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A massive crowd of more than 450,000 turned out to watch the 28th annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. After a scaled-down Parade in 2003, when it looked as if there may be no Parade at all, and a rained-soaked 2004 event that kept numbers down, 2005 will be remembered as the year that Mardi Gras returned to its fabulous best. Around 130 floats treated an enthusiastic crowd to a mix of protest, politics, satire, camp and plain old fun. Now in their 18th Mardi Gras parade year, the Dykes on Bikes joyfully led proceedings along
The Australian PM John Howard and
New Mardi Gras Co-Chair, Mark Orr, had this message for Mr Howard. “The fight for equality is not over. Our relationships won’t be second class,” he said. Radio host John Laws who complained in his talk show about two gay men in reality renovation program The Block also came under fire in this city-stopping march, known across the globe for its pillorying of high profile figures.
“It’s a bit special”, Brenna, perhaps the parade’s youngest participant said. “You get twice as much stuff, and if one’s angry the other one will stick up for you”. One of her mums, Jackie, said being chiefs of the parade was an ideal opportunity for people to see them as a happy and ordinary family. “It’s about our freedom to love who we want to love,” she said. “It’s about our right to be a family in the same way that other families are families. It’s about our right to know Brenna is safe and happy at school.”
There was also a celebration of late Queen front man, Freddy Mercury, a gay water polo display in the back of a truck filled with water and well-received entries from the state and federal police forces. More than 40 men went as Dafydd from the cult television comedy Little Britain - a mere fraction of the more than 6,000 gay and lesbian parade participants. Other highlights included the mock marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
The Parade concluded with a show-stopping performance at
Dutch DJ, 4 Strings, played an amazing 10-hour set in Fox Studio’s Hordern, which also featured a stunning laser display, the likes of which have never been seen in this country before.
The New Mardi Gras Guest Bar was awash with visiting celebrities, including
ACON’s drug rovers again ensured that everyone partied safely, with no serious incidences to report.
The next New Mardi Gras Party, Sleaze 2005, will take place on Saturday, 1 October. The 2006 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will take place on Saturday 4 March 2006.