Gay Mardi Gras was held this weekend in Sydney, Australia where the annual event attracted more than 300,000 people who stood beside politicians, military personnel, and other supporters of the Australian LGBT community.
Held on Saturday night, the event included 108 floats which were supported by 9,000 revelers.
Gay Mardi Gras began its annual event in 1978, and this year’s show was watched by 300,000 people who took to the streets in celebration.
Mardi Gras chief executive Michael Rolik says of Saturday’s event:
“Last night’s parade was a cheeky, colorful, irreverent and fun as Sydney expects it to be.”
The Gay Mardi Gras event isn’t just great for gay and lesbian rights in the area; it is also a boon to local tourism. Officials claim $30 million was spent because of this years event, second only to the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks show.
In showing its progressive attitude towards gay and lesbian rights, this year’s Gay Mardi Gras was the first time that gay members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) marched in their uniforms.
The Gay Mardi Gras event is not only the biggest gathering of gays and lesbians in the country; it is also a political platform. Organizers and participants at the event use the large gathering in an attempt to convince lawmakers in Australia to finally legalize gay marriage.
While the event has a largely political message, many participants admit that they come to the event purely to support the lifestyles of LGBT members and to revel in the spectacles glitz and glamour.