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Mardi Gras
Photograph: Jeffrey Feng

Mardi Gras events in Sydney

Celebrate queer culture at the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the Southern Hemisphere

By Alannah Maher

This year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has a program of events that marches boldly into the future. The annual LGBTQIA celebration, now in its 42nd year, always fills the city with joy, colour and sparkle. 

This year’s Mardi Gras comes at a unique time. This is the first Mardi Gras after six years of Sydney lockout laws, the third since marriage equality passed in Australia, the first since it was announced that Sydney will host the next WorldPride in 2023 – AND the first of a new decade! 

The 2020 theme ‘What Matters’ aims to unite people from across the rainbow spectrum. What matters to you? It could be acknowledging trans and gender diverse identities, our First Nations queer communities, and the pioneers that came before us. 

The festival kicks off from February 14 until March 1. There are over 100 events taking place – we’ve picked out our highlights from the program below.

If you're coming from out of town, make sure you're book yourself into one of the best hotels in Sydney. Need to have an ocean dip and even out that tan inbetween parties? Check out the best gay beaches in Sydney

Want to party right now? Head to these judgement-free, queer-friendly parties or queer pubs and clubs in Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: The best places to see drag shows in Sydney.

Know your herstory

Travel through a snapshot of our city's yesterqueer

Sleaze Ball, 1986, [1] [picture] / William Yang
Photograph: William Yang / National Library of Australia

A brief history of drag in Sydney

Gay and lesbian

From 1835, when convict Edmund Carmen is found wandering the streets after dark in women’s clothing, to 1978 when drag queens tear out of the clubs at Sydney’s first Mardi Gras protests. 


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