The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, founded in 1978, is an annual LGBT pride parade and festival held in Sydney, Australia, from mid-February to first week of March. Attended by hundreds of thousands of people around Australia and overseas, it is one of the largest such festivals in the world and the largest Pride event in Oceania. It includes events such as the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade and Party, Bondi Beach Drag Races, Harbor Party and academic discussion panel ‘Queer Thinking’, and attracts around 70,000 people to Victoria Park, Sydney. This event is also one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions with dancing, music, and parades being the main crowd-pullers. It is New South Wales’ second largest annual event in terms of economic impact, generating an annual income of about A$30 million for the state. Numerous participants were arrested by New South Wales Police in the initial years when the event began, so this event maintains a political flavor, with many marching groups promoting LGBTQI rights issues.
Marriage equality was a dominant theme in the 2011 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
, with many groups lobbying for same sex marriage. The event ends with Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, featuring more than 8500 entrants in colorful costume and elaborate floats, representing a community group, topical theme, or political message. The procession also includes colorful dancing boys, the famous Dykes on Bikes, big and little costumes featuring glitter and leather and big-name acts including Cyndi Lauper, George Michael and Kylie Minogue.
The parade starts at 7:30 pm, but people get there much earlier to get a good spot. You may choose to visit the clubs as well. The legendary Club Kooky party, which is the glittering jewel of the Sydney queer scene crown, has been running for over 22 years. This club is so loved, the tickets usually sell out within an hour. If you’re on the hunt for history, you can partake in Planet dwellers’ Original Gayborhood Walking Tour.
For over 40 years, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has provided a platform for the creative expression of LGBTQI Australians. The costumes range from skimpy leather clothing
to extravagant feather bowers, stilts, and constructed statement pieces. Nothing’s off limits, nothing too bright or dark, and nothing too big or too small. Wear a tiara, a feather boa, and pair it up with any sparkly bikini
or a full-fledged character costume
, and you’re on board.
For some great costumes visit www.beverlyheels.com.