March 02, 2019 19:57:01
Thousands have turned out in a fabulous sea of rainbow colour for the 41st Sydney Mardi Gras parade, which has kicked off in Sydney.
Under the theme “fearless”, the 2019 parade sees 12,500 people on 200 floats walk, march, dance and flaunt down the streets of central Sydney to celebrate all things LGBTQI.
Giant “respect” pot plants, an oversized yak, golden angels and, of course, a whole lot of rainbow are part of the parade, with a range of floats — with people from all over the world — celebrating the LGBTQI community.
Kylie Minogue, the queen of Australian pop and queer icon, is rumoured to be making a special appearance at the end of the parade.
Keen punters lined the streets throughout the day getting the best vantage points to watch the parade along Sydney’s famous Oxford Street.
Mardi Gras chief executive Terese Casu said the fearless theme was the perfect sentiment for this year’s parade, as a way of celebrating what the community had achieved.
“But that word, fearless, also has a vulnerability to it,” she said.
“It’s about embracing that we are fearless if we say we’re not OK, or if we need help or stand up for someone else.”
However, atmosphere at this year’s parade was more relaxed over a year out since same-sex marriage passed in Federal Parliament.
The start of the parade was marked by an Indigenous smoke ceremony, the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have formally welcomed revellers.
Olivia Cepeda, 16, was at her first Mardi Gras and was excited to be parading with a Latin American Australian group.
“I’m with a great group who make me feel really comfortable,” she said.
For her, the theme of fearless means, “you can be whoever you want to be without the fear of being judged”.
“Everyone has the right to be themselves,” she said.
This year’s parade comes as Sydney Mardi Gras confirmed it is bidding to host the World Pride event for 2023.
The bi-annual festival will be held in New York in July and Copenhagen in 2021.
Highlights expected throughout the night include the Gender Galaxy float, a collaboration between Trans Pride Australia — a support group for trans and gender diverse people — and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
The Fearless in Diversity float will see the Selamat Datang GLBTIQ group, a support organisation for LGBTQI people in Indonesia, join forces with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for a special float.
The float will Balinese style costumes in a combination of gold — seen as a colour of power and strength — white and black.
The parade officially finishes at 11pm, however Sydney’s lockout laws have been relaxed across venues in the Oxford Street and Darlinghurst area for the parade — but last drinks will be called at 3am for most venues.
March 02, 2019 19:31:46