Featured Image for Sydney Opera House is turning hot pink for the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras

Sydney Opera House is turning hot pink for the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras

Turning 40 is a major milestone and the Mardi Gras is going to do it in style next year.

To mark the fortieth year of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, The Sydney Opera House’s iconic sails will be bathed in hot pink light on Friday November 3.

It’s the best thing to happen since someone hacked ISIS’s Twitter account and made it as fabulously gay as possible.

The event’s organisers will also use the occasion to announce the full program for 2018.

The celebration couldn’t come at a better time for Australia’s LGBT+ community.

As John Oliver reminded us all on Monday night, the country is in the midst of a toxic and frankly baffling postal survey for same-sex marriage.

The Mardi Gras has its origins in a commemoration held in June, 1978 for New York’s Stonewall Riots.

It was part festival, part protest. Thousands of people gathered on Oxford Street to celebrate their sexuality and call for an end to discrimination against the gay community.

Like the same-sex marriage debate of 2017, it quickly turned ugly. Police came and broke up the event and some participants were arrested. There were also reports of police violence.

It’s hard to believe, but homosexuality was actually a crime in NSW until 1984. If some of the NO bozos had their way, it probably still would be.

In the following years, the festival continued and gradually grew. In 1981, the organisers decided to change the name of the event to “Sydney Gay Mardi Gras” and move it to February.

Thanks to February’s better weather, media coverage and growing support and acceptance for gay people, the crowds increased. In the last couple of decades, around 300,000 have attended each year.

This year promises to be an absolute stonker as Mardi Gras hits 40.

“From the first march in 1978 to being one of the world’s great LGBTQI festivals, the history of Mardi Gras is the history of the community’s long path to equality,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“We are proud to be a long-term supporter of Mardi Gras and of the great welcome Sydney gives to visitors from all over the world.”

Key dates:
Sydney Opera House lit pink and program announced: Friday, November 3
Fair Day: Sunday, February 18
Parade and Party: Saturday, March 3
Registrations for the Mardi Gras Parade are now open. Click here for more info.

The final deadline for voting in the postal survey is November 7.
Results will be released on November 15.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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