“Creating Equality” was the 2017 theme of the 39th LGBTIQ Rights Parade in Sidney. The event drew about 200K spectators to enjoy the enthusiasm of the 12K participants, while roughly 200 floats formed the backbone of the parade. The news media speculated that the wet and blustery weather adversely affected the numbers of spectators, however, I didn’t notice any dampened spirits among the participants from my vantage point across the street from the official staging point.
From our spectacular high-rise terrace, we had a bird’s eye view of the activities below, as parade participants and floats gathered in ever-increasing numbers from midday onward.
Liverpool St. [directly below] and College St. [right-hand] had been closed to traffic and parking for 24 hours since early morning. Eventually, four rows of floats would line up there to commence into the parade route [exit stage right]. Hyde Park became the dressing room and practice stage for all our chorus boys and girls.
This float eventually morphed into a Pacific Island outrigger canoe with a Polynesian sail – something we just happened to have seen in a museum in Melbourne a few days ago. Around five in the afternoon, the entire intersection presented such a hectic activity level that I went downstairs for a closer look. Our building was effectively fenced & boarded off from sidewalk and street in front. Thus our elegant marble stoop with its protective awning turned into a rain-proof grandstand overlooking a small section of Liverpool street and Hyde Park with its energizing activities.
Sydney’s gay and lesbian Mardi Gras began as a civil rights rally in the late 1970s. It was born out of solidarity for New York’s Stonewall movement and called for an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians in Australia.
The 78ers continue to raise their voices in the effort to persuade Australia’s leaders to legalize same-sex marriage. Strong opposition to gay rights persists, especially from religious groups who have described mardi gras as a “public parade of immorality and blasphemy.”
Uniquely Australian – the parade participation of the Sistagirls from Tiwi Island off the northern coast was a first this year. Read about their story here in Johnny Lieu’s Mashable report.
The 2017 theme “Creating Equality” was poignantly represented in oversized, individual block letters spelling EQUALITY which displayed photographs of, well, human beings. These are your brothers and sisters, your children, your friends. They are also parents and spouses, why should they be lesser citizens, still?
But this wasn’t just a political rally, most decidedly, this was a Gay Pride Parade! As was demonstrated by the more flamboyant costumes …
… don’t you wish you had the gumption 🙃 ? Nevertheless, my legs were getting tired and I went back up to take a few more shots of the beginning of the actual parade from our lofty perch.
After the Dykes on Bikes roared by, members of the First Nations opened the Parade,
closely followed by our 78ers – and we were finally on our way to a remarkable and glittery event in Sydney, Australia.