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 in Sydney 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 said, “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.

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