Symbol of pride flies high in Sydney

City of Sydney

Soaring above Sydney Town Hall, the Progress Pride flag marks the start of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The international symbol for pride was raised by Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO at a special ceremony tonight attended by members of the largest rainbow community in Australia, leading representatives from Sydney’s LGBTIQA+ groups and other official supporters of the Mardi Gras celebrations.

The Lord Mayor acknowledged the many community heroes whose courage and dedication progressed the rights of people with diverse sexualities and genders and invited everyone to join in the spirit of unity, acceptance and joy of Mardi Gras.

“It’s been a challenging week for the rainbow community with the cancellation of Fair Day, but tonight formally begins the spectacular Mardi Gras Festival, with 70 events over two weeks in Sydney,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore AO said.

“Seeing the Progress Pride flag above our Town Hall shows the world that our city is inclusive and welcoming of all people, no matter their gender, sexuality, pronouns, or preferences.

“Mardi Gras brings together people from around the country and the globe, and provides hope to all, especially those living in the dozens of countries where it’s still illegal to be LGBTIQA+.

“As part of our support, the City of Sydney is contributing more than $1.6 million over the next four years to the Mardi Gras Festival, which in turn will stimulate more than $100 million of economic benefits to the state.”

The City of Sydney will also take part in the Mardi Gras Parade with 76 employees in a float that celebrates diversity, titled You Be You. Participants will perform a choreographed routine, created by Australian dancer Vi Lam, to a soundtrack of mixed freedom anthems: Let’s Get Loud by J Lo, George Michael’s Freedom, Ultra Nate Free and Express Yourself by Madonna.

Further contributions from the City of Sydney as part of the festival include:

  • Queer Sydney: Bridging Past and Present – A talk and discussion lead by Tony Duke covering the history and aspirations of people with diverse sexualities and genders. Sunday 18 and 25 February, 4:30pm-6:30pm, Kings Cross Library
  • Mardi Gras Bling – a laser cut jewellery workshop for people 16 years and older. Saturday 17 February, 10.30am -1.30pm, Darling Square Library.
  • Rainbow Storytime – inclusive events featuring singing and storytelling to celebrate Mardi Gras highlighting LGBTIQA+-themed stories of love, family, community, and friendship. Thursday 22 February Green Square Library 10:30am-11.30am, Thursday 27 February Kings Cross Library, 10:30am-11.30am, Wednesday 6 March Surry Hills Library, 10:30am-11:30am
  • Progress Pride banners – 286 Progress Pride street banners across the local area during the Mardi Gras Festival
  • Pride Care Safe Space – an outreach unit for young people next to Sydney Town Hall on the night of the Mardi Gras Parade.

Despite the many wins and advances since the first Mardi Gras in 1978, the Lord Mayor said the increase of homophobia and transphobia in Sydney is a stark reminder that there is more to do to achieve equality and acceptance.

“We recently hosted a Safety Summit that brought together key community organisations, Local Government NSW, NSW Government agencies, community elders and experts to discuss the safety and acceptance of people of diverse sexualities and genders,” the Lord Mayor said.

“One of the outcomes of the summit is for the City of Sydney to investigate providing free admission to Australia’s first queer museum, QTOPIA, on Sundays for 12 months to help raise awareness and educate the wider community.

“The transformation of the Darlinghurst Police Station, once a place of extreme brutality against homosexual men, to a source of pride and progress is incredible. I look forward to QTOPIA helping educate the community of the horrors of the past, and the prejudice we still need to overcome.”

QTOPIA opens on 24 February as Sydney’s home for queer history and culture.

QTOPIA Sydney CEO, Greg Fisher, said thanks to the City of Sydney’s sponsorship, the community will be able to enjoy the campus for free on Sundays.

“As the first organisation to support us with vital seed funding, and our inaugural space The Bandstand, the partnership with the City is one that we cherish,” said Greg.

“This new endeavour will provide greater opportunity for all members of the community to immerse themselves in our dedicated spaces at 301 Forbes Street, The Substation, The Bandstand and The Toilet Block, and we are immensely grateful for the ongoing support of Lord Mayor Clover Moore, her councillors and the entire team.”

For more details about the City of Sydney’s Mardi Gras activities and programs visit For full details of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events visit

/Public Release.