Amsterdam Rainbow Dress arrives in Sydney, raising awareness for LGBTQIA+ human rights issues

Actor, theatre critic and trans woman, Suzy Wrong models the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, credit: Cassandra Hannagan</em>
Actor, theatre critic and trans woman, Suzy Wrong models the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, credit: Cassandra Hannagan
The massive gown is made up of the flags of the countries that still criminalise LGBTQIA+ people. 

After travelling the world, the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress, has come to Sydney, raising much-needed awareness of the human rights affected the global LGBTQIA+ community. The dress is modelled in front of the Sydney Harbour by actor, theatre critic and trans woman, Suzy Wrong.

Measuring over 3.5 metres high and 16 metres in diameter, the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress was designed in 2016 by Mattijs van Bergen, Arnout van Krimpen, Jochem Kaan and Oeri van Woezik.

It is made up of the national flags of 71 countries where it is still illegal to be LGBTQIA+ and where members of the community can be penalised by imprisonment, torture or death.

Credit: Cassandra Hannagan

“The Amsterdam Rainbow Dress is a powerful embodiment of the global journey toward equality for people who face serious discrimination and harm based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or variations in sex characteristics,” says Ymania Brown, a Samoan born Fa’afafine trans woman from Australian LGBTIQ+ organisation, Equality Australia.

Since it was created, six countries – Angola, Belize, India, Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana – have changed their legislation and their flags have been replaced with the rainbow flag. Most recently, Singapore has decriminalised homosexuality and the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis ruled that laws criminalising homosexuality are unconstitutional.

“After decades of work by activists from affected communities, many countries have repealed laws that criminalised people on the basis of who they are or who they love, but still 71 countries criminalise sexual acts between people of the same sex and 13 countries directly criminalise the gender identity or expression of trans and gender diverse people while many more disproportionately target trans and gender diverse people under other criminal laws.”

New South Wales is the first Australian state to welcome the dress, ahead of the Sydney WorldPride 2023 kicking off in February, which includes the LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Conference on 1-2 March 2023.

See below the list of countries as compiled by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA):

  1. Singapore
  2. Uganda
  3. Qatar
  4. Mauritius
  5. Comoros
  6. Ghana
  7. Turkmenistan
  8. Cameroon
  9. Palestine
  10. Namibia
  11. Egypt
  12. Afghanistan
  13. Morocco
  14. Dominica
  15. Senegal
  16. Malawi
  17. Samoa
  18. Kenya
  19. Malaysia
  20. Uzbekistan
  21. Ethiopia
  22. Papua New Guinea
  23. Sudan
  24. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  25. Cook Islands
  26. United Arab Emirates
  27. Maldives
  28. Swaziland
  29. Brunei
  30. Antigua and Barbuda
  31. Zimbabwe
  32. Tanzania
  33. Togo
  34. Tunisia
  35. Myanmar
  36. Kuwait
  37. Iraq
  38. Bangladesh
  39. Guyana
  40. Guinea
  41. Yemen
  42. Jamaica
  43. Grenada
  44. Tonga
  45. Saudi Arabia
  46. Eritrea
  47. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  48. Oman
  49. Iran
  50. Kiribati
  51. Tuvalu
  52. Lebanon
  53. Nigeria
  54. Indonesia
  55. Barbados
  56. Pakistan
  57. Gambia
  58. Algeria
  59. Burundi
  60. Solomon Islands
  61. Sierra Leone
  62. Mauritania
  63. Saint Lucia
  64. Syria
  65. Libya
  66. Liberia
  67. Chad
  68. South Sudan
  69. Zambia
  70. Somalia
  71. Sri Lanka

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