When you think of Mardi Gras I wouldn't blame you if the first image that comes to mind is biodegradable glitter, drag queens and leather cladded lesbians on motorbikes. To be honest, it really is a sight to see.
However, Mardi Gras history is rooted in protest against the mistreatment and abuse of LGBTIQ+ people. In 1978, on the anniversary of the stonewall riots, the streets of Darlinghurst were filled with protesters. At the time, homosexuality was illegal and would remain so for another 26 years.
Now years later this march through the streets remains an annual calendar event featuring corporate sponsorships and government council approval. For some, its protests roots are arguably overshadowed by its popularism and celebrations, but for many, Mardi Gras remains an opportunity to remember those who came before them and engage in community.
This year the Mardi Gras Parade will be taking on a new look at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 6th. Maintaining the same Glitz, Glamour and biodegradable Glitter as every year, Mardi Gras will be following a strict COVID safe plan to ensure all attendees and chart topping performers like Rita Ora can stay safe and sexy.
The Parade remains the main event for many however the Mardi Gras festival contains a diverse program of performances, talks, film music and art spreading across nearly three weeks. Each program feature has its own unique elements. however, every event is designed to celebrate the lives of LGBTIQ+ people and highlight key issues and challenges that are still impacting the community today.
So if you’re ready to step away from the conventional and see what all those corporate sponsorships are used for, here is your guide to enjoying the Mardi Gras festival as more than just a parade.