The grand finale of Sydney Mardi Gras will hit the streets of Sydney on Saturday night but the Parade that brings so many to Sydney had some very political beginnings.
Standing on a milk crate beside Oxford Street, in comfort on one of the exclusive viewing areas or taking part on a float or walking the route, the Sydney Mardi Gras parade today harvests the passion and pride of the LGBTI community and celebrates it with the world.
But sobering to remember that it was not always full of surf lifesavers and dykes on bikes but began as a single political protest in 1978 that had involved 1500 marches and resulted in 53 marches arrests.
Then in 1979 a parade was held to commemorate the march of the previous year. It was Sydney’s contribution to the international Gay Solidarity Celebrations, an event that had grown up as a result of the Stonewall riots in New York. But it helped change laws in New South Wales about conducting protests, a major civil rights milestone beyond the gay community.
Today the Sydney Mardi Gras festival stretches across three weeks and covers a wide spectrum of events but the parade still remains the shining star and is the only aspect of the packed programme that continues to capture the attention of the entire Sydney community.
Approximately 300,000 people view the parade that snakes through the inner eastern suburb streets of Sydney, past some of the cities most well known gay venues, finishing in the city’s sporting precinct that then hosts the official party.
In 2012 the parade reached 10,000 participants for the first time and with interest growing worldwide, including New Zealand, expectations are that the 2016 event could break all the records.
- So, you’ve picked your viewing point, got your rainbow flag, glitter face paint and hot pants, all you need to know is who to look out for as you cheer on the parade from the sidelines.
- The Peoples Republic Of Mardi Gras – The award winning team of marchers and their pink army returns to continue the battle against homophobia and transphobia.
- Muslims Against Homophobia – Muslims Against Homophobia aims to challenge homophobia in Muslim community, and promote queer Muslim rights. The group includes LGBTQI and Non-LGBTQI members and calls for queer Muslims and their supporters to stand up for and promote queer Muslim rights.
- Australian Olympian & Paralympians – Made up of Australian Olympian and Paralympians this group aims to show that Australia’s best athletes support diversity and inclusiveness.
- Sydney AFL Women – with 17 women’s teams from across Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, Sydney AFL is made up of a mixture of straight, gay, trans, Muslim, Catholic, Christian participants who all support each other for who they are. The group will take to the streets to show that inclusion and diversity makes for a better community.
- Trans* – This group of marchers are walking in support of transgender rights and to deliver a statement of Trans* pride to the world!The parade will be held on Saturday 5 March and starts at 7pm AEDT.
More details about the Mardi Gras parade can be found here.
Last Updated on Mar 5, 2016