Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival
- February - March
From its beginning as a street party on 24 June 1978, to celebrate gay pride, which turned into a full-scale riot, resulting in violence and arrests, it has now become the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, a full month of activities, the most important event in the gay and lesbian calendar. It has strengthened the gay and lesbian community in their resolve to battle the more homophobic elements of society.
Now in its 24rd year, it is the largest gay and lesbian gathering in the world! The festivities climax with a magnificent night-time Parade attracting over half a million spectators, followed by an equally famous all-night dance party (admission by ticket only).
As acceptance from the community, both local and international, continues to grow every year, the conservative sections of society seem to be becoming less vocal. However the high profile identity, the Reverend Fred Nile from the 'Festival of Light', Australia's answer to Margaret Whitehouse, continues to entertain with his concern for our moral disintegration. Thank you Fred! Even the presence of our Police Force has grown, compared to their attitude in earlier years (or at least that of the more senior officers).
The Parade brings together individuals, organisations and businesses in a spirit of celebration and co-operation with a blend of imagination, politics, remembrance, exhibitionism, hedonism and humour. Thousands of people line the streets to cheer on the dozens of floats celebrating gay and lesbian pride and creativity.
The parade will kick off at 8pm this year at the corner of Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets on the edge of Darlinghurst, moving up Oxford Street and along Flinders Street to Moore Park Road and Driver Avenue.