Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, sometimes referred to as simply Sydney Mardi Gras, is an annual LGBT festival and pride parade held in Sydney, Australia. It begins on the second Thursday in February and culminates on the first Saturday in March.

The history of the festival began in 1978, when the Gay Solidarity Group organized a morning protest march followed by a nighttime celebration. The event was designed to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969 and to call for an end to discrimination of homosexuals and the repeal of all anti-homosexual laws. The march featured about 500 participants, but the figure rose to around 2,000 in the evening.

Although the organizers had obtained permission, the parade was broken up by the police who arrested more than 50 participants. Most of them were released without bail and didn’t face any charges but these arrests led to many people being outed and losing their jobs.

The second parade was held in 1979 and attracted 3,000 people. It commemorated both the Stonewall riots and the riot of the previous year. Despite a significant police presents, no one was arrested.

In 1981, the annual parade was moved to the summer and renamed to the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. It received its current name in 1988. Of course, the event doesn’t cater exclusively to gays and lesbians but to the entire LGBTQI community including those identifying as bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex. The festival has been steadily growing since its inception. The annual parade features several thousand participants and attracts more than half a million spectators.

The Mardi Gras Festival in Sydney typically begins on the second Thursday in February. Its main highlights include the rainbow flag raising on Sydney Town Hall, Mardi Gras Fair Day, and the Mardi Gras Awards ceremony that honors organizations and individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the festival and the LGBTQI community in general.

The most anticipated event of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the renowned Sydney Mardi Gras Parade followed by a party. What started as a political protest has become one of the world’s largest pride parades featuring elaborate floats and thousands entrants in vibrant costumes. Most entrants are members of various community groups and organizations. The parade is led by a Chief of Parade (Grand Marshal). Former Chiefs have included Rupert Everett, Margaret Cho, Matthew Mitcham, and Amande Lepore.

The parade is followed by a huge party featuring well-known Australian and international artists. Past performers have included Kylie Minogue, Boy George, Dannii Minogue, Darren Hayes, Tina Arena, Cyndi Lauper, Olivia Newton-John, George Michael, Kelly Rowland, Adam Lambert, RuPaul, Nick Jonas, Betty Who, and Conchita Wurst.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras




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