2023: The Australian queer year in review

Matildas, Progress Shark, Troye Sivan, Tim Draxil appear in a collage to signify the 2023 queer year review.
Image: Matildas, Progress Shark, Troye Sivan & Tim Draxl. Credit: FiledImage, Sydney WorldPride, YouTube, SBS

As the year comes to an end, we look back at some of the Australian LGBTQIA+ news, events and queer year that made up 2023.


Midsumma: Melbourne held its annual multi-week Midsumma Festival, where former premier Daniel Andrews marched with pride goers. 

Sam Stosur retires: Sam, who won the US Open singles titles plus seven Grand Slam doubles titles, retired at the Australian Open. Sam publicly came out later in her career in 2020. 


WorldPride: Sydney became the epicentre of the queer universe when hosting WorldPride. The two-week extravaganza featured an opening night concert, the traditional Mardi Gras parade, a Human Rights Conference, a Bondi Beach party, a pride march over the Bridge and a closing party. 

Big names like Kylie Minogue, Dannii Minogue, Sugababes, Agnes, Nicole Scherzinger, Kim Petras, Ava Max, Jessica Mauboy, Courtney Act and Casey Donovan featured throughout WorldPride. However, there was only one true icon of the event: Progress Shark. 

Queerstralia: ABC broadcasts the series Queerstralia. Hosted by Zoe Coombs Marr, it took a deep dive into the queer history of Australia. 


Australian Idol: Queer First Nations singer Royston Sagigi-Baira won Australian Idol. Royston is a Thanakwith (Aboriginal) and Wagadagam (Torres Strait Islander) man from Mapoon in Far North Queensland. 

Posie Parker rejected: Anti-trans activists drowned out Posie Parker by counter-protesters during her tour of Australia. During her visit to Brisbane, hundreds rallied against her hateful views. While in Melbourne, she was joined by neo-Nazis which saw widespread condemnation. 

In Our Blood: The musical drama inspired by Australia’s radical response to HIV/AIDS in the 1980s was broadcast on ABC, with many scenes shot at Brisbane’s Sportsman Hotel. 

The Wickham reopens: After many months closed for renovations, Brisbane’s iconic LGBTQIA+ venue The Wickham reopened. 


Censorship rejected: The Australian Classification Board rejected a call to ban or restrict a gender and sexuality memoir after a conservative activist complained to Queensland Police.


Archibald Prize: Artist Julia Gutman wins the Archibald Prize with a portrait of queer performer Montaigne. While queer musician and artist Zaachariaha Fielding (from Electric Fields) won the Wynne Prize for best landscape. 

Kylie’s back: Long-time queer ally Kylie Minogue released Padam Padam. The song charted in the Top 10 in the UK and the Top 20 in Australia. The first time the singer had achieved this in more than a decade. 


Queens Ball: The 62nd edition of the Queens Ball in Brisbane was held at City Hall. More than a dozen Queensland queer community advocates, performers and organisations were honoured in a ceremony hosted by Paul Wheeler and Chocolate Boxx. 

Trans legal win: The Queensland government passed a new law allowing trans and gender-diverse people to change their gender on their birth certificates without having to undergo surgery.


Logies: Out actor Tim Draxl was nominated for the Silver Logie as most outstanding actor while RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under received two nominations for Best Entertainment Program and Best New Talent for Kween Kong. 

Patricia Karvelas: Proudly out presenter Patricia Karvelas, named as the new host of one of ABC’s flagship programs Q&A.

Gymnast: Our Australian gymnast, Heath Thorpe, controversially not selected for the World Championships despite winning the Australian All-Around title. 


Women’s World Cup: Australia and New Zealand hosted the Women’s World Cup with a record 96 publicly out players competing. The Matildas, who had ten out players, including superstar Sam Kerr, reached the semi-finals after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win against France. The Matildas broke attendance and ratings records, becoming the most-watched event in Australia since Cathy Freeman at the Sydney Olympics. 

Honour Awards: NSW’s largest annual LGBTIQA+ community awards were held and presented by ACON


Brisbane Pride: Brisbane hosted its annual pride event, including fair day, rally and march, and other community events across the month. 

Drag Race: The third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under crowned the first-ever Australian winner. Isis Avis Loren from Melbourne took the crown with Ballarat’s Gabriella Labucci runner-up. The show, co-hosted by Rhys Nicholson and included queer Aussie guest judges Keiynan Lonsdale and Josh Cavallo. 


Big Gay Day: The Wickham held its annual Big Gay Day with Peter Andre and Rogue Traders headlining. 

Troye Sivan: The Australian queer artist released his album Something to Give Each Other featuring hit singles Rush, Got Me Started and One of Your Girls. It went straight to the top of the charts, giving Troye his first Australian No.1 album.

Pride Adelaide: The annual event took place with a march and a celebration featuring artists Ricki-Lee, Crystal Waters, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Samantha Jade.


Gay Games 11: The 11th edition of the event: co-hosted by Hong Kong and Guadalajara in Mexico. This was the first co-hosting of the games and the first time it took place in Asia. Australian LGBTQIA+ athletes competed in both cities. 

ARIAs: Troye Sivan and G Flip dominated the ARIA Music Awards with four and two award wins, respectively. Troye took out Song of the Year for Rush. Christian Wilkins’ nude dress turned heads as the socialite bared almost all to interview stars on the ARIA Awards red carpet.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte: The Rogue Traders lead singer and actress known for her work on Neighbours revealed she was in a relationship with a woman.

PrideFest: Perth held its annual pride events with events across the month celebrating the city’s LGBTQIA+ community.

Moreton Bay PrideFest: Despite protests, the inaugural pride event in Wynnum, Queensland, took place with a large, family-friendly march.


Hate Crime Inquiry: The long-awaited Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes in NSW saw 19 recommendations made. Advocates welcomed the findings and called on the NSW Police Force to action the report’s recommendations.

JOY Media: The Melbourne-based LGBTQIA+ community radio station JOY 94.9 celebrated their 30th anniversary.

NT politics: The openly gay MP Chansey Paech made history as the first Aboriginal man to be appointed Deputy Chief Minister in the Northern Territory.

Olympics: Australian climber Campbell Harrison qualified for the Paris Olympics and shared a kiss with his boyfriend to celebrate.

For the latest lesbiangaybisexualtransgenderintersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Stephanie
    1 January 2024

    It is sad and disheartening that Q-News does not acknowledge or respect Transgender persons or Trans females.
    evidenced by the complete lack of stories and support.
    Q-news is just for Gay people.
    Q-news doesn’t like or accept Trans people
    The whole of 2023 count the stories which are real lives of Trans folk. And the converge.

    • 2 January 2024

      Stephanie, It’s a shame you either didn’t read or chose to ignore a story posted less than 48 hours before your rant advocating for trans people and ridiculing – transphobes. I wrote the story. I’m trans and I’ve worked for the platform since 2017 but it is typical of the attitude taken to trans issues by all our writers because QNews has always supported the Trans community. As a queer media platform, we are proud of our glorious and diverse community in its entirety and do our very best to tell as many of their stories as possible: https://qnews.com.au/regret-rate-for-gender-affirming-surgery-less-than-1/

    • Sharina Terquin
      3 January 2024

      Did you not read

      Trans legal win: The Queensland government passed a new law allowing trans and gender-diverse people to change their gender on their birth certificates without having to undergo surgery.

      They are a news channel dedicated to reporting on a wide range of news. I know a few people who work at QNews, and they take pride in their commitment to covering all aspects of our communities.

      I’m Trans myself and love what they do.

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