Express sits down with Pride’s newest board member James Bennett to see what he hopes to bring to next year’s celebrations
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I come from Christchurch where my extended family still live, I’m thirty-two years young, single-ish, and have two amazing mothers! My family means so much to me – mum hasn’t been very well of late and I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with her when I took a break from the stresses of work at the start of the year. This time gave me the chance to refocus on what I truly wanted out of life. I’d encourage everyone to do the same.
What is your coming out story?
I only found it important to come out to my mum. I did this in the garage, sitting in a completely packed car prior to the trip we were taking to Wellington for Uni. I could have chosen a better moment on the trip but the tears started flowing alongside comments like “what about my grandchildren?” We had plenty of time to discuss this on the five-hour journey and by the end we each had an understanding that it’s going to be okay.
You’re a community force – what was it like working at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras?
A community force – well I’m probably starting to sound a little bit more like a mummy’s boy! The communities have always been good to me, and helped me a lot especially Wellington and in turn I think it’s important to give back however you feel you can. It was fantastic to be able to translate my corporate background to my community. We worked very hard and we had an amazing team who worked to put on a huge expression of how truly proud we are to be us. Leaving Mardi Gras was hard and left quite a hole in my heart.
What do you think you can bring to Pride?
I think working with Pride is starting to make me whole again. I bring to Pride, passion, commitment, and know-how from my role at Mardi Gras. I’ve found there is so much knowledge and experience in members of our communities that I’m looking forward to working with and encouraging them to get involved and use their talents to make PRIDE perfect.
You’re stuck on a deserted island with two other people – who would they be?
Two people I would take with me to a deserted island would have to be Helen Clark and Donald Trump. I’d take Aunty Helen as she is my hero and I believe one of the greatest minds of our age. We would take Donald so he couldn’t be President and use the time to educate him and turn him into a human being.