Here’s A ‘Lil Explainer On Why It’s So Damn Significant Sydney Is Hosting WorldPride

Sydney is about to have one historic year.

The city is hosting WorldPride in 2023, which means 17 days, 300-plus events, and pop royalty Charli XCX, Jessica Mauboy and Kylie Minogue gracing us with live performances at the Live and Proud: Sydney WorldPride Opening Concert.

Yep, huge. But it’s more than just a guaranteed good time, or a one-up on Melbourne, it’s a huge win for all LGBTQIA+ Aussies.

Let’s delve into why…

The first WorldPride Down Under

WorldPride was first celebrated in Rome in 2000 and has been hosted by the likes of Madrid, Toronto and London, every two or three years since then.

Next year, it won’t only be Australia’s first go at hosting the pride festival, but Sydney is the first city in the entire Southern Hemisphere to do it. So, during the three-day Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference, we’ll be able to share the spotlight with our smaller neighbours in the Asia-Pacific.

A milestone year for Australia’s queer community

Back on the 24th of June, 1978, a small group of gay and lesbian folks gathered in Sydney to mark ‘International Gay Solidarity Day’. The plan was to encourage activism against the discrimination they faced with a march in the morning, public meeting in the day and then a street parade at night. The police response on Oxford Street was awful — violence and ensuing arrests grabbed national attention. That night became Sydney’s first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In 2023, it will be a monumental 45 years.

Outside of Sydney, 2023 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride Week in Australia and five years of Australian marriage equality.

It’s like the Olympics…but better

Any Sydneysider that remembers the Olympic Games in 2000 will chew your ear off about it any chance they get. Now, this is set to be one of the city’s biggest events since with more than half a million attendees, including 75,000 visitors. Basically, it’s gonna be one yuge party after the pandemic threw a wet blanket over years’ of Mardi Gras plans!

A focus on First Nations art and culture

Part of the fun of WorldPride is how it engages global audiences (see, just like the Olympics). Given Sydney is Australia’s first shot at hosting, queer First Nations folks will celebrated on a worldwide stage.

There will be a First Nations Gathering Space, Marri Madung Butbut (many brave hearts), showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+SB creativity. Over six days, drag, theatre, food and exhibits will take over Carriageworks.

So, clearly, it’s a big bloody deal. Sydney WorldPride is taking Mardi Gras up a notch with a bunch of one-off events in iconic spots across the city. For nine days, areas around Oxford Street will be closed off to traffic to make room for stages and stalls, Bondi Beach will transform into a club with seven hours of music and room for 12,000 punters, and 50,000 folks will walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a Pride March.

All events are now on sale, plus final tickets to major events get released 7 Dec so make sure you’re on the Sydney WorldPride newsletter.

Sydney WorldPride kicks off on the 17th of February 2023. Find out more, here