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Meet the crew: Heaps Gay

We meet Kat Dopper, the mastermind behind one of Sydney's most inclusive (and fun) parties

Written by
Jordi Kretchmer

Whether you're gay, straight or somewhere in between, you'll have a heaps good time at one of Sydney's favourite queer and inclusive parties. We sat down to have a chat with Heap Gay's founder Kat Dopper (pictured, top left, alongside her buddies from the Bearded Tit) to find more out about the project, its internet incarnation and her hopes for Sydney's queer scene in the future.

Hey Kat, so can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?  I am a Sydneysider, born and bred on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains. I've been an event producer in the music industry for the last six or so years and now freelance on various projects. I also co-present a segment on FBi Radio called King and Queens, which is all about queer culture. I live in Redfern, ride a scooter, love music and performance. And I love good coffee!

Who and what is Heaps Gay? I am Heaps Gay – just me! Although I rely on a lot on the help of my amazing friends and family. My parents just drove the Heaps Gay float in the parade!

Heaps Gay started three years ago as a series of regular all inclusive monthly parties at the Gladstone Hotel which then evolved into charity events, art exhibitions and lots of big collabs with festivals like Vivid Sydney, Mardi Gras and Lost Paradise. This year we are going on tour with Groovin’ the Moo so kids out in rural areas can enjoy the HG vibes. 

In November last year we also launched a place for people to gather and discuss queer issues and stories. It’s a platform for anyone to write or showcase their works and we have lots of collaborators from within the community. The idea for the site is to take the HG party ethos and translate it into an online environment that is widely accessible to anyone who can't access the parties. 

Why did you start Heaps Gay? Heaps Gay was born at a backyard barbecue back in 2013 when I didn't have many gay or lesbian identifying friends. I'd just arrived back from London where the party scene was so vibrant and alive and I felt like there was nothing like it here in Sydney. Especially where my straight friends would feel comfortable ­– so we brainstormed names and HG was born!

Describe a Heaps Gay party in three words... House Party Vibes! 

What's one of your fondest memories from your time working on Heaps Gay? It has to be Vivid Sydney, when small little HG was included in the official Vivid Music Official program and we sold out three rooms of the Factory Theatre with over 50 artists, performers and musicians. The vibe was incredible. We will be joining the Vivid team again this year and can't bloody wait!

Where would you like to see Sydney's queer nightlife in five years time? We have seen so much change in the queer nightlife scene since HG started, including the closure of queer Oxford Street clubs. In five years, I’d like to imagine a place where there is no discrimination, inclusive is a common word and the youth of Sydney have choices – lots of events, clubs and bars which welcome all walks of life. AND an open Sydney with no lockouts – can you imagine!

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