Yahn Monaghan and Joe Attanasio have produced this essential guide to Sydney’s 40th Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The pinnacle of Mardi Gras is its parade. It starts tomorrow (March 3) at 7pm and is scheduled to finish around 11pm. Floats set off from Oxford St – travelling down Flinders St before ending up in the Anzac Parade bus lane adjacent to Moore Park.
Over 150 floats will be in the parade. The ones to watch are (in order of parade sequence):
1. Dykes on Bikes: This is their 30th consecutive year in the parade. Their roar signals the start of the celebration, revving the crowd into a frenzy.
5. 78’ers: 40 years ago, when homosexuality was still a crime, these were the people who took a stand at Taylor Square. More 78’ers will be on board this year’s double-deck bus, than ever before.
8. The other 39’ers: “We are past directors, volunteers, employees, and parade participants who have shared in the highs and lows of Mardi Gras over the last 39 years subsequent to 1978. For us, Mardi Gras has provided the vehicle for creative, satirical and irreverent expression of our diverse differences and validation of our lives through the community. It has been edgy, funny, political and controversial at different times over the years.” (Source: Parade program)
9. Marriage Equality: When the nation was asked to join a public vote on the issue of marriage equality, this was the group that partnered with Australians for Equality and spoke for hundreds of thousands of LGBT+ people. This year they march for the first time… celebrating the achievement of Marriage Equality.
26. Trans Sydney Pride – Power and Pride: This float represents an amazing support group for the transgender and gender non-conforming community. From the parade program… “This year we support all transgender people serving in the military – we stand with you.” (Source: Parade program)
49. R U OK? – Founded to support those exposed to suicide and mental health issues, this group promotes love, acceptance and equality towards and within the LGBTQIA community.
67. Tinder – “Tinder is proud to support Mardi Gras 2018. We’re excited to be able to give back to the LGBTQ community, which has been an important part of Tinder from the start. We are in the business of bringing people together – and we believe that everyone should have a chance to meet their match. Everyone is welcome on Tinder.” (Source: Parade program)
And last but not least….
195. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Thank You from the Bottom of our Hearts – 40 Years of Volunteering
As well as the many glitter-coated and rainbow performers on each and every float there are also several big international names to look out for. NOTE: Headline act, Cher, is not listed on any of the official floats.
From Orange Is the New Black: Danielle Brookes (Taystee), Lea Delaria (Boo), Aussie Yael Stone (Morello)
From 13 Reasons Why: Christian Navarro (Tony) and Alisha Boe (Jessica).
Mind Hunter: Jonathon Groff who plays Holden Ford
The Feed: Patrick Abboud
Actress and comedian Madga Szubanksi, comedian Urzila Carlson and comedian/author Joel Creasey, will be co-hosting the live stream on SBS On Demand throughout the night. Cher is expected to make an appearance in this broadcast.
Record crowds are expected at this year’s event, both to celebrate the 40th anniversary and the Marriage Equality verdict. NSW Transport officers are advising partygoers to think ahead when planning their evening. Major roads will be closed from 5pm in the CBD, Darlinghurst and Moore Park – until around 4am Sunday. The NSW Transport info website advises that Mardi Gras “is no place for cars” and people are urged to take public transport. Oxford, Flinders, Castlereagh, Elizabeth, Pitt, Liverpool and Goulburn streets will all be affected during the parade. Extra buses and trains will be operating around the central business district as well as across Sydney’s East, to provide easier access to people heading home.
Police Support and Safety
The NSW police force has thrown its support behind the 40th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras by raising the rainbow flag for the first time, outside the Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills. The flag symbolises the strengthening relationship between the LGBT+ community and the police, which has fluctuated over the decades. NSW Police Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex, Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell, said the police force is proud and excited about the upcoming parade.
“NSW Police proudly promote inclusion, diversity and acceptance within the Force and wider community,” he said.
“We have come a long way and raising the rainbow flag demonstrates the strong relationships we have created and foster with LGBTIQ people and organisations.”
Police have advised that general safety precautions are in place for the parade, which will have a heavy police presence, and recommend that the LGBT+ community travel in groups to and from the parade to avoid any homophobic behaviour.
Keep the party going
Beresford Hotel, 354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
Sunday, March 4
2pm to 1am
Drag Brunch Sundays:
Puntino Trattoria, 215 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
11am to 3pm
Bottomless Food & Drinks, Drag Bingo Games
Food: Scrambled Eggs, Fried Eggs, Mushrooms, Sausages, Bacon, Pancakes and lots more
Drinks: Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Champagnes, Beers, Sodas
Pop Music By DJ Ray Isaac
Museum of Love & Protest:
National Art School, Cnr Forbes St & Burton St, Darlinghurst
11am to 5pm
The Museum of Love & Protest looks back across four amazing decades and presents an immersive exhibition of original costumes, photographs, rarely-seen film and video footage, iconic posters, storytelling, music and artefacts. Presented in association with the National Art School (NAS), the Museum celebrates 40 years of love, protest, diversity, acceptance, humour, pride, family, passion and creativity.
If there’s anything else you need to know, it’s all on the official website. – Yahn Monaghan and Joseph Attanasio