Queer Thinking, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ program of talks that brings together trailblazers, provocateurs and thought leaders from across the world for two days of inspiring discourse returns to Carriageworks on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February.

With a focus on social justice, Queer Thinking features nine engaging sessions and more than 30 insightful speakers discussing a broad spectrum of issues. The Queer Thinking panels will focus on contentious topics for the community, and issues that reach beyond the LGBTQI+ experience including healthcare, class and poverty, Sydney’s changing nightlife and racism.

Special guest speakers include writer and comedian Steven Oliver, Canadian artist and academic Vivek Shraya, expert in social epidemiology and public health Dr Vanessa Lee, interdisciplinary artist Bhenji Ra and Photographer William Yang.

Queer Thinking curator Maeve Marsden says “I’m excited to hear the fierce debate that will no doubt transpire among such an incredible line up of opinionated, informed, passionate individuals. My focus with programming was to explore broad issues facing the community as a whole, to focus on activism and the future of the LGBTQI+ community as a force for political change.”

Themed ‘young and fearless’ Day One focuses on LGBTQI+ youth, with sessions curated by Charlie Murphy. Across four sessions, young members of the community will explore non-binary identities, debate whether reform or revolution are the best approach for activism, and tackle the challenges facing LGBTQI+ kids and families in the education system: what next after Safe Schools? To conclude the day, journalist Monique Schafter will be in conversation with human rights defender and One Young World Ambassador Amir Ashour.

My Trans Story – The Next Generation, a special Queer Thinking evening event on Saturday 23 February, brings together the next generation of trans leaders to discuss their struggles, loves, triumphs and the pursuit of a society that celebrates multiple intersecting gender identities. Guests include writer Liz Duck-Chong and 14 year old Evie MacDonald, the girl who faced off with the Prime Minister on Channel 10’s The Project.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ Queer Thinking
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh   
Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February, 2019

Buy QUEER THINKING tickets here via Ticketmaster

Buy TRANS STORIES tickets here via Ticketmaster



After Safe Schools: Queer Youth Still in Crisis | 12pm – 1pm
In the wake of the national conversation on Safe Schools, our queer youth in schools continue to be a vulnerable target for conservative politics, often with youth shut out from the discussion themselves. By including the voices of the queer school students themselves, this panel opens a proper dialogue and lets the youth tell their own stories, their way. Moderated by Liz Duck-Chong with panelists Bobuq Sayed, Janet Anderson, Ebony Rose.

What It Means to Be Non-Binary | 2pm – 3pm
In the new millennium, non-binary identities broke into the mainstream consciousness, emerging largely in online communities, including Tumblr and other social media networks. A conversation exclusively with millennial non-binary identities, including artists and media commentators, they will share their own experiences and views of the future for non-binary people. Moderated by Kaya Wilson, with panelists Riley J Dennis, Mara Maya Devi, and Nevo Zisin.

Queers vs Capitalism: Reform or Revolution? | 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Millennials and Gen Z have been strongly represented in popular support for the resurgent leftist Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders campaigns. As the coming generations drift further left, in this panel young, queer voices respond to our current economic system through a series of unique viewpoints on how capitalism intersects with queer lives. Will the young queer visionaries of the future seek reform of capitalism, or desire revolution? With panelists Hannah-Joy Gillard, Nayuka Gorrie, and Oscar Monaghan.

Iraq and Queer Rights: In Conversation with Amir Ashour | 5pm – 6pm
An intimate conversation with Amir Ashour, One Young World Ambassador and the founder of IraQueer, the first and only support network for queer Iraqis. Fleeing from his native Iraq to Sweden, and now based in the United States, Ashour joins us to tell his story and share his vision for progressive change for Iraq.


The Medical Pink Dollar | 12.00pm – 1.00pm
An ageing HIV+ population and an unreliable aged care sector, the prohibitive cost of medical transition and a lack of informed care, profiteering by the IVF industry, and forced surgeries on intersex people: our community has serious bones to pick with the medical industrial complex. With disparate needs, how do we join forces to tackle public health policy and increasing privatised profiteering of LGBTQI+ Australians in medical care? Is equity in our public health system possible? Featuring Dr. Vanessa Lee, Dr. Nicole Vincent, Jax Jacki Brown, Paul Kidd and Stephanie Lum.

POVO: On Class and Community | 2pm – 3pm
LGBTQI+ people are more likely to live in poverty than the wider population, but with a community that thrives on participation, and tends to gather in the ever expensive inner city – is our class divide dividing us? Not everyone has the time or education to be up on the latest language, enough cash to hop a train to queer events or data to reply to a Grindr message; is our community truly flourishing if we’re leaving people behind? Can the LGBTQI+ community transcend class? Featuring Dr. Elizabeth Humphrys, Peter Polites, Jinny-Jane Smith, Annaliese Constable and Chantell Martin.

Death of the Gay Bar | 3.30pm – 4.30pm
In the midst of Australia’s biggest pride festival, cultural leaders gather to explore the history and future of LGBTQI+ space(s): with ‘community’ increasingly being sought online and queer venues are being shut down around the world, and in Sydney, gentrification, the lock out laws and shifting cultures have seen major changes to traditionally LGBTQI+ dominated areas. Add to this increasing intolerance of sex-on-premises venues and ‘respectability politics’ – can queer nightlife survive or is the party fading? Featuring Bhenji Ra, William Yang, Joy Ng, jonny seymour and Penny Clifford.

Decolonise NOW | 5pm – 6.30pm
Three keynotes exploring the impact of colonialism, diaspora and race on the LGBTQI+ experience, delivered by Canadian artist and academic Vivek Shraya and Kuku-Yalanji, Waanyi, Gangalidda, Woppaburra, Bundjalung and Biripi writer, comedian and poet Steven Oliver.

My Trans Story – The Next Generation | 7pm
In 2019 My Trans Story will be looking at the future. Traversing the next generation’s struggles, loves, triumphs and pursuit of a society that celebrates multiple intersecting gender identities. Meet 14 year old Evie Macdonald, the girl who faced off with the PM on The Project and star of ABC’s First Day, Liz Duck-Chong, writer, sexual health nerd, pun a cionado and self-described post-fertile funny girl and Nevo Zisin, Jewish, queer, non-binary, activist and author of award-winning Finding Nevo. Plus young trans and gender diverse people who will be stepping into the spotlight for the first time.