It’s a little over 2 months away, but the next city the WWP project is preparing to visit is Sydney, Australia. The annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade has become a huge event, with over 10,000 participants and hundreds of thousands of onlookers expected to turn out this year for the celebration. As it is such a well-attended (and organized) event, they require special passes and permits to photograph, which we are in the process of getting. What’s particularly unique about Sydney’s parade is that it’s grown to become a mainstream event, and includes numerous LGBT representatives of community groups/organizations marching ‘out and proud’ – even the police force.
For today, I decided to look up some of the history concerning the parade …
Like the start of many other pride parades, the first Sydney march was organized to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. The parade took place June 24th, 1978, with over 1,000 people turning out to protest against discrimination. The crowd started marching down Oxford Street to Hyde Park, but the police broke up the demonstration arresting 53 persons.
In 1979, the Sydney pride march was again held, but fortunately this time incident free. After several more successful runs, the parade was moved to February to better take advantage of Australia’s summer weather. After this, the parade kept growing and growing. The annual parade and accompanying events and activities that make up Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, have become a well-accepted part of Sydney’s attractions, with international visitors especially arriving for the event.
I found online that there is a website dedicated to sharing Sydney’s ‘Pride History’. They provide a chronology of important dates in Sydney’s LGBT history throughout the past decades, and even photos of the first march. From that site I also found a link to the ‘Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives’ that shares even more old pride march posters, and loads of other records discussing the communities history.