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Events: Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead

Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead

Queer Thinking: Religious Discrimination and the Fights Ahead

Saturday 19th June 2021

1:00 pm

The Metro Theatre

624 George St

Sydney NSW 2000


Wheelchair Accessible
Auslan Interpreted Performances

Presented by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in partnership with Equality Australia

Whether it’s attempts to ‘cure’ us or experiences of discrimination at school or work, LGBTQI+ people face threats to their safety and wellbeing every day in the name of religion. 

While it’s clear that most Australians support LGBTQI+ people, extremist Christian lobby groups are pouring resources into campaigns to stigmatise and marginalise our communities, particularly transgender people.  

In this free-to-attend forum, you'll hear from LGBTQI+ people of faith, religious leaders and activists including Karen Pack, a teacher who was sacked by a Sydney Christian college for being gay; Equality Australia's Legal Director Ghassan Kassisieh; rising voice in the muslim LGBTQI+ community Hussein Hawli; Australia’s first transgender priest Jo Inkpin; and activist Dr Kerryn Phelps. ABC presenter and current-affairs journalist Fran Kelly will facilitate the conversation.

Join us as we discuss how to build a strong movement for equality that includes us all.  

Around the world, LGBTQI+ activists are on the frontline of protest, agitation and grassroots community organising.  The Queer Thinking  series explores activism in our backyard and globally, reflecting on our legacies and contending with our futures. 

Tickets are free but registration is essential - sign up HERE.

Event duration: 80 mins


Karen Pack (she/her)
Karen Pack is a lesbian woman, who was fired from her job as a teacher in a Christian College in Sydney after becoming engaged to her partner, (now wife!) Bronte. She is a leadership speaker and a doctoral candidate in History at Macquarie University, specialising in the historical intersections of gender, faith and sexuality. Karen’s passion is advocating for young queer people of faith. She is an experienced educator and communicator, having lectured in Australia and internationally for over twenty years, including training pastors, chaplains and teachers throughout Africa, Asia, North America and the Middle East.

Ghassan Kassisieh (he/him)
Ghassan Kassisieh is the Legal Director at Equality Australia. He has been involved in over a decade of LGBTIQ advocacy alongside a commercial litigation career in Australia and overseas. As Policy and Development Coordinator at the NSW Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby in 2007-09, he advocated for same-sex relationship and parenting reforms in NSW and nationally. In commercial practice, he continued his LGBTIQ advocacy through pro bono matters, including the successful C v Australia petition to the UN Human Rights Committee on Australia’s failure to recognise same-sex couples married overseas for the purposes of divorce proceedings. Ghassan teaches in public law and is an author on the legal recognition of same-sex couples and their children, Australian refugee decisions on the basis of sexual orientation and homophobia in Arabic-speaking communities.
Jo Inkpin (she/her)
The Revd Dr Josephine Inkpin is the first openly and fully recognised transgender Anglican priest in Australia, now currently working as Minister of Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney, and is the Chair of Equal Voices, a national network of LGBTIQ+ Christians and allies. Jo has also been a prominent leader in inter-faith, multicultural, reconciliation and other justice activities over many years. Originally from England, and later described as a ‘Dangerous Woman of Queensland’, she lives with her wife and fellow Anglican priest Penny Jones and shares care of their family of many years.

Prof. Kerryn Phelps AM (she/her)
Prof. Kerryn Phelps AM is one of Australia’s best-known doctors, health communicators and public health and civil rights advocates. In 1994 she served as a member of the executive committee on the AIDS Council on NSW. She and her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps began the Australian conversation on marriage equality back in 1998 and fought for marriage equality for almost two decades. They were involved in the Wear It With Pride campaign in 2010 celebrating the end of almost all discrimination under Federal law, and helped to lobby for same sex adoption in New South Wales before becoming one of the first same sex couples to adopt under the new legislation.

As first female President of the Australian Medical Association, Prof Phelps pioneered the first AMA policy on gender and sexual diversity and has been a prominent media advocate for LGBTIQ health issues. Prof Phelps is a Patron of ACON’s Pride in Health+Wellbeing program and Patron of The Gender Centre. Prof Phelps is a general practitioner and a conjoint Professor in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at University of Western Sydney. In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for services to Medicine and Australian society. In 2011, she was awarded an Order of Australia for service to medicine, to education and community health, and as a general practitioner. In 2014 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Western Sydney. 2015: Midsumma Champion for Midsumma Festival. 2019: Community Hero award In May 2018 she was elected to the Australian Parliament as the Member for Wentworth in a by-election after the resignation of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and narrowly lost the seat back to the Liberals in the ensuing general election. She was Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney 2016-2017 and is currently a Councillor on City of Sydney Council.
Hussein Hawli (he/him)

Hussein (Huss) Hawli is a marketing professional with over eight years of experience. He has worked in various roles in both agency and client side environments, including CRM, marketing automation, integrated advertising, retail channel marketing, brand marketing and social media strategy.

Throughout his career, he has delivered numerous award-winning campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including Qantas, Toyota, Cellarmasters and H&R Block. Huss currently works at Autosports Group - Australia’s leading prestige and luxury automotive group as the group’s marketing automation lead, working across iconic brands including Audi, BMW, Aston Martin and Bentley.
Huss is a Board Member at Twenty10 inc. GLCS NSW and in his spare time, he is a rising voice in the Muslim LGBTQI+ community within Australia. He has volunteered for Sydney Queer Muslims and a regular speaker for the community, sharing insights gleaned from his personal experiences. This includes interviews with the ABC, Gay Star News, BBC World Service and SBS.

Fran Kelly (she/her)

Fran Kelly is one of Australia’s leading political interviewers and commentators. She’s the  Presenter of ABC RN Breakfast,  Australia’s most influential national morning current affairs radio show. Formerly the ABC’s Europe Correspondent and Political Editor for The 7.30 Report, she has earned a reputation as an intelligent, informed and balanced journalist who has been a key contributor to the nation’s political and social debates for the past 25 years.

 In 2008 she was awarded a Same Same 25 award, recognising her she as one of the  most influential gay and lesbian Australians.