FORTY YEARS OF FUN, FABULOUSNESS AND FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS
The world’s biggest nightime LGBTI Party is about to turn 40. We look at some highlights.
IN 2018, SYDNEY’S ICONIC CELEBRATION OF LGBTQI RIGHTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY MARKS A MAJOR BIRTHDAY: 40 YEARS! THE BRAVE ’78ERS
Mardi Gras was Sydney’s contribution to the international Gay Solidarity Celebrations, an event that grew out of the Stonewall riots in New York. It was also intended to protest the Australian visit of homophobic Festival Of Light campaigner, Mary Whitehouse. The first Mardi Gras march ended in violence but the police crackdown fired up a community who would no longer be silent. The popular chants were: “Out of the bars and into the streets!” and “Stop police attacks on gays, women and blacks!” The first march was in 1978, hence the name given to those who were there – the ’78ers.
In 2014, solidarity with our LGBTQI friends in Russia was a recurring theme, beginning with tens of thousands of people joining hands at Fair Day, and ending with Parade floats Putin On The Ritz, To Russia With Love and Putin The Heartless featuring a giant Putin puppet.
By 1981 the Parade neared 5,000. The move to a warmer month, along with the creation of an independent and elected organising body were landmark changes that shaped the Mardi Gras Parade and Festival as we know it today.
In what has become a much-loved tradition, the Dykes On Bikes open the Parade with their unique brand of awesomeness.