Our Own Kat Dopper Elected To Mardi Gras Board And She Wants Your Input

By Isabella Cornell

We are so proud to announce that our very own Heaps Gay founder & director Kat Dopper has just been elected to Board Of Directors of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Gearing up for its 39th year in 2017, Kat hopes to breathe some new life into the formidable institution. And part of how she wants to do this is to get ideas from you beautiful people, having set up an account mardigras@heapsgay.com.au to hear from all of you!

This is a direct line to Kat (not the board) and will let her consider any of your ideas, concerns or issues you feel should be addressed before she starts taking ideas to the board. Think of it as an email version of Shark Tank. Only the fittest ideas will survive, but don’t let that discourage you if you have any thoughts about Mardi Gras’ future. She wants to hear them all.

A way for Kat to more effectively represent your voices on the board in forming the future of Sydney’s Mardi Gras, one of the first actions to be addressed by the board is whether Malcolm Turnbull should be officially invited to the parade. Which we’re sure you’ve all got thoughts on.

With the media having jumped all over this particular issue in recent days, Kat wants to be clear.

“I would vote in favour of the motion,” she said. “We are an inclusive event and community and we want everyone to feel welcome to come down and get involved in the event, and we welcome him to come down to the parade in 2017.

“However I personally feel while our Prime Minister doesn’t support marriage equality and safe schools he shouldn’t be treated as an honoured guest and extended a special invitation in an official capacity.”

Mardi Gras hs recently taken a more apolitical stance on issues like this. Not one to mindlessly toe the party line however, Kat feels that taking a stance is more in line with the history of Mardi Gras as a grassroots community action event. And although it is now one of the world’s largest gay pride events, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Australia from around the world and adding an estimated $30 million dollars to the local economy, staying true to the event’s political roots is very important to Kat.

“I think its lost its way a little and needs some love,” she explains. “Mardi Gras started as a protest back in 1978 and it has lost its way a little. I want to bridge that gap between what Mardi Gras used to be and what it is today,” she says, adding that “it should be a celebration of diversity but still stay true to its political roots.”


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Kat also wants to ensure the festival stays relevant to young people and open to new audeinces. And with an extensive background in events, working with everyone from Red Bull and Junkee Media to Cakes Wines and Vivid Festival, as well as building an all inclusive community herself from scratch with Heaps Gay, she is well equipped to work with the youth community.

“I want to connect Mardi Gras with youth. Through music, working with promoters and venues on Oxford Street, creating events in the Inner West, working with the wider community, listening to what youth are into to, I want to create events and experiences that are accessible, relevant and affordable. The current pricing of events alienates half of the LGBTIQA community, especially young people,” she told LOTL earlier this year.

Part of her plan to achieve this is by expanding the scope of the festival beyond a one off event each year. By keeping Mardi Gras “amazing and visible for more than one day of the year,” Kat is hoping to “help diversify the whole program.” She states, “I want to make it accessible to not just one part of our community but for all. There should be events for the L’s, G’s, B’s, T’s, I’s, Q’s, the A’s.”

So she’s got her plate full to put it mildly, but where other people would be leaning back and letting things digest, Kat is still hungry for more ideas.

Make sure to hit her up at mardigras@heapsgay.com.au with any thoughts you might have.

Go Kat! Xxx

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