Proud to Have Pride: Sydney’s Colourful History

Ananya V (Year 12), Chief Contributor


Living in Australia means having the right to many different things. The right to equality, the right to education and in contemporary Australian society, the right to express sexual orientation freely.  Sydney’s venerated Mardi Gras Parade is an event that shows to people all around the world that Australia is a country that celebrates people.  

Recently, Sydney had competed against major cities around the world to be given the honour to host world Pride. But before we get into that, we first need to know, what is Pride, why do we have it, and why is it important for Australia to recognise it?  

Pride is the celebration of all people who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and continues to honour the lives of all people. Pride, and by extension the LGBTQIA+ community, has always been under the scrutiny of the public and has become the subject of heated discussion between conservative and radical politics. Nevertheless, Australia provides the freedom for many people to acknowledge and celebrate their individuality.  

Every year, the Mardi Gras Parade is a highly eccentric parade, where people flourish in the colours and energy whilst celebrating the community. Although the party atmosphere has it earned a reputation as not for children, it is essential for Australia to continue the Mardi Gras Parade and celebrate Pride so that the future may be more welcoming to everyone and accept all people who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ Community.  

This year, Sydney hosted World Pride, which is an event that runs every 2 years. Cities need to bid to host world Pride, and Sydney beat Houston and Montreal for the top spot. World Pride began in 2000 in Rome and continued every 2 years since then. Sydney is the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to host World Pride, and it is especially special because it aligns with the 45th Mardi Gras Parade.  

From the 19th of February to the 5th of March, the Sydney centre exploded with a riot of rainbows as Pride stalls opened everywhere.  

On the 25th of February, Anthony Albanese made history as he joined the Mardi Gras Parade, becoming the first Prime Minster to openly celebrate Mardi Gras. He led the Rainbow Labor contingent, alongside federal member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek.  

In an interview afterwards he said, “It’s unfortunate that I am the first, but this is a celebration of modern Australia … a diverse and inclusive Australia. We need to be a country that respects everyone for who they are.” He then paid respect to the 78ers who were imprisoned for being Gay or Lesbian. On that night, Anthony Albanese joined a small group of politicians who marched at Pride Parades while in office, and it includes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden.  

Similarly, the parade was a host to a collection of people, some who were seemingly unexpected. For example, the Australian Police marched in the largest group titled the “Fab Feds” and was accompanied by the duty riot police and a full marching band costumed dance troupe. Unfortunately, their presence wasn’t as enthusiastic as the NSW Fire Service. 

Both Defence Minister Matt Keogh and Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite attended. They were there to celebrate 10 years since armed forces personnel were first allowed to march in uniform at the world-famous parade. 

The city of Sydney all enjoyed the Mardi Gras Parade, as the police praised the behaviour of more than 12 000 people who marched, walked and danced their way through the parade. We look forward to Sydney city turning rainbow next year.