More than 12,000 people marched through Oxford Street at the 38th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, drawing some 500,000 spectators.
Not connected to the Catholic holiday, Sydney’s Mardi Gras has its origins, like Pride festivals in America, in an act of violence: In 1978, participants in a sanctioned demonstration were beaten and arrested by police. Almost four decades later, LGBT rights have grabbed the spotlight again, now that England, Ireland and the U.S. all have marriage equality. The issue has become as divisive Down Under as it is in the States—the current Conservative government wants to kick the issue down the road to at least 2017. So while Saturday’s event was an unabashed celebration, it was also a protest.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was steadfastly opposed to marriage equality, but his successor, Malcolm Turnbull, became the first sitting PM to attend Mardi Gras. Read more via New Now Next