Sydney WorldPride – together we gather, dream and amplify

For the first time ever, WorldPride, the largest international gathering of LGBT+ communities worldwide, will be hosted in the Southern Hemisphere in our very own Harbour City, Sydney on the lands of Gadigal Country.

It’s truly history in the making and is sure to be an explosion of colour, love and celebration!

The festival will take over what is our usual Mardi Gras, with a tonne more events and parties added to the programme.

So, take a deep breath and brace yourselves. This is going to be BIG.

A brief history of WorldPride

Organised by InterPride (an organisation made up of pride groups from across the world), the first WorldPride was hosted in 2000 in Rome. The festival included a host of community events, conferences and a pride march of around 250,000 people – estimated to be one of the largest crowds to gather in Rome for decades.

Since then, WorldPride has been hosted by several other cities – usually once every two years – such as London, Madrid, and New York City. Each festival draws crowds of people from the LGBT+ community and their allies ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the millions! And with international artists and queer icons like Madonna, Gloria Gaynor and Rupaul, it’s no wonder.

In October 2019, at InterPride’s annual general meeting in Athens, Greece, with three hundred delegate pride organisations present, Sydney was given the winning vote to host WorldPride 2023!

What is the theme of Sydney WorldPride?

This year’s festival theme is Gather. Dream. Amplify. A theme that seeks to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia and reflect on how we gather, dream and amplify our voices as a community:

“Sydney WorldPride acknowledges the traditional custodians of Australia, the oldest surviving culture on the planet and invites us to work together to create change and long-lasting legacy for all our communities.

We welcome LGBTQIA+ people from across the globe: to honour our elders and communities, acknowledge our connections, and empower each other to celebrate together in new ways.”

What does it mean to ‘gather, dream and amplify’?

A theme such as Gather. Dream. Amplify. can be interpreted in many ways. One way we might think about it is the power of gathering community – from the first Mardi Gras in 1978 in the face of violence and discrimination to our 45th Mardi Gras this year, we know that progress can be won when we work together.

We might consider dreaming as the way we inspire hope, and imagine a world free of stigma and living as our authentic selves. As the WorldPride theme states, we can “imagine the future we want and demand it”,  and this can be attained when we amplify our voices and speak up on the issues that affect us and our communities.

Read more about the theme here.

What events are on for Sydney WorldPride?

With over 300 free and ticketed events occurring across the festival, you might even need to stop for a coffee halfway through reading the programme.

Mardi Gras favourites such as Fair Day and the Main Party will return as well as the iconic Mardi Gras Parade reclaiming its residency back on Oxford Street.

Bondi Beach will host a huge dance party, Oxford Street will turn into a multi-day community street party (as part of Pride Villages), there’ll be the largest Human Rights Conference ever held in the Southern Hemisphere and the Harbour Bridge will shut down for a momentous Pride March. And that’s just to name a few.

What can you do to be party-ready

Beyond doing the ‘keys, wallet, phone” check, here are a few things you can do to prepare for our biggest pride festival ever!

Test now for HIV and other STIs so you can confidently start your WorldPride with a bang (or several 😉)! Getting tested before events like festivals and parties is an excellent practice to protect yourself and prevent the transmission of STIs. Find a place to get tested here.

If you take oral PrEP, but are low on pills, get a script and stock up now to be ready for the start of party season. If you don’t take PrEP, consider if it’s right for you and speak to your doctor. And in either case, having a stash of condoms could come in handy – just in case that handsome fella prefers to have sex with condoms only.

If you are eligible, get vaccinated for mpox (monkeypox). While mpox may not be a huge issue for us at the moment it’s always best to take precautions, and especially with a huge influx of travellers about to arrive on our shores. For maximum protection, you need two doses at least 28 days apart, so don’t delay. Find a vaccination site in NSW here.