Pride In Protest organised a colourful and successful Mardi Gras march down Oxford Street, taking the event back to its protest roots, reports Rachel Evans and Oscar Bray.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
“Stop police attacks on gays, women and blacks” shouts an iconic poster at the 2018 Museum of Love and Protest gallery exhibition.
It was the slogan that reverberated down Sydney’s Oxford Street 40 year’s ago as the original 1978 protest-parade marched through Darlinghurst, laughing, dancing and imploring others to come out of the closet and join the fight to repeal anti-homosexual laws.
The Mardi Gras festival provides the space to give the queer community a powerful voice. During the festival we can also hear diverse voices within the broader queer community.
Queer Muslims were one of these diverse groups that made their voices heard with a special event on 16 February. Sydney Queer Muslims, a non-profit independent organisation for mostly religious queer Muslims, presented a symposium at Sydney University Business School.
It was a packed night at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-controlled gay bar in downtown New York City on June 28, 1969. Stonewall was the only bar in town where gays could dance together, which meant that despite it being dilapidated — there was no running water behind the bar, no fire exits, the toilets overflowed — there was a heavy door charge and the drinks were overpriced.
Mardi Gras — now the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, (LGBTQI) pride march in the world — started in June 1978 when New South Wales police viciously assaulted queer people dancing through Oxford Street.