The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an organization that operates in Australia, which is one of the oldest LGBTQI group that has its foundation from activists of the community that fought and stood for the LGBTQI rights. It was also in the time when there were wide-spread oppression and discrimination that led to the origin of the organization that now has evolved to focus on celebrating and committing to the social justice of the LGBTQI communities in Australia. With the term “mardi gras” attached to the celebration name, it does not fall short of activities, concerts, parties and parades that have become a much awaited event by millions of people from across the globe.
Perhaps one to add in Australia’s cultural heritage is what conspired in Dalinghurst, Sydney in 1978. It was when a small group of protesters faced police violence and arrest upon forming to contribute to the international Gay celebrations. It started out really rough and rowdy with the arrested individuals being beaten up in police stations, and hours of exhilarating and traumatic events happened between police and participants in just a matter of hours. Despite this situation, it didn’t stop them from running Mardi Gras all over again the following year.
More arrests on organized protests continue to take place in the following months of the same year and it can be noticed that the authorities have really become insensitive of the movement. Come April 1979 the New South Wales Summary Offences Act legislation was repealed by the Parliament of NSW, making this date a milestone for civil rights of the gay community as the first Mardi Gras with an incident-free parade. In estimate, there were up to 3,000 people who joined and marched in the parade.
Come 1980, the modern face of Mardi Gras, which can be seen up to today, took shape and the “post-parade party” was introduced. This event became a magnet for extensive coverage of the media, with noticeable swell of crowds attending and supporting the event from 200,000 (1989) to around 500,000 (1993). People flew in from all over the state and even from around the world to witness and experience the joyous event that generated to an estimate of 38 million AUD in profit for the economy of New South Wales. Up to this day, Mardi Gras continued its growth in number of participants, with tourists and spectators in count, and the improvement of the quality of events and festival scope climbs up to new levels. Themes are being set each year, representing the ongoing issues that needs to be addressed and become aware of and encouraging people to join a bigger group of family of supporters.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is indeed one of Australia’s well-known, well-loved and much awaited event that brings together thousands of visitors to Sydney. Capturing the creative and flamboyant imagination of Australia’s LGBTQI and mainstream communities, it takes over the city for weeks on end, with the world-famous Parade culminating the event. The parade does not fall short of a colourful and dazzling display of a festive night to celebrate pride, representation and self-expression.
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