What is Mardi Gras?

We proudly provide a platform for our LGBTQIA+ communities to share with the world.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) is an LGBTQIA+ not-for-profit member-based organisation that produces the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade and Festival and several other events and supportive initiatives throughout the year.    

SGLMG was built on the foundations laid by early community activists who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights in a time of wide-spread, institutionalised oppression and discrimination. 

Year-round, we also develop initiatives that celebrate our LGBTQIA+ identity, champion creative expression, challenge injustice and elevate diverse voices. We proudly provide a platform for our communities to share with the world. 

A history of love and protest…

It all began on a chilly winter’s night in 1978, when the police descended on a street festival bravely celebrating gay rights when homosexuality was still illegal. 

This first Mardi Gras Parade ended in violence and 53 people arrested, but the police crackdown fired up a community who would no longer be silent.

Mardi Gras had become a defining moment in the nation’s gay rights history. Our people were out of the closets and into the streets. 

The power of passion, creativity and community…

Every year since, we have gathered in a colourful explosion of self-expression, celebration and protest.

Our glittering Parade and Festival are a demonstration of the amazing power of passion, creativity and community. 

They are a reminder, as we reflect on all that we have achieved over the years, that every small step forward is a move in the right direction. But while discrimination, prejudice and stigma still exist, our work is not done.

Community support, beyond the glitter and spectacle…

While our Parade and parties get a lot of attention, we also work year-round on a program of community grants and support, some of which are funded by our valued partners.

Each year, our grant programs deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to other LGBTQIA+ individuals, community groups and organisations to help them achieve their goals and fund new projects. Since 2016, Mardi Gras and its partners have delivered over $1.2 million in funds to support the LGBTQIA+ community.

A fearless march into the future…

Over the years we have proved that, in the face of adversity and persecution, the LGBTQIA+ community can get attention, we can drive debate and we can change opinions, laws, lives, hearts and minds.

Today, our message is a global one. We are a beacon of diversity and inclusion for the world’s LGBTQIA+ community. 

We want to leverage our global following as a force for change and inspire positive action that extends beyond our annual celebrations.  

Always On: a vision… 

We have a vision to herald this new era of Mardi Gras.

‘Always On’ is our commitment to develop year-round initiatives to provide a platform for LGBTQIA+ people, community groups and partners to celebrate, share experiences and provide support, no matter where they are.

We’ll keep supporting the development of LGBTQIA+ arts and culture beyond Sydney, raising our voice to highlight social injustices and helping community organisations year-round.