“You can be an ally for people in the LGBTQIA+ community by standing up for us in situations where discrimination or prejudice exists, and you can fight for equality for all no matter who they love,”
When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Crawford aims to drive conscious inclusion and strive for deliberate diversity.
We accept that on this important topic, it is never “job done”. But we are committed to driving toward conscious inclusion by bringing awareness of our biases and promoting a culture where individuals from different ages, genders, ethnicities, races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, tenures, education and work experiences feel they have a place and value in our organisation.
With WorldPride hitting the southern hemisphere for the very first time (Sydney), we chatted to Sonya about her experiences as a transgendered woman.
Q: What has been your experience of inclusion at Crawford?
Sonya: Inclusion has always been a positive experience for me here at Crawford. I made sure I was transparent from the very beginning about being a transgendered woman. I find it stops any doubts, or misconceptions, or assumptions of who I am.
Job interviews are never easy for trans people; there are so many factors that play on your mind. You not only have to mentally prepare for your interview answers, but also be ready to meet people who may not understand or react well to someone of my kind. And there’s the voices in your head - do I look the part? Am I feminine enough? How does my voice sound? Am I embracing femininity in my walk and how I carry myself?
But I am pleased to say that ever since I walked through the doors at Crawford I have been embraced, nurtured, understood and most importantly safe and seen. Crawford has been my home for the past four years and not once have I ever felt misunderstood.
Q: What is the one thing you would like people to understand about the LGBTQIA+ community?
Sonya: I think, the biggest misconception of LGBTQIA+ people is that we live and love differently to those in heteronormative relationships. We as humans all have different ways and values in how we love, regardless of gender identity and/or orientation. But there isn't as much difference as some people think.
I often feel that the media, and social society, stereotype us as these shallow party going night owls, who live for the high life. The media portray us as these raging extroverted queens who live for nothing but themselves. But this couldn’t be further from the truth in my case. Many of us are successful diverse people who live normal and everyday lives with goals and aspirations just like any other person.
Q: What is the most challenging thing about being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Sonya: For me, the LGBTQIA+ community faces a variety of challenges that heterosexual individuals do not; that’s the reality even in the year 2023!
Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are deep rooted in our culture. If you identify as straight, frankly, it is important to understand that you have straight privilege and I’d ask you to recognise the importance of educating yourself on these issues.
Homophobia doesn’t just involve slurs and ridicule; unfortunately discrimination towards LGBTQIA+ people is intertwined with institutional problems and societal narratives that continue to silence queer survivors.
You can be an ally for people in the LGBTQIA+ community by standing up for us in situations where discrimination or prejudice may exist, and you can fight for equality for all no matter who they love.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your journey in terms of LGBTQIA+ and where you are today, considering how you have (no doubt) come?
Sonya: I have been very fortunate on my journey. I have lived and experienced the community through numerous facets - the art of music and performance, public speaking, being a hostess with the mostest (“Show Girl”), and I have been the face of campaigns and community events.
Behind the busy lights and the glitz of the scene, I have seen the dark side of being a person of indifference. Sadly, it has opened my eyes to the reality of this world we live in and the people we share it with. The LGBTQIA+ community has been a haven to me in times of fear and self-doubt and a place of refuge when no one else was willing or able to listen.
Every person’s story is different. But, for me, without the support of my community and a strong grounded family who love me so whole heartedly, I would not be here. I would likely be a statistic ridiculed by depression, alcohol, drugs or worse.
Crawford Embraces WorldPride: what is WorldPride?
WorldPride is a global LGBTQIA+ festival that has been staged since 2000, with cities competing to host the event.
Although traditional Pride month in the northern hemisphere is held in June, Sydney WorldPride 2023 kicked off on Friday 17 February and runs through until Sunday 5 March 2023. This is to coincide with the timing of Sydney’s world-famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and of course, to ensure it’s held in Australia’s warmer months!
Not only does Sydney WorldPride represent the first time the event is being staged in the southern hemisphere, but this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, the 45th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the fifth anniversary of marriage equality in Australia.
The right to host WorldPride is licensed by InterPride which has representatives from nearly every Pride organisation around the world.
Previous WorldPride celebrations have been held in New York (2019) which marked 50 years since the Stonewall uprising, and Copenhagen (2021) when both WorldPride and the EuroGames were celebrated.
Sydney was chosen by InterPride members to be the host of WorldPride in 2023, marking it the first time a city in the southern hemisphere had been chosen.
Sydney WorldPride has incorporated all the beloved Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events, plus a broad festival offering across arts, sport, theatre, concerts, parties, First Nations programming and a human rights conference.