James Breko is a Sydney based performer and LGBTQI activist. He was hosting Trivia and Music Bingos 4 nights a week in Sydney including at the iconic Imperial Hotel. Breko founded the viral rainbow chalking movement DIY Rainbow in 2013 against the backdrop of the removal of the first Sydney Rainbow Crossing. Chalk rainbow crossings went on to be an international success with many global landmarks gaining a chalk rainbow crossing for LGBTI equality. The Facebook page, DIY Rainbow, is still active today, regularly sharing LGTBI news to it’s followers as well as organising events, rallies and local projects – including his latest event ‘DIY Vivid’ encouraging everyone to decorate their homes with christmas lights, Sydney Vivid style, during lockdown. James was on the Board of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras for 3 years and in 2018 he married his partner Stuart. They were the first couple to ever legally marry on a float at the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade.
Equality Australia Interview with James Breko: COVID19 and the LGBTIQ+ Arts Scene
Tuesday 21 April, 2020.
How has your work been impacted by COVID?
“I quit my day job last year to take the plunge and host events full time. So this period has been really unexpected and scary, particularly at the start with no work and no certainty for the future. I have now found a niche hosting some online Trivias, but it’s been a very challenging time.”
Why are cultural events so important for LGBTIQ+ people during isolation?
“Not everyone lives with their community in their household. And many of us live alone. Cultural events are so important to share art but also to connect and remember that we aren’t alone, even if we might be physically apart. With events like Queer Love In, it supports artists who are also on indefinite hold to perform which is brilliant.”
What’s one thing that’s been helping you through this period?
“My lifestyle is normally very busy and so it’s been nice having a chance to clear out the wardrobe and do all the little life admin things one puts off to the never-never. On days where I haven’t had work it’s been helpful to have a goal of what I want to achieve in the day and attempting to complete the task. The boxes under my bed are still waiting.”
What does equality mean to you?
“Giving everyone a chance, not judging people by their looks, mannerisms or where they come from – but by the content of their character. It seems pretty simple but we seem to struggle with it as humans, don’t we?“