One of Australia’s Most Popular Tourist Events

New York City, June 28, 1969; police raid the Stonewall Inn. In response, the gay community took part in a number of violent demonstrations which were to be known as the Stonewall Riots.

With that, the gay liberation movement and the fight for gay and lesbian rights had begun.

Sydney, June 24, 1978; 500 people gathered in Oxford Street calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals. At that time, homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales. As people from the surrounding bars came out on the street to join the march, the number of protesters increased to around 2000.

53 people were arrested and the Sydney Morning Herald published their names in full, effectively “outing” them; some lost their jobs because of this.

Sydney, February 8 to March 3, 2013…

The 35th Sydney Mardi Gras

mardi grasThis event is now absolutely massive and as you can see from the dates, it lasts for over 3 weeks. It’s run by a “non-for-profit” organisation for the benefit of Sydney’s LGBTQI community, which means the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex communities.

This festival is probably most famous for its Mardi Gras Parade, but it also has the Mardi Gras Festival, Mardi Gras Fair Day, the Harbour Party, Bondi Beach Drag Races, Mardi Gras Film Festival and the Mardi Gras Party.

But that’s not all, there’s more! If you want to know how much more, check out the official website over at mardigras.org.au

Some quite famous people have performed at these Mardi Gras parties…

  • Kylie Minogue
  • Boy George
  • Chaka Khan
  • Village People
  • Jimmy Somerville
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Sheena Easton
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • George Michael
  • Kylie Minogue

Yes, Kylie Minogue has been to quite a lot of them.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 people attended this festival in 2011 (yes, Kylie was at that one as well), 15,300 tickets were sold for the Mardi Gras Party and there were 134 floats in the parade with over 9,000 participants.

The Sydney Mardi Gras is a major tourist attraction here in Australia and it’s one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the world. It is estimated to now bring in something like $30 million for the state of New South Wales.

Here’s Kylie again, not singing but live onstage, with this week’s video and a round up of what the festival is all about…

For more on the history of the Mardi Gras, and to see where I got some of my information from, check out Wikipedia’s Mardi Gras page.

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