Sydney celebrates with a Covid-safe Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade took over the Sydney Cricket Ground last night in a dazzling display of self-expression, proving that not even a global pandemic can stop LGBTQI+ communities rising together in pride and passion.

A stadium crowd of 36,000 spectators cheered on as 5,000 marchers, from over 120 parade entries, marched onto the field in a vibrant display of diversity and unity. Parade partner SBS broadcast the event live to hundreds of thousands of homes and viewing parties across the country.

 

For the first time the parade left it’s historically linked location of Oxford Street and relocated to the more Covid-safe venue of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the event was a huge success.

“This year’s Mardi Gras was a once in a lifetime experience,” Kruger said. “With a reworked COVID-Safe format, our iconic Parade definitely looked different to how it has in the past, but even in this new setup, Mardi Gras continues to be celebration of who we are and what we’ve achieved, as well as a moment for us to advocate for the change we need to see in the future.”

“Among the colourful costumes and beating music, the spirit of protest was as strong as it ever has been. Because, while Australia has made so many strides since 1978, we haven’t achieved equality.”

“Today, faith-based service providers, including schools, can lawfully turn us away, even when they receive public funding to deliver their essential services. Trans Australians are vilified, struggle to access critical healthcare and face insurmountable hurdles to updating their ID documents to reflect who they are.”

“These are just some of the issues that remain unaddressed in our society. Working together, we have an opportunity to change things. The Parade was just one moment where we could come together to rise for equality, but our work doesn’t start and end with the Parade,” Kruger said.

Alongside the parade there was a line-up of performances from Electric Fields, Montaigne, and indie pop darling G Flip and Sneaky Sound System vocalist Connie Mitchell. UK powerhouse Rita Ora closed the festivities with an epic headline performance of her hit tracks Let Me Love You, Bang Bang, BIG, and Anywhere.

Reflecting on the night, Albert Kruger said, “The Parade has gone ahead every year since 1978, no matter what, so we’re very happy we could continue to honour this commitment and deliver a safe event for our community during these times.”

“We look forward to returning to our home on Oxford Street as soon as we can, but if the last 12 months has taught us anything it’s that our community are resilient. We have faced many challenges throughout history and we have always found a way to celebrate, to express ourselves and have our voices heard. Last night was proof of this.”

While there were some knock out performances during the event, many well known entertainers also featured in the parade including Jack Vidgen and Troye Sivan.

Images: Supplied by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Anna Kuchera.


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