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American Express Curates Sydney WorldPride 2023 Experience for With You &Proud Recipients

February 25, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Sydney WorldPride, which continues through March 6, celebrates the global LGBTQIA+ community through a series of exciting events including the festival’s Live and Proud: Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert and the 45th anniversary of the world-renowned Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade which included a performance by pop duo The Veronicas.

American Express, a principal partner, is creating a special Sydney WorldPride experience for selected recipients of the With You &Proud initiative, which celebrates champions within the LGBTQIA+ community and their supporters who proudly back them.

“At American Express, we’re committed to supporting a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and society. We value and embrace differences and believe unique perspectives, backgrounds and experiences are critical to the diversity of communities and the success of businesses,” said Naysla Edwards, Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Member Experience at American Express.

With You &Proud  celebrates the myriad of ways the LGBTQIA+ community expresses their pride and their supporters who proudly back them. No matter who you are, we want everyone to express their true selves with pride!” Edwards said.

Recipients share their first impressions of Sydney WorldPride and what they’re looking forward to gaining from their experience:

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Josh Feeney, nominated by partner David Chandler, has been a longtime contributor to Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade. Feeney, a resident of New South Wales, has led the parade’s MyPeopleMyTribe float, incorporating work from his photographic project, Bare Naked Truth.

Feeney’s involvement in Sydney WorldPride is part of his continued work as a champion for the LGBTQIA+ community, connecting his profession as a therapist to help Queer youth understand themselves and grow into their true selves.

“I went to my first Mardi Gras when I was 7 years old, and my parents had their first date at Mardi Gras in 1983 so it’s just really special to me. This year is particularly special because it’s my parents’ 40th anniversary and my boyfriend’s first time ever attending. I just love that WorldPride is affording us – and the world – this opportunity,” said Feeney.

“The different events have been really lovely – we went to Fair Day with Amex and then there’s the excitement of the parade and all of the community events.”

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Konstantinos Dosis, nominated by friend Tina Plessas, moved to New South Wales from Greece as an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights. Dosis uses his experience to help uplift and empower other members of the Greek gay community who have moved to Australia, helping to connect friends and peers with a sense of belonging and community.

“For me, this is an unreal experience to be able to meet so many people who are a part of this community in an environment that supports us. I feel like I’m dreaming, and the vibe is just so powerful,” said Dosis.

“I am trying to be happy every moment of every day, being myself. When I came here to Australia, I didn’t know anyone, but I had this feeling that I would meet so many great supporters – and I have.”

Photo: Courtesy of American Express

Jodie Eekelschot, nominated by son Matthew Eekelschot, has been on a years-long journey as a mother who has spent time educating herself about the LGBTQIA+ community after Matthew came out.

Jodie Eekelschot has become a champion for acceptance, inclusion and love among the LGBTQIA+ community in Queensland. As part of her work in the mining industry, she has established groups among her coworkers to build awareness around the challenges that LGBTQIA+ members face, and she has helped to foster a working environment where others can live loud and proud.

“Spending time with Matthew and seeing all of the things he’s told me and all of the special things that he is, is a very emotional experience. I am just so pleased to be here in support of Pride and of everybody here,” said Jodie Eekelschot.

“I’ve never been to WorldPride and it’s really special to be able to come with my mom, who has always loved and supported me, and to have this moment to bring her into my world. I am so excited that The Veronicas are performing at the parade – they’ve provided an incredible contribution to the community, and I’ve been following along since I was a little kid because they’re incredible,” added Matthew Eekelschot.

Throughout SydneyWorld Pride, With You &Proud winners have access to exclusive meet-and-greets, dining and entertainment vouchers, and a front row seat to view the parade.

Multimedia Files:

Josh Feeney, nominated by partner David Chandler_Photo Credit_Courtesy of American Express 2667 x 4000 jpeg 8.55 MB
Konstantinos Dosis, nominated by friend Tina Plessas_Photo Credit_Courtesy of American Express 4000 x 2667 jpeg 8.65 MB
Jodie Eekelschot, nominated by son Matthew Eekelschot_Photo Credit_Courtesy of American Express 4000 x 2667 jpeg 6.31 MB
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