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Street Portraits Celebrate Sydney’s Inspiring Locals

Wear It Purple co-founder and activist Katherine Hudson discusses empowerment, discrimination and the tragedy in Orlando.


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Artist Kaff-iene and Katherine Hudson

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ANZ will launch a large-scale street art project consisting of murals recognising local people with inspiring stories on unused walls across Sydney.

Each subject featured in the project has been chosen for their positive impact on their communities, changing things for the better.

Kaff-eine, one of Australia’s most celebrated street artists, will bring to life a portrait of activist and Wear It Purple co-founder Katherine Hudson as part of the project.

Katherine has always been passionate about advocating for social justice. She told LOTL that she became involved in gay and lesbian rights activism when she was in year 7. “My school started a gay/straight alliance and I was the youngest and probably most vocal member. At that time, I hadn’t really worked out what my own sexuality was, but I knew that discrimination based on who someone loves was wrong,” Katherine recalls.

After learning about the high rate of youth suicide among young LGBTI people and hearing about a series of LGBTI youth suicides in the US, Katherine was motivated to launch Wear It Purple in 2010.

“Wear it Purple has a central message, that you have the right to be proud of who you are. It’s a day for everyone and it’s a day of acceptance, and so that’s why coming out of a very dark place of youth suicides, it’s now transformed into a very positive day of acceptance in schools,” Katherine says. She never imagined Wear It Purple would become an internationally recognised day.

Empowering LGBTI youth is one of the building blocks Wear It Purple uses when speaking to young people. Katherine believes that the most effective way to empower young people is simply to treat them "like they’re worth listening to." While Katherine says this may seem like an obvious answer, she has also had numerous experiences of being patronised by people that are only a few years older. “The best way to combat social alienation is to actively include young people in society," she says.

Katherine notes that subliminal and covert discrimination are still extremely prevalent in society today. In efforts to combat this discrimination, Katherine said everyone needs to have “the confidence to call people out when they say or do something discriminatory.”  

She suggests that language and behaviour towards marginalised groups also needs to be examined.

“We need to assess our own language and behaviour towards discriminated groups, for example, how we talk about refugees or characterise Muslims.”  Katherine looks toward a brighter future, saying, “I believe one day we could live a society free from prejudice, but as Macklemore said, ‘No law’s gonna change us, we have to change us’.”

With the world still reeling from the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Katherine shared with LOTL her thoughts on the horrendous act of discrimination.

“This is a time of grief for our community. Our community has also strengthened in the face of this tragedy. By gathering at vigils and services we refuse to succumb to fear and we assert our right to be proud and public, not to hide in the shadows. I attended the Orlando commemoration service at St Andrew’s Cathedral. The Archbishop of Sydney condemned this act of hate against the gay community. The Prime Minister and NSW Premier both attended the service and prayed for the victims. This would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.”

Katherine continues to provide a voice and symbol of unity for young rainbow people to hold onto.

Kaff-eine’s mural of Katherine will be located at: Easts RSL, 97-98 Spring St, Bondi Junction.

ANZ will make a donation to each of the subjects’ local charity or cause of choice. For more information, click here. 

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