Australia: ‘Mob has always been there for me’: Indigenous drag performers to lead Midsumma pride march

On 26 January, while the country celebratesmourns or ignores Australia Day, Zac Collins-Widders will march through Melbourne in defence of his Aboriginality.

Two days later, he will lead a second march at Midsumma festival in celebration of his sexuality.

“There’s a contrast between the 26th when you are hated for being black and the 28th when you are celebrated for being queer,” the 21-year-old Anaiwan person says, of the annual pride march. “It’s good to have that day in between, because the 26th can be a very emotionally fatiguing and the 28th is a very fun day.”

Marching alongside will be Harley Dunolly-Lee, a Dja Dja Wurrung person.

In June, Dunolly-Lee (who performs burlesque as Anadiction) and Collins-Widders (who performs as Zoe Diaq) were “crowned” by Victorian Naidoc; they will be the first young Indigenous people to lead the pride march in St Kilda, atop the Indigenous float that opened the parade for the first time in 2017.

The pride march is the culmination of the Midsumma, a queer arts and culture festival which began on Monday and runs until 4 February.

Dunolly-Lee, 27 and gender-queer, says they were nervous about leading the march, but thinks it was an appropriate choice. Dja Dja Wurrung is one of 16 clans that make up the Kulin nation, on whose lands Melbourne was built.

“Because I am a Kulin person I feel it’s an obligation, even though I am on different Kulin lands of a different tribe,” Dunolly-Lee says. “It feels like, ‘Yes, I should be doing this, I should be leading, out of respect.’” Read more via the Guardian