I lost control of myself at the end and I started to cry backstage. Earlier in the day, audiences were filtered into the event to avoid overcrowding, filling 75 per cent of the seated arena. COVID-safe messages were repeated over the loud speakers throughout the evening and on the whole social distancing rules were upheld. Residents often travel to Sydney for the annual parade, but opted to host their own local event due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.
Thousands gather as Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2021 starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground
Festival Key Dates
It began on June 24, as a protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. Many of the marchers were arrested. Although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until The event was held again in , with the name changed to the "Sydney Gay Mardi Gras". In the first post-parade dance party was introduced, and in the parade was shifted to February.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
It is one of the largest such festivals in the world ,  and the largest Pride event in Oceania. The event grew from gay rights parades held annually since , when numerous participants had been arrested by New South Wales Police. After the parade was dispersing in Kings Cross, 53 of the participants were arrested. The police response to a legal, local minority protest transformed it into a nationally significant event which stimulated gay rights and law reform campaigns.
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