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The 2001 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

By Julie Wiskirchen

It's hard to believe it's been a year since I arrived in Sydney. I attended the 2000 Mardi Gras on my second weekend here and I wasn't going to miss the chance to see it again. I arrived 4 hours early to secure a front row spot and watched as a throng estimated between 400,000 - 600,000 gathered along Oxford Street. This year's parade lasted for 2 and ½ hours and featured 175 floats, with more international groups than ever before. The whole thing seemed a little less fun and more serious and political, but I guess that's what it's supposed to be about, after all. The main agenda of the parade was defined by the lead float "Beyond the Pink Picket Fence" which featured gay and lesbian couples and their children. Parade officials wore T-shirts with "I'd make a great mum or dad" on the back. There were floats for various political parties, religious groups, and even a "Sweeties for a Treaty" float advocating for Aboriginal rights. The photos tell the story and the function of this paragraph is really only to give them time to load, so without further ado...

As is customary, the dykes on bikes kicked off the parade, roaring down Oxford St. The bride motif was a popular one along with baby carriages as this year's parade pushed the idea of gay families.

This dyke-on-bike had a Barbie doll hood ornament.

This frock consisted of hundreds of plastic bottles with light bulbs inside them. It lit up my life.

Bad cop. No donut.

Princess Lay-her was one of the stars of the Alien Nation float. Their theme was "2001: a Gay Odyssey." I don't think that's a light saber in Lay-her's hand.

Very impressive frock. It's all so surreal.

Perhaps Modern Bride would be interested
in this cover girl?

I couldn't help but think of Heathers and the classic "I love my dead gay son" scene when I saw this sign. PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) amassed a big group of proud parents and grandparents to march in the parade.

Here we have a group of kite-flying senior citizens. This gent's sign read "You're Never Too Old to Play."

The "Sin City" float featured actual slot machines and various gambling props, including these giant coins commemorating the phrase "bent as a $3 coin" which I guess is equivalent to a phrase used by my dad "queer as a $3 bill."

Everyone was dazzled by the Mardi Gras Marching Boys, Girls, Drag Kings and Drag Queens who put on a spectacular tribute to Madonna's "Music" video. There were 5 or 6 madonnas, a large number of boys in American flag hot pants, and a bunch of drag kings dressed like Ali G, the limo driver in the video. The group stopped in front of Taylor Square and performed a 5-minute choreographed routine.

See ya!

Check out the photos from the 2000 Sydney Mardi Gras

Then have a look at the photos from the other big event put on by the Sydney Mardi Gras folks, Sleaze Ball

Go here for heaps more Ape Culture articles and travelogues about Australia

Were you there? Dish about mardi gras in the Ape Culture forum. .


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