Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras!

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade

Chinese Women's Swim Team comes to Australia

A little history

One frosty June night in 1978, a gay rights protest in Sydney wrapped up with what was meant to be a festive and celebratory parade. An estimated 1,000 revelers showed up in costume, looking for a good time. Instead, they encountered a phalanx of police, who informed them that the parade permit had been rescinded, and ordered them to break up.

A riot broke out. By night’s end, 53 people had been arrested, and countless more bloodied. That night is marked as Sydney's first Mardi Gras.

Today, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is Australia’s biggest public celebration of any sort, gay or straight. The festive parade is followed by the world’s biggest gay party: 22,000 people dancing in 3 giant halls. TV and radio crews come from some 15 countries to cover the parade, which is shown live on national Australian television. By most accounts, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras has passed Rio as the world’s largest Mardi Gras.

 See more parade pix.

 What to wear?

 I wanna go!

 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, official site

There's nothing in the U.S.A quite like Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. This site is provided as a companion to Venturing Out, the gay and lesbian travel column, in hopes that we'll see some spiffier floats at Gay Pride festivities here (OK, San Francisco, you're doing pretty well already) -- and to encourage people to attend, and participate in, the Sydney events.