All The Most Fabulous Moments From Sydney’s Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras 2016

Fuck yeah, Mardi Gras!

The 38th edition of Sydney’s legendary Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras has ridden, sashayed, and strutted down Oxford Street for the nation’s biggest celebration of gay and lesbian culture. Tens of thousands of punters lined the streets to watch the nation’s fiercest collection of dancers, singers, activists, and enormous parade floats take over the city.

Nearing the start of the parade were members of the famous 78ers, many of whom were arrested and ostracised for participating in Sydney’s first pride march. Their appearance atop a fire-engine red double-decker bus came after The Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Parliament, and the Sydney police offered apologies for their mistreatment at the time. 

Soon after came Maya Newell and the team behind Gayby Baby; after a hectic year for the film including a series of small-minded bans from schools, the crew received some unreal support. Coinciding with the Mardi Gras is a photographic celebration of the children of LGBTQI parents, which is just grand too.  

In one of the more politically-charged floats, Tony Abbott and Fred Nile themselves (note: may not have been Tony Abbott nor Fred Nile) flagellated an angel for Unity Wollongong. 

It was what they labelled “a satirical take on a serious socio-political message which emphasises the importance of moving forward and breaking free from the political bondage enforced upon our community by the Australian government”, and it’s hard to disagree with a whip-toting, be-smugglered Tones.

A swathe of groups representing health issues in the LGBTQI community were present, including BeyondBlue, who have fought for the Safe Schools program. Also present: Headspace, who’ve been active in the mental health sphere for years. 

Actual political floats rocked up too, with the real-deal Liberal Party offering a small gathering while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull watched on. Trailing them up was Bronwyn Bishop in her infamous chopper, like some sort of poltergeist that just won’t let the party go. 

The Liberal Party’s numbers were dwarfed by the official Labor Party’s contribution, which included Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Anthony Albanese, and Tanya Plibersek. 

Because the world is sometimes a beautiful place, Bronny and Bill even had a moment. 

While Shorten was the first leader of a major national political party to actively participate in the parade, the NRL also became the first national pro sporting code to rep at Mardi Gras.

YASS. #mardigras2016 @navarra_venues @misslicko

A photo posted by Dominic Hanna (@dominic_hanna) on

From the amateur side (but not for long) came the Sydney AFL Women, who marched to promote the 17 teams active in NSW, and the increasing acceptance of the diverse players represented within. 

via SBS. 

The really fun stuff peaked at the tail end of the parade, with the OzFursSydney Leather Pride Association, and the Pup Pride Down Under all somehow wearing more leather than the Dykes On Bikes at the start. 

Hilariously, Taronga Conservation Society Australia came just after with a giant rhinoceros float – ’cause nothing represents these kinks better than a giant, horny animal. 

On the same day China announced tightened restrictions on certain kinds of media – including depictions of homosexuality – the Angel Shanghai group, who organise the city’s LGBT tourism week, joined Thailand Ladyboy Superstars and the Asian Marching Boys and Friends in the parade’s Asian and Asian-Australian bloc. 

‘Cause this is a pop culture institution, we’d also be remiss not to mention the Gay For Ruby Rose float, which 100% riffs on the newfound frothing surrounding Orange Is The New Black’s resident Australian. Even though wasn’t in attendance, she was totally down. 

It was a bloody good result, by all accounts. ‘Til next year, gang.

Source: Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras / SBS. 
Photo: Brendon Thorne / Getty.