Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sydney Mardi Gras

Right now I am in Sydney. This was the Mardi Gras weekend – the weekend when one of largest gay prides in the world takes place. For those who’ve never seen a gay pride, if there still are such people, it looks as follows. The main street of South East Sydney – Oxford Street – is closed for traffic. The spectators are watching from behind the barriers the parade which consists of marching groups and floats, i.e. large vans turned into standing platforms. Every float or group usually corresponds to an organisation or to some political cause. For example this time in Mardi Gras there were separate delegations from the Australian Army, Fleet, police, Airforce, Labour party, Amnesty International, all kinds of gay organisations, sport clubs, large companies such as Google. The political floats demonstrated a whole range of causes – from global warming to local Australian issues such as deportation of migrants. The parade is opened by the most colourful group of all – Dykes On Bikes. As the name suggests, we’re talking about a group of hard rock attired lesbians roaring through Sydney on Harley Davidsons.

People started taking places along Oxford Street as early as 1pm, although the official kick off of the parade is at 7. They would bring portable chairs or plastic boxes and sit by the barrier. By 7pm there were so many people on both sides of the street that you could not see anything at all from behind their backs – particularly as the back rows would stand on the plastic boxes to see better. This is how the crowd looks about 45 minutes before the kick off of the parade – when you could still squeeze by.

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