Q: What’s gayer than a gay pride parade?
A: One of the biggest gay pride parades in one of the world’s biggest gay cities!
The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is Sydney’s take on a gay pride parade. It’s not just a parade – it’s a whole 2+ weeks of gay plays, parties, exhibitions, BBQs, boat cruises, movie screenings, and other events – with the mother of all gay pride parades thrown in at the end for good measure. Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade brings in more international tourists to Australia than any other annual event. The pink dollar is strong. And it’s very gay.
Very, very gay.
And since I’m gay (shocking), I thought it’d only be appropriate for me to march in the parade this year. After watching the parade from the sidelines last year (drunk), I thought I’d go for a more involved (and sober) experience this year. So, I signed up to march with Dayenu – Sydney’s GLBT group. I was one of around 80 gay Jews, pro-Jewish gays, pro-gay Jews, and pro-gay/pro-Jew heterosexual gentiles to march in our float.
We had a massive 3D Star of David on the back of our truck along with a few cute gay Jewish dancing boys. Blasting from our speakers: dance remixes of Hava Nagila and Shalom Alechem, along with that massively popular song that you always here in clubs – you know the one that’s like “do do do do do do do do do do do do… Barbra Streisand.” Seeing as Babs is a big Jew, it was only fitting.
Being in the parade means you can’t really watch the parade, but there was plenty of eye candy in the waiting area. These guys were from the float lined up next to us:
Our float was sixth in line, nestled between the Muslim float and the Christian float. Great. Half of our group photos during the parade have big signs that say “Freedom to Love Jesus” in the background. Is that ironic or just plain unfortunate? Good planning, parade organizers.
But, I didn’t even notice those signs until looking at pictures afterward – partly because they were behind us, but mainly because we were having WAY too much fun to look back. The crowd was estimated at several hundred thousand, and being right at the beginning of the parade, they were all riled up. The parade route must’ve been well over a mile long, and the whole way was packed with spectators on the side of the road and up on balconies. And don’t forget the TV cameras! The whole parade is televised live.
For those who want a bit more comfort, you can always splurge on one of the “Glamstands” that we encountered along the way.
The whole thing was an incredible adrenalin rush and I don’t think any of us calmed down for hours. While the most glamorous of the gays went off to a massive Mardi Gras Party held at Fox Studios, a group of us grabbed Thai food (we were starving!) and attempted to see how long the lines were at the clubs on Oxford Street.
Our friend Adam came to the rescue and invited us all up to his balcony for mandatory drinks until the wee hours of the morning. No sweaty, crowded clubs – just champagne, vodka, tequila, some gay music on the iPod, and excellent company. Could it have gotten any better? Nah. It was an absolutely incredible experience… and I’m already counting down the days until next year’s parade!
Neil + Me
David + Briyah + Me + Elcid