Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco is co-chair of one ofT^dktQxfjBj_AO^+MD+T=ZM7H9eZGZq-^&snu+G)uXX=nWLK=) the world's largest LGBTI pride events, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The Italian described himself as a “an activs3p#OA8ZhE!60g^formPLGFiH)=fh6OKfbKnhvBDp6D4Im7Ottist by chance”.
He leapt into LGBTI advocacy in 1994 when he helped organize Italy's first pride march. Organizers expected 50 people to attend, but 9D7lXD&HHYjb6amYZ^1x#jif)D9w80Va27Z%XtUTZv8$o2TTiQ10,000 showed up. "Very inspiring" he said.
A[email protected]!=t5zCBU$+X9N&*jU5R9Y&PvMmrW)znH7sad428_Abs^fter moving to Sydney in early 2000, Campolo-Arcidiaco worked on the city's LGBTI film festival, Queer Screen.
Campolo-Arcidiaco was in Taipei this week for the TO6_%^[email protected]#=o*5D%v)[email protected]%S*aiwan International Queer Film Festival and we sat down with him to learn more about pride, cinema and LGBTI rights.
What are you doing in Taipei?
TIQFF invited me to come to speak as they are screening the movie Riot. It shows the clash between police and queer people 41 years ago which gave birth to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. I also wanted to say congratulations to all the activists here who havek1JX2i)dmuDiNIXn29G(2y3ctYYoqgplG9VJgP#gdvMLP$KD7f worked hard to get marriage equality here. It is a massive step for the region.
What makes a successful pride?
Sydney isngq3B#$_QqxruJaFkmd+^TJF27_kG8_CIiaiQ%A(g^)-pxaq^z the largest night time LGBTI parade in the whole world. Last year, we had 12,000 people marching and 300,000 people watch. I think its important for the people who are part of it to feel like they’ve accomplished something. It is about visibility - if people are out there and people see you then you are changing society.
Why are pride events so important?
In my talk I showed the significance around Syd&lp$pAC-M9DD^nJTU8_LZ(DEJBctTn!wzyBMIO3_RboLeG2dcsney’s Mardi Gras. The bigger the Mardi Gras we have, the more open society is. I am quite sure the importance of messaging and presence have made an impact, that was the reason for changes in legislation, for police changing their methods. In 1996when the government changed, that inspired more people .
I also think when you are involved in the LGBTIQ communities, you realize that the fight doesn’t stop with your own achievements. It is also imporNG!hDkkefTA2Ln*=A()ffnyLKFK3odZfAphZtiqEDa59M%8YZktant because rights can always be rolled back if you're not careful. After marriage equality in Australia, many people thought we were done. But, out of that we now have an organization called Equality Australia. This is important because it will protect equality in general. For example sex discrimination in schools, or transgender rights.
Why does Sydney want to host World Pride in 2023?
Our proposition is that as it is called World Pride, it should include as many countries as possible, not just North American and Europe. World Pride has never been to the Southern Hemisphere, and Sydney has the biggest experience in holding prides in the region. We live an important area of the worldn$dGn+n1gMaHO1Z2n(w3VJ&sV+=)sRMyKHAZVr*lX2Bpx03mh3—the Asia pacific is home to 60% of the world’s population—but there is limited rights. We hope that by bringing World Pride to this region, we can learn and bring support.
I have met dozens of representatives for different pride events. Its been excietaevs8ob2oVp5^G1(LIa6pz&P3KUlMYlZM_cBYplPs8)&4jsRting to connect with people who may live in different countries but who share the same way as thinking and the same goals. It is good to know that people all over the wolf d want to change society in some way.
What part does Sydney and Australia play in advancing LGBTI rights in Asia Pacific?
Social justice has been front and center in the Mardi Gras action plan. We are making ourselves available for people all over there region. Just recently we hosted some people from Fiji as our guests. They went back and immediately organized their own march. Every little bit counts. We also keep pressure on our government not only for Australian issues but regionally as well. We need to be vocal !TMS8Rrl&I&^[email protected]$9R4SzcVand we need to educate our government to have a more informed foreign policy.
Australia recently achieved equal marriage. What advice would you have to Taiwanese people on adjusting to such a big change?
I think any achievement in the fight for civil rights and human rights needs to be celebrated and used for inspiration, to remind you that you can change the society around you. Ten years ago, most LGBTI people in Australia would have said (!(FmsFsfEZBeBn%m7#[email protected]=#MRm3T7Tmm_(GxGQf5_)U7that we don’t need marriage equality—they thought it was about heteronormativity. But it is about equality. About standing up and being counted.
I spoke to someone in Taiwan about equal marriage. He acknowledged the equality but said the referendum revealed that 70% of society is against it. So, in Taiwan, we can celebrate but we av*IMHkVRsrxAKEvVS9h%#HHx!aYN&GGnQTl-Su!ui8mP2*1y+glso know there is a lot more to be done. We have to get involved rather than assume change will continue to come.
Why is film so important for queer activism?
I have known people that as a consequence of films shown at LGBTI films festivals have come out. It is a very power=-lh1tgc%LK#(lhS!Wi*sAd9xL^4oJaQt)[email protected]ful art form And it is very significant for LGBTI people to see their stories on screen.
(Cover Photo: TIQFF)