This year to celebrate the 46th Sydney Mardi Gras, the QVB is heroing the next generation of changemakers in the community. Together, we’re celebrating the unique stories of these boundary pushers, as their restlessness for a better future creates long-lasting change.
Adrian Murdoch is certainly no one trick pony. As the General Manager of Brand and Business Development of Minus18, the Australian charity dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth, his role spans from business to activism. Responsible for coordinating Minus18’s brand partnerships and projects, like the Queer Ideas Festival and the Wear It Purple campaign, Adrian is driven to create a safer space for queer youth in Australia. Come Mardi Gras, he relishes the chance to celebrate the vibrant community he belongs to. Here, Adrian shares his tips, tricks and the Mardi Gras essentials he can’t go without for the most fabulous three weeks of the year.
**Watch Adrian's Unruly video at the link **here, and read on below to learn more about his work with the LGBTQIA+ community (as well as their top tips for surviving Mardi Gras!).
When casting talent and crew we ensure a strong representation of diversity including members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community
Photographer: Joe Brennan | Styling: Petta Chua | Hair: Sophie Roberts | Make-up: Gillie Campbell
Tell us about yourself, and what brings you to collaborating with the QVB for Unruly?
My name is Adrian, my pronouns are he/they, I’m proudly queer and fierce champion for queer young people. I’m excited to express my identity, which is both masculine and feminine and remind my younger self you can embrace both parts of yourself.
How has your imagination influenced your work?
As queer people we are allowed to imagine spaces where you can freely express your identity, to be affirmed and to be celebrated. Imagination helped Minus18 to create the first Queer Formal over 10 years ago, a home for queer young people to have the most sparkliest night of their lives. That imagination to take it across Australia empowered us to turn that dream into a reality, with 2000 queer youth getting to attend for free, across the country, every year.
In less than five words, how would you describe a better future for the community?
Trans youth deserve happiness
How important is speaking up and being your true self?
Being true to yourself inspires queer young people to be fearless themselves and speaking up for those in the community that still experience marginalisation is an important way for us to centre their experiences, carving out space so we can pass the microphone to those who so often don’t have a seat at the table.
What’s the importance of your role and place with Minus18?
My role at Minus18 is all about empowering our incredibly passionate team to be the change makers they truly are, by driving national awareness campaigns, ensuring that our events remain free and accessible, bringing essential inclusion education to those communities who need it most - I am so proud of our team and the drive they have to make an inclusive future for queer young people.
What are your hopes for future change through the work of Minus18?
To continue to bring LGBTQIA+ inclusion to all corners of the country, ensuring every queer young person has access to safe and affirming spaces, while empowering allies and families to be the most supportive champions they can be.
If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would you say?
There are some really confusing and difficult times, especially in High School, but it makes us resilient and helps us to find a career where we can put that into action to imagine a future where queer young people don’t feel that same way and get to see that change come to life.
During the week you will find me...
working with the Minus18 team down in Naarm/Melbourne
But my real passion is...
spending time with my partner, enjoying the sun and listening to music with the dog in the park.
My fondest Mardi Gras memory is...
marching with Minus18 during World Pride in 2023, amplifying the messages of our LGBTQIA+ young people for hundreds of thousands to see. The energy was absolutely electric!
I prepare for all the festivities by...
topping up my glitter supplies, stocking up on Protein Balls to get through the three weeks and scouring through the program for a mix of shows, parties and exhibits.
My must-have Mardi Gras accessory is...
that perfect cross-body bag that fits your phone, wallet, protein balls, sunglasses, disposable camera, lip balm and matches the fit!
The best place to watch the parade is...
being immersed in the crowd and feeling the waves of energy all along Oxford St and Darling Square. If you’re not a fan of crowds, check out Viewing Parties all across Australia!
The best way to recover from the parade is...
going to Bondi Beach for a full reset down at the Icebergs or in the ocean.
One thing I wish people knew about Mardi Gras is...
It's much more than the one weekend - there are talks, exhibits, cabarets, installations and so much more across THREE WEEKS! Checking out the programme online is a must.
I love being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community because...
we so easily can empathise with the feelings of not belonging, so understand the importance of inclusive spaces that cater to rich diversity within the community. That might mean not just a party, but Pride events at a bouldering club, or a storytelling workshop at a library — pride can mean something different to everyone.
One way you can support the LGBTQIA+ community this Mardi Gras is...
showing your allyship at work and helping to make it an inclusive space for the LGBTQIA+ community. That might mean helping to celebrate a day like IDAHOBIT or Wear it Purple Day later in the year, encouraging them to to do inclusion training – if you’re stuck on ideas, check out Minus18.org.au
To find out how you can support the LGBTQIA+ community, follow the link here for the QVB's roundup of some of the most impactful organisations you can donate to this Mardi Gras (and all year round).