Pride Culture Club

William Yang speaking in front of a large seated audience

Pride Culture Club is a social gathering of LGBTQIA+ staff, students, and allies who meet to share their passion for queer culture. We meet every two months to exchange recommendations, hear short presentations from members and invited guests, and attend cultural events in Sydney. We aim to platform works of art, film, music, and literature which depict and explore the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, as well as works by queer creators.

A joint initiative of the Pride Network and the Library’s LGBTQIA+ Ally Group, Pride Culture Club is free to join, and participation is open to all staff and students across the University.

Join our mailing list to receive updates or express interest in presenting at upcoming events.

Please note that all items on this list are derived from the recommendations of our members. The University of Sydney Library can only provide access to resources held in our collections.

Culture Club #1

Date: Thursday 27 April 2023


  • Julie Sommerfeldt (Manager, Rare Books and Special Collections)
  • Jeremy Smith (visual artist)
  • Professor Lee Wallace (Director, Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre)

Recommended resources:

Julie Sommerfeldt presented a selection of queer treasures from Rare Books and Special Collections.

Jeremy Smith talked us through his artwork Queer Sydney: A History, which was commissioned by the University Library in 2022 and now hangs proudly in the main stairwell of Fisher Library.

Professor Lee Wallace spoke about lesbian visibility and the Wachowskis' 1996 neo-noir crime thriller Bound.

Culture Club #2

Date: Thursday 29 June 2023


  • Sasha Bailey (PhD candidate and Research Assistant, Matilda Centre)
  • William Yang (visual artist)

Recommended resources:

PhD candidate Sasha Bailey took us on a tour of the glamour and drama of the television series Pose.

  • Pose (2018) created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Steven Canals

Acclaimed photographer William Yang presented a selection of his body of work chronicling the LGBTQIA+ subculture of Sydney in the 1970s and 1980s. Following his Pride Culture Club appearance, Yang generously gifted signed copies of his books to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

Culture Club #3

Date: Thursday 31 August 2023


  • Kade Fenwick (Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Organisational Development, Human Resources)
  • Dominic Hearne (Sessional Academic, Digital Technologies, School of Education and Social Work)
  • Levent Sahin (Academic Liaison Librarian, Conservatorium, Architecture, and Business)
  • Chris Pepin-Neff (Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Government and International Relations)

Recommended resources:

Kade Fenwick spoke about Chrissy Amphlett, the legendary frontwoman of Australian rock band Divinyls, and her impact on their own coming out journey.

  • Music from Monkey Grip (1982) by Divinyls
  • Desperate (1983) by Divinyls
  • What a Life! (1985) by Divinyls
  • Temperamental (1988) by Divinyls
  • Divinyls (1991) by Divinyls
  • Underworld (1996) by Divinyls
  • I Touch Myself Project (2014)

Dominic Hearne spoke about the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, which is often credited with launching the LGBTQIA+ choral movement.

  • Creep live performance (2019) by San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Can You Feel the Love Tonight live performance (2015) by San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus

Levent Sahin spoke about Schitt's Creek, Heartstopper, and the power of depicting queer joy on television.

Chris Pepin-Neff spoke about their podcast Shark Bites and Gay Rights, which delves into the role of emotion in public policymaking.

  • Shark Bites and Gay Rights (2023) hosted by Chris Pepin-Neff

Culture Club #4

Date: Thursday 26 October 2023


  • Ren Kotapati (Learning and Development Consultant)
  • Anderson Chang (Graphic Designer, Business School)
  • Daniel Smith (Project Manager, Disability Inclusion Action Plan)

Recommended resources:

Ren Kotapati spoke about androgynous and non-binary gender presentation in ancient icons and artefacts. After visiting the “Feared and Revered” exhibition at the Australian National Museum in Canberra, she was inspired to learn more about how LGBTQIA+ representation has changed over the years in historical art.

  • Finnegans Woke and intro819 (2017) “Androgyny in Renaissance Art” Introduction to the Renaissance
  • Ashley N. Dawson (2013) “Reversal of Gender in Ancient Egyptian Mythology: Discovering the Secrets of Androgyny” Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research 1(1) 2
  • Rev. Ken Yamada (2022) “Nonbinary Buddha” Higashi Honganji USA: Jodo Shinshu Buddhism for Everyone  
  • Lanier Graham (2015) “Cosmic Androgyny: Sacred Works of Art” The Interfaith Observer
  • Jacob Ogles (2016) “19 LGBT Hindu Gods” Advocate
  • Spencer McDaniel (2020) “Transgender and Intersex People in the Ancient World” Tales of Times Forgotten: Making the Distant Past Relevant to the Present Day
  • “Seven Things About Transgender People That You Didn’t Know” Human Rights Campaign

Anderson Chang presented a review of queer podcasts, including his own podcast We Have No Shame.

  • The Read (2013) hosted by Kid Fury and Crissle
  • Like a Virgin (2021) hosted by Fran Tirado and Rose Dommu
  • Attitudes! (2022) hosted by Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi
  • Las Culturistas (2016) hosted by Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang
  • We’re Having Gay Sex (2020) hosted by Ashley Gavin
  • Food 4 Thot (2017) hosted by Denne Michele Norris, Joseph Osmundson, Tommy Pico, and Fran Tirado
  • We Have No Shame (2019) hosted by Anderson Chang and Ashley Curry

Daniel Smith spoke about the power of representation in storytelling, discussing some of the book titles that accompanied his coming out journey.

  • Holding the Man (1995) by Timothy Conigrave
  • Holding the Man (2015) directed by Neil Armfield
  • Loaded (1995) by Christos Tsiolkas
  • Head On (1998) directed by Ana Kokkinos
  • Blue Heaven (2002) by Joe Keenan
  • The Front Runner (1974) by Patricia Nell Warren
  • When You Don’t See Me (2007) by Timothy James Beck

Culture Club #5

Bunting with the rainbow progress flag

Date: Thursday 28 March 2024


  • Joanna Lamb (Director, EnQueer and Project Manager, Central Program Management Office)
  • Ali Asghar Shah (Creative Director, EnQueer and Associate Director, Business Enablement, Investment NSW)
  • Hugh O’Keefe (author, entertainer, educator)

Recommended resources:

Joanna Lamb and Ali Asghar Shah shared their experiences as co-founders and directors of EnQueer, Sydney's only writers' festival dedicated to queer voices. After a highly successful virtual debut in 2021, EnQueer has showcased over 120 queer writers at in-person festivals and events, including Sydney WorldPride in 2023.

Hugh O'Keefe shared stories from his two memoirs, Palely Loitering and Telling Tales. Hugh is a legend of the LGBTQIA+ community of 1960s-80s Sydney, during which time he juggled two careers: primary school teacher and entertainer. He is perhaps most well known as the resident pianist at the iconic Albury Hotel's cocktail lounge. Following his Pride Culture Club appearance, Hugh generously gifted signed copies of his books to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

Culture Club #6

Date: Thursday 24 April 2024

Theme: Lesbian Day of Visibility poetry salon


  • Andi Egan (Senior Diversity and Inclusion Consultant)
  • Lily Stokes (Project Coordinator, Domestic Recruitment and Access, Sydney Future Students)
  • Alexandra Pinkham (PhD candidate, Classics and Ancient History)
  • Fiona Lawrence (Research Administration Officer, Sydney School of Public Health)
  • Phoebe Adams (Assistant Librarian, Medicine and Health, University of Sydney Library)
  • Sally Chik (Manager, Academic Services, University of Sydney Library)
  • + open mic

Recommended resources:

Pride Network co-chair Lily Stokes opened the evening with a reading of Sappho's Fragment 31, sometimes known as the Ode to Anactoria.

PhD candidate Alexandra Pinkham delivered a presentation on "lesbian poetry's OG" Sappho, including a close analysis of Fragments 1 and 31.

Fiona Lawrence gave a touching reading of a poem that they read at their wedding to spouse Liz Kenna.

  • Finally, Love Poem (2014) by Alix Olson

Phoebe Adams recited three of Emily Dickinson's poems from memory.

Sally Chik shared an original poem exploring her coming out journey.

We were treated to a variety of impromptu readings (including original compositions) during the open mic segment of the evening.

Culture Club #7

Date: Thursday 30 May 2024

Theme: Qtopia excursion 


  • George Savoulis (Curatorial Director, Qtopia Sydney)
  • Jeremy Smith (visual artist and Curator, Qtopia Sydney)

Recommended resources:

Spanning four distinct sites, Qtopia is the largest centre for queer history and culture anywhere in the world. Following its much-anticipated opening in February 2024, Qtopia Sydney launched a series of exhibitions guided by five major themes: HIV/AIDS, human rights, sexuality and identity, media representation, and First Nations stories. Pride Culture Club members were treated to a private tour of Qtopia Sydney’s inaugural exhibition program conducted by Curatorial Director George Savoulis and visual artist and curator Jeremy Smith.