Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference

Date: March 1 to 3  
Location: International Convention Centre, Sydney  
Agenda: https://sydneyworldpride.com/conference-agenda/
Full list of speakers: https://sydneyworldpride.com/conference-presenters/
Media accreditation: HERE
Live stream: of the plenary and mainstage sessions 
Contact: tararavens@equalityaustralia.org.au 0408 898 154   

February 7, 2023 - Globally renowned human rights defenders, experts in international law, community activists and First Nations People, including Sistergirls and Brotherboys, will be among those presenting in Sydney this March for the largest LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Conference ever to be held in the Asia Pacific region.  
The Human Rights Conference is the cornerstone of Sydney WorldPride and will be held at Sydney’s International Conference Centre on March 1-3.   
The conference will bring together 1500 community leaders, activists, politicians, and human rights experts from around the globe for three days of talks, panel discussions and workshops about the key human rights issues affecting LGBTQIA+ people.  

The ground-breaking conference is the largest of its kind in the Asia Pacific region and includes prominent activists from countries where it is still illegal to be LGBTQ+ on penalty of imprisonment, torture or death.  

More than 200 speakers and panellists will take part in the conference, including international human rights defenders, legal experts, sportspeople, celebrities, academics, grassroots advocates, corporates, Special Envoys and UN representatives. 

Anna Brown, CEO of national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia, lead community partner for the Human Rights Conference: 

“A conference of this scale and scope, focused entirely on LGBTQIA+ issues, has never before been held in Asia Pacific and the stories that these speakers have to tell are extraordinary.  

“This is our chance to draw global attention to the issues facing our communities and a time for governments and other decision makers to create a world where all people can live free from discrimination and harm.” 
Sarah McBride, first openly transgender state senator in American history: 

"At a time of rising anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy, it has never been more important for LGBTQ people and our allies to join together to explore ways we can better support one another and all those who are marginalized around the world. 

“The resilience, creativity, and determination of our movement remains unstoppable despite the challenges we face. This year's Human Rights Conference will bring together community members, civil society and government officials at a critical time for LGBTQ people globally, and I'm deeply honoured to be a part of it." 

Maria Sjödin, executive director of New-York based Outright International: 

“Our global movement is growing and our presence at the Human Rights Conference is an important opportunity for us. 

“We are here to build lasting connections and cultivate conversations and sustainable partnerships that will help us advance human rights for LGBTIQ people.” 

Ymania Brown, Samoan born Fa’afafine trans woman and Equality Australia’s strategic advisor for the Human Rights Conference. Also Co-Secretary General of ILGA World and former Co-Chair of the Global Interfaith Network: 
“This conference will shine a light on the issues facing our communities and bring together activists and decision-makers to build a better world, where LGBTIQ+ people are free and equal, no matter who we are or those we love. 

“This conference is about coming together to share ideas, explore possibilities, create allies and push for progress in Australia, our region and around the world.” 

Kevin Haunui, member of the HRC’s International Advisory Group and Trustee for Tīwhanawhana Trust, a NZ organisation that serves the Māori LGBTI community: 

“There are still 70 countries that criminalise sexual acts between people of the same sex and transgender people in 13 countries who live as themselves face imprisonment, corporal punishment and in some cases death. 

“I look forward to being part of the conference in Sydney as we continue on the global journey toward equality for people who face serious discrimination and harm because of who they love or how they identify.” 

The Human Rights Conference is the product of a groundswell of input from grassroots organisations within Australia and from all around the world, with its community survey receiving over 1300 responses from 55 different countries supplemented by multiple stakeholder consultations, workshops and meetings.  

Seven leading LGBTQIA+ human rights and health groups, as well as a 12-member International Conference Advisory Group, worked closely with Sydney WorldPride and Equality Australia to analyse this feedback and to build a program that reflects the every-day issues that impact the lives of LGBTQIA+ people.   

Topics at the conference include ending conversion practices, protecting LGBTQIA+ people seeking safety and asylum, First Nations justice, responding to threats to trans and gender diverse inclusion, stopping unnecessary medical procedures on intersex people without their consent, disparities in LGBTQIA+ health outcomes, the future of inclusive sport and the way forward for faith and LGBTQIA+ communities.  

A scholarship program has ensured the HRC will be attended by 50 international and 50 Australian (including 15 First Nations) human rights defenders and activists.  
The presenters include:  

Victor Madrigal-Borloz  
Victor Madrigal-Borloz was appointed as UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity in late 2017. His initial three-year term started on 1 January 2018. He is the second Independent Expert to serve in this capacity. A Costa Rican jurist, Mr Madrigal-Borloz is a senior visiting researcher at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, in residence at Harvard Law School from July 2019 to December 2023.  

Jessica Stern 
Jessica Stern is the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons, and Special Envoy Stern will oversee the implementation of the February 4, 2021, Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Around the World.   

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah  
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is the nucleus of the award-winning celebration and protest that is UK Black Pride. Widely known as Lady Phyll – partly due to her decision to reject an MBE in the New Year’s Honours’ list to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTQI+ penal codes across its empire – she is also the executive director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an organisation working to uphold the human rights of LGBTQI+ people around the world.  
Senator Sarah McBride  
Raised in Wilmington in the First Senate District, she has been involved in community advocacy for most of her life, including working for former Governor Jack Markell, the late Attorney General Beau Biden, and as a White House intern during the Obama Administration. Most recently, she served as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ equal rights organization.  
McBride has taught public policy at the University of Delaware and is the author of the 2018 memoir, Tomorrow Will Be Different.  

Crystal Love  
Crystal Love is Australian and Northern Territory royalty. Living between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands, she’s the queen of the Island, respected for being the loving and caring person she is. When Crystal is in a show, she is always a headlining act! Crystal is called “Aunty” because she is an elder in a big family of Tiwi Sistergirls and Brotherboys. Comedy and sass are what she does best. She has represented her community at the United Nations plus many festivals and events around Australia and the world. She is the star of the award-winning documentary ‘BLACK DIVAZ’ and can be found performing around Darwin and the world.  

Jayne Ozanne  
Jayne Ozanne is a prominent gay evangelical who works to ensure full inclusion of all LGBTQ+ people, particularly LGBTQ+ people of faith. She is Director of the Ozanne Foundation, which works with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity.  In December 2020, she set up and launched the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, which brings together hundreds of senior religious leaders from around the world to call for an end of violence and criminalisation of LGBT+ people, for a global ban on “conversion therapy” and who have agreed on a set of Safeguarding Principles to Protect LGBT+ Lives.   

Olena Shevchenko  
Olena Shevchenko is a human rights defender and educator from Ukraine whose focuses are LGBT rights and women’s rights. She is the chairperson of Insight, a public organization she and two of her friends founded and officially registered in 2008. Insight is unique among other LGBTQI organizations because of its inclusiveness and feminist approach. Before founding Insight, Olena volunteered for 3 years in a feminist-lesbian organization and was a senior teacher for 4 years at the National Pedagogical University in Kiev. Today Insight, under her leadership, has become a visible and significant player for advocacy both nationally and internationally.  

Professor Dennis Altman AM FASSA  
Dennis Altman is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. His book, Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages, including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Recent books include The End of the Homosexual?, Queer Wars [co-authored with Jonathan Symons] and Unrequited Love: Diary of an Accidental Activist. Altman is a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at LaTrobe University in Melbourne.  

Yanzi Peng  
Yanhui Peng (aka Yanzi) is the founder and director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China, a visiting scholar at Yale Law School. Peng founded LGBT Rights Advocacy China in 2013 to advance LGBT equality through China’s legal system. LGBT Rights Advocacy China built professional networks of lawyers and journalists, and supported impact litigation against conversion therapy, employment discrimination, media censorship, and homophobic university textbooks.  

Tony Briffa 
Tony has been a LGBTIQ+ activist for over 25 years and is especially known for her intersex human rights work.  Tony is an intersex woman (as well as being queer with trans and non-binary lived experience) and was subjected to numerous non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgical and hormonal interventions and intimate examinations as a child and young person. Tony is the first out intersex person elected to public office in the world and is currently the Mayor of Hobson’s Bay Council.  
Edwin Cameron 
Edwin Cameron retired as a Judge in August 2019 after 25 years’ service, the last eleven in South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court.  He previously served in the Supreme Court of Appeal for eight years, and the High Court for six.  Educated at Pretoria Boys’ High, Stellenbosch and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he was a human rights lawyer during apartheid.  He has fought for LGBTI equality, including the historic inclusion of sexual orientation in the SA Constitution.  Living with HIV, he fiercely criticised President Mbeki’s AIDS denialist policies and fought for access to medications.  After retiring as a judge, he was elected Chancellor of Stellenbosch University and appointed Judicial Inspector of Correctional Services.   
Dr Julia Ehrt  
Julia Ehrt is the Executive Director at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, ILGA World, assuming the role as of November 2021. She previously served as the organisation’s Director of Programs, developing ILGA World ‘s programmatic work and managing the Programmes team. She is a widely respected LGBTI activist and community leader. Before joining ILGA World she was the Executive Director of Transgender Europe where she contributed significantly to how trans issues are perceived and debated today in Europe and beyond. Julia holds a PhD in mathematics and lives with her partner and child in Berlin and in Geneva.   

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere MP 
Elizabeth was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, where she lives with her wife, Alofa Aiono, her dog Indiana, and cats Havana and Chicago. On her father’s side, she is Whānau a Kai, Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. On her mother’s side, Elizabeth hails from County Clare and County Tipperary in Ireland.  As a leader within Rainbow and youth development sectors for over 30 years, Elizabeth has mentored over 50 youth leaders and young people. Elizabeth founded Tīwhanawhana Trust in 2001 to advocate for takatāpui to “tell our stories, build our communities and leave a legacy.” Elizabeth bases all of her work from this tūrangawaewae.   
Dédé Oetomo  
Dédé Oetomo is an Indonesian activist, independent scholar, and educator in research, education and advocacy in the fields of language and society, HIV & AIDS, and gender and sexuality, mainly as Founder and Trustee at GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation, which also hosts the Coalition for Sexual & Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies. He is an adjunct senior lecturer at Universitas Airlangga, Universitas Surabaya, and Widya Mandala Catholic University in Surabaya, Indonesia.   
Dr Senthorun Raj 
Dr Senthorun (Sen) Raj is an Associate Professor in Human Rights Law at Manchester Law School and chair of Amnesty International UK. He is passionate about glitter, unicorns, pop culture, and social justice. Sen’s academic and advocacy work take an intersectional approach to examining the relationship between emotion, culture, law, and LGBTIQ rights in different jurisdictions.