Thousands of people descended on the Sydney Opera House to watch its iconic sails light up in rainbow colours.
The rainbow sails were a celebration of the official launch of the program for the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras is one of the world’s biggest LGBTI events and will celebrate its 40th year in 2018.
Next year’s theme is 40 Years of Evolution and the festival will 17 days of jam-packed parties, performance, exhibitions, family and community events. The iconic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will wrap up the festival on 3 March.
— Dannii Minogue (@DanniiMinogue) November 3, 2017
Sydney’s Mardi Gras started in July 1978 when a group of gay and lesbian people – who would go on to be known as the 78ers – took to the streets to protest the criminalization of homosexuality. They were cornered by police and assaulted. Many who were arrested were outed and lost their jobs when the Sydney Morning Herald published their names in the newspaper.
‘This Festival we celebrate all the amazing activists and leaders, including our 78ers, who have fought tirelessly for our rights over the last four decades,’ said Mardi Gras Arts CEO, Terese Casu.
‘Mardi Gras is for everyone and this year you will see new spaces and events for more of our community and families to enjoy and share.’
— Matt Janssen (@matt_janssen) November 3, 2017
Mardi Gras Creative Director, Greg Clarke said: ‘The opening weekend of the celebrations features Trevor Ashley’s Mardi Gala at the Sydney Opera House and the wonderful Fair Day back at Victoria Park.’
‘Other special events not to be missed include Queer Thinking and Koori Gras, Queer Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW and the Pool Party,’ he said.
‘The 40th anniversary Parade looks set to be the best yet, with a sparkling procession of hundreds of jawdropping floats and 12,000 revellers will dance till dawn at the Mardi Gras Party, Australia’s biggest LGBTQI party of the year.’