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Sydney Mardi Gras has launched its campaign to host WorldPride 2023

Ben Neutze

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the world’s biggest LGBTQIA pride events – attracting tens of thousands of visitors to our city every year and 300,000 people to the world’s most fabulous parade – but it might grow even bigger four years from now.

The organisation that runs Mardi Gras has today launched its campaign for our city to host WorldPride, an event which takes place every two years. It’s designed to tackle issues affecting LGBTQIA people on an international scale, but is of course also a fabulous and epic festival with fabulous and epic parties attached.

Mardi Gras has received a boost of $200,000 from the NSW Government to bid for the event, as well as support from Destination NSW and Tourism Australia. It’s not a sure thing that we’ll win the festival (we lost WorldPride 2017 to Madrid) and both Montreal and Houston, Texas have suggested they’ll be bidding.

But if it does come here, it’s estimated that the Mardi Gras attendance figures will leap from around 700,000 to 1 million, and it could make between $600 to $800 million for the state. No wonder Gladys is so supportive.

Mardi Gras is planning to expand the annual parade to allow 80,000 members of the LGBTQIA community to march, hold a massive concert on Bondi Beach for 30,000 people, and an international conference on health and human rights issues for queer people across the Asia Pacific and the world.

“We are aware that we have rights that other people in this region don’t have, and we want to make sure that by hosting WorldPride, we will shine a light on these injustices,” Mardi Gras co-chair Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco says. “Our vision for Sydney WorldPride 2023 is to be the event that unifies LGBTI communities and prides across the region and across the world. We will do this by thought leadership, inclusion, education, creative outputs and of course activism.”

Representatives from Mardi Gras will submit their final bid next month and present it to organisers in Athens in October, when we’ll find out if we’re successful. We’ve got everything crossed for Sydney WorldPride 2023.

Got post-Mardi Gras blues? You can party all-year-round in Sydney's best queer pubs and clubs.

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