, Freshwater Brewery, Brookvale, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart

On why the group felt compelled to form the community organisation, Moran said:

“Growing up queer on the Northern Beaches, it has been wonderful to witness a powerful shift in support for local diversity and cultural identity within the community. It is also true that while positive steps have been taken, there remain very little opportunities for visibility and inclusion for our local LGBTQIA+ community.”

Peta King, Hannah Conda, Kim Smee and Charity King at the launch of Fusion Pride.

“An existing lack of acknowledgement, celebration and cohesion of these groups mean that many feel isolated from the wider community. That is where Fusion Pride will step in.”

Moran asserted that ‘Fusion’ will take a positive yet reflective approach when dealing with important issues:

“We are determined to connect and grow our community with kindness and celebration of diversity. It is also important that we reflect and remember those who have been, or continue to be, impacted by hatred and discrimination. You are absolutely valid and there is a place for you here.”

Fusion Pride Northern Beaches invite local LGBTQIA+ people and allies wanting to be a part of this new group to connect with them at hello@fusionpride.org or visit their website.

Michael Regan, Northern Beaches Mayor, at the Fusion Pride launch event, Freshwater Brewery, Brookvale, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said he is very proud of Council for supporting the international event with local activations and activities. At the Fusion launch event he spoke with emotion about his experience visiting his uncle in hospital after he had been beaten because of his homosexuality. The world has progressed since that time, he said, but not nearly enough.

“We want the Northern Beaches to be a place where all people in the LGBTQIA+ community feel respected and supported, and where diversity is celebrated.

“Council has offered an array of organisations its support to be part of a program that will deliver the biggest tourism drawcard and city-wide celebration since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“This fantastic festival shines an international spotlight also on First Nations culture and draws attention to LGBTQIA+ issues and human rights.

Fusion Pride launch event, Freshwater Brewery, Brookvale, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart

Activities for WorldPride on the Northern Beaches will include:

  • First nations artist Dennisl Golding on exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum
  • Drag Queen story time at Manly Library on Sat 25 Feb
  • Rainbow art on the Manly Corso as part of a city-wide mural program Fri 17 Feb – Sun 5 Mar
  • Youth focused activities from Girls on Fire at James Meehan Reserve on Tue 21 and Wed 22 Feb which helps teens with problem solving and resilience building.
  • Active Sessions from Collaroy Tennis Clubs Pride Day on Sat 4 Mar and Running Stars Run the Rainbow sessions on Sunday mornings at Winnererremy Bay Reserve and John Fisher Park.
  • Rainbow Families/Fusion Pride, family friendly picnic on Sat 18 Feb at Ted Jackson Reserve – Dee Why Beach, with entertainment and activities around live music while providing access to information for LGBTQIA+ families and their allies
  • Love is Love Community Social and PrideSwim Sun 19 Feb at Dunbar Park and Avalon Beach thanks to the Avalon Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The Australian Queer Aquatics Festival (AQuA Festival) will also hold its Beach Festival the week prior, on February 11, at Manly Cove. More on that story here.