How Sydney's Museum of LGBTQIA+ History is Celebrating Pride All Year Round

How Sydney's Museum of LGBTQIA+ History is Celebrating Pride All Year Round

A new museum of LGBTQIA+ history and culture aims to entertain and educate.

One of the largest centres of queer history and culture in the world, Qtopia has lofty ambitions – but there’s a reason for that.

“A big component of what we’re about is saving lives. We have a terrible percentage of people in this country who take their own lives because they’re dealing with issues of identity,” says Qtopia CEO Greg Fisher. “But this is about hope. We’d like to think that we’re now in the position to turn hate and discrimination caused by ignorance into love and understanding through education.”

The centre, which is located at the old police station in Sydney’s Darlinghurst and will open next month, will activate a number of exhibits in time for Mardi Gras (16 February to 3 March), spanning a range of LGBTQIA+ movements and history. A sunken theatre seating 40 to 50 people in the former substation will open with a walk-through of 50 years of queer music culture curated by ARIA Award winning singer-songwriter Bertie Blackman. An AIDS memorial in the main building will accompany subculture-specific attractions, including a First Nations-focused exhibit about queer culture from pre-colonial times until today, a spotlight on the evolution of cross-dressing within the trans community and a look into Dykes on Bikes and the group’s rich history of purpose.

Since Qtopia’s inception in 2021, $3.85 million in funding from the NSW state government has made its permanent innercity centre possible but the vision has been decades in the making. “It’s more than 45 years since the first group of gay and lesbian folks [the 78ers] had a street parade down Oxford Street, which evolved into the celebration that is Mardi Gras today,” says Fisher. “To be involved in something like this at this moment fills me with a great sense of pride.”

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