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Rising up to celebrate Mardi Gras 2021

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people gather on Oxford St to celebrate Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. While this year’s event looked a little different, the 2021 theme called on the community to RISE up and celebrate loudly, proudly – and safely. 

Over the past 5 years, we’ve supported Mardi Gras’ vision to provide a platform for LGBTQI+ people and their allies to share stories, connect and express themselves. We’ve provided funding to individuals, community groups and not-for-profits through the Mardi Gras Community Grants Program to help organisations deliver their messages and dazzle during the parade. These organisations have advocated across a range of issues – from sport to health and the creative arts. 

Among our grantees this year are Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life, two Perth-based suicide prevention organisations with a mission is to empower people to connect with culture through traditional Aboriginal dance and the Māori Haka. 

Photo of Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life members in costume for the Mardi Gras Parade

This year, Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life paraded traditional costumes and powerfully performed Corroborees and the Haka across the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Photo of Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life members in costume for the Mardi Gras Parade

We’re delighted to award grants to many other LGBTQI+ focused organisations, representing trans, regional and indigenous communities (and more).  This includes: 

ANTRA (澳纽彩盟) - Australia & New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance is a NSW registered community organisation advocating for the rights, livelihood and welfare of Australia and New Zealand’s Mandarin & Cantonese speaking LGBTQIA+ communities. 

Autism Spectrum Australia - A not-for-profit working in partnership with people on the autism spectrum to understand, engage and celebrate the strengths and interests of people on the autism spectrum, including the Autistic LGBTQIA+ community, as the Neurodiversity Rainbow. 

Point Clare Families - A grassroots community group from the Central Coast representing same sex parented, opposite sex parented and single parent families. They celebrate diverse families and safe spaces for youth and families to explore their identities. Their group includes participants living with disability.

TRANS GLAMORE - A night held monthly in celebration of transgender performers & friends. 

We are proud to support even more organisations with grants this year including; The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF), The Colours of Our Community, Different Strokes, Dayenu-Sydney’s Jewish LGBTQ+ Group, Emerald City Kickball, Entry #2, Girl Guides, The Institute of Many, The Oz Fag Hags, The Pinnacle Foundation, Raio de Sol, The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association, Sydney Silverbacks Wrestling Club, Trikone Australia and Queer Zumba. 

While we had to navigate new rules and restrictions this year, Mardi Gras 2021 was no half measure. The spirit was high, the festivities were fabulous – and the community showed they are ready to RISE and shine. I’m already reliving the memories listening to the YouTube Mardi Gras playlist