Fierce performer Kitty Obsidian crowned at NAIDOC Pride party

victorian naidoc pride naidoc week lgbtiq kitty obsidian tarsha jago Tarneen Onus-Williams fitzroy midsumma
Image: courtesy of Midsumma

Melbourne’s queer First Nations community and friends have come together for a special NAIDOC Pride event, with fierce burlesque performer Kitty Obsidian taking home a special award.

NAIDOC Week is the first week of July each year, and it runs until Sunday (July 10). Hundreds of events across the country have honoured and celebrated First Nations culture and achievements. This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is Get up! Stand up! Show up!.

On Wednesday night, the queer First Nations community did that on Narrm Country (Melbourne) at the fourth annual Vic NAIDOC LGBTQIA+ Pride Night party. The big celebration was returning to the city for the first time since 2019.

Kitty Obsidian (pictured above centre), queer Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi MC, burlesque performer and professional firebreather, took to the stage for the Pride talent show. Kitty took home the top Vic NAIDOC LGBTQIA+ Pride award.

The performer said they had moved to Melbourne in early 2020, right before Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the performing arts industry.

They said the NAIDOC Pride party in Fitzroy felt like “coming home” for them.

“It’s been a really big deal for me to connect back in with my people,” they said.

“Especially connecting with the queer mob that I didn’t get to grow up with.”


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Tarsha Jago and Tarneen Onus-Williams (also pictured above) also competed for the crown at the Vic NAIDOC Pride party.

Victoria’s Midsumma festival has confirmed all three performers will proudly be Midsumma’s Faces of Aboriginal Pride at the 2023 event.


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Vic NAIDOC Pride organiser Dylan Hoskins told Pedestrian it’s so important queer pride events are incorporated into formal NAIDOC programs each year.

“[NAIDOC Pride] is one step forward but we’re going to make leaps and bounds,” Hoskins said.

“The queer and blak community [in Melbourne] is so merged and it’s so strong and powerful. Everyone’s visible and it’s a powerhouse movement.

“For me it’s about providing platforms and opening doors for mob, for queer mob.

“NAIDOC Week is phenomenal — why does it have to be just a week?”


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Uncle Jack Charles wins Elder of the Year at national NAIDOC Week awards

NAIDOC Week continues until this Sunday (July 10), with this year’s theme Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!.

In Melbourne, a NAIDOC march kicked off Victorian Aboriginal Health Service at noon.

“We all must continue to Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! for systemic change and keep rallying around our mob, our Elders, our communities,” the National NAIDOC Committee explains.

“Whether it’s seeking proper environmental, cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, a comprehensive process of truth-telling, working towards treaties, or calling out racism – we must do it together.”

Last weekend, the winners of the annual national NAIDOC Week awards were announced. They recognise and celebrate Indigenous Australians’ excellence and achievements.

Among the queer winners was Uncle Jack Charles, who won Elder of the Year, and Torres Strait gay man Elijah Manis who won the 2022 Youth award for his climate change and LGBTIQ+ activism.

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