The monumental Amsterdam Rainbow Dress artwork has made its first visit to Australia to shine a light on the human rights issues affecting the global LGBTQIA+ community, ahead of the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference in March 2023.
Created in the Netherlands by Mattijs van Bergen, Arnout van Krimpen, Jochem Kaan and Oeri van Woezik, the dress is made from the national flags of the 71 countries where it is still illegal to be LGBTQI+.
The dress’s arrival in Sydney comes as the harbour city prepares to welcome 1,500 community leaders, activists, politicians and human rights experts from across the globe to the International Conference Centre, Sydney (ICC) for the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference. Taking place from 1 to 3 March 2023, it will tackle the key human rights issues facing LGBTQIA+ communities around the world and is the largest event of its kind ever to be held in the region.
The topics being discussed at the conference include the protection of LGBTQIA+ refugees and people seeking asylum; access to supportive and affirming healthcare for LGBTQIA+ people; the future of inclusive sport; and the international effort to end unnecessary procedures performed on intersex people without their consent.
Eight New Human Rights Conference Speakers Announced
A further eight speakers and presenters have been confirmed for the Human Rights Conference, bringing the total confirmed number of presenters to 18.
These renowned presenters come from as far and wide as St Lucia and China, and include Senator Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender person election to a state senate in the United States. The new speakers confirmed today are:
- Phylesha Brown-Acton (she/her), Fakafifine, MVPFAFF+, LGBTQ+ rights activist and Executive Director, F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust (Niue / Aotearoa – New Zealand)
- Professor Paula Gerber (she/her), internationally renowned scholar, international human rights lawyer and Professor of Law at Monash University (Australia)
- Nancy Kelley (she/her), Chief Executive Officer of Stonewall UK, human rights advocate & policy adviser (United Kingdom)
- Steph Lum (they/them), Intersex advocate, researcher, poet and founder of YOUth&I (Australia)
- Senator Sarah McBride (she/her), first openly transgender person elected to a state senate in the United States (United States of America)
- Kenita Placide (They/Them/she/her), human rights, HIV and LGBT activist, the Founder and Executive Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity & Equality (St Lucia)
- Yanzi Peng (he/him), Executive Director of LGBT Rights Advocacy China (China)
- Dr Senthorun Raj (he/him), Associate Professor in Human Rights Law (Manchester Law School) and Chair of Amnesty International UK (United Kingdom)
Chief Executive of Sydney WorldPride 2023, Kate Wickett, said: “The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress is a powerful symbol of the very real threats that members of the LGBTQIA+ community still face on a daily basis around the world.”
“Here in Australia, many of us are lucky now to live relatively safe lives thanks to tireless campaigning for equal rights, but there are still many issues that affect LGBTQIA+ communities right across Australia, especially for trans and gender-diverse people.
“The Human Rights Conference is a major opportunity for community leaders, lawmakers and human rights experts from across the world to come together. For the Asia Pacific region, it is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity and enduring spirit of the LGBTQIA+ community, and to push for progress at home and internationally.”