Sydney WorldPride 2023: What is it, and what’s on?

The Opera House will receive a colourful makeover for the launch of a two-week pride event.

The Opera House will receive a colourful makeover for the launch of a two-week pride event. Photo: Instagram/@sydneyworldpride

Sydney is set for a massive two weeks of colourful celebrations as a major international pride event kicks off.

From Friday until March 5, New South Wales’ capital will be engulfed in events celebrating Sydney WorldPride, after beating out cities in the US and Canada for the honour.

An explosion of colour has covered the city in preparation for the weeks-long extravaganza, including rainbow-wrapped trams and trains, and a giant shark statue decked out in rainbow gear.

sydney WorldPride 2023

‘Progress Shark’ has already developed a solid social media fanbase. Photo: Australian Museum

The sails of the Sydney Opera House will also be lit up in the colours  of the Pride flag to mark the festival’s opening night.

Arts Minister Ben Franklin said the festivities will give Sydney “a rainbow-coloured shot in the arm”.

“We’re all holding hands to show the world what an extraordinary city this is – that it is truly vibrant and inclusive and diverse,” he said.

What is Sydney WorldPride 2023?

WorldPride is an international event promoting LGBTQI+ issues and culture licensed by InterPride, a global network of more than 400 LGBTQIA+ organisations from over 70 countries.

Running since 2000, WorldPride is currently awarded to a different host city every two to three years.

Sydney won a bid to host the event back in 2019, and it is expected to inject $112 million into the economy, with 78,000 visitors set to descend on the city.

Sydney’s Mardi Gras always has a big turnout – and huge numbers are expected for Sydney WorldPride 2023. Photo: AAP

Although Pride Month is held over June, the dates of Sydney World Pride 2023 coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, the 45th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the fifth anniversary of marriage equality in Australia.

What’s on?

The festival will take place over 17 days, with more than 300 free and ticketed events taking place across Sydney, including traditional Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events.

These include the opening concert on February 24, featuring performances from Kylie Minogue, Jessica Mauboy and Charli XCX, and a Pride March on March 5, where 50,000 people are expected to walk across the Harbour Bridge in a show of global equality.

Sydney WorldPride CEO Kate Wickett said the next couple of weeks will be full of parties, comedy, performance art, sports and more, but the event is “party with a purpose”.

Sydney will host the southern hemisphere’s largest-ever LGBTQIA+ human rights conference from March 1-3, where 60 local and international presenters will discuss issues affecting the queer community globally.

Sydney WorldPride 2023

Sydney WorldPride 2023 is bringing in an eclectic mix of big names; Crystal Love, Kylie Minogue and Chantale Yokmin Wong. Photo: TND/Sydney WorldPride 2023/AAP

Sydney Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger said the city had made progress since the original Mardi Gras protest march in 1978, but issues such as the continued discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+ students and staff at NSW’s religious schools show more work needs to be done.

“We have a lot to celebrate, but also much still to be achieved not only in Australia, but for LGBTQIA+ people around the world, so I’m particularly looking forward to attending the human rights conference,” he said.

The sheer number of events prompted Sydney digital cartographer Stella Blake-Kelly (the mind behind lockdown-era tool Friendship Island) to create an unofficial map ‘Rainbow Road’ allowing users to build a list of favourited events and share them with friends to organise outings.

“My friends and I have been looking forward to WorldPride for months,” Ms Blake-Kelly said.

“However, the logistics of planning what to go to left us all feeling very overwhelmed, as there’s so many events on.

“[Co-developers Blake Griffiths, Em Scott and I have] tried to incorporate as many events as possible, but if there’s anything missing we’re hoping the community can help by submitting more events through the website.”

-with AAP

Topics: LGBTIQ
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