Sydney can take pride in the successes of the last few weeks with rainbows, street parties, art installations, concerts, and good times that attracted hundreds of thousands of people.
The biggest pride festival in the world and the return of Mardi Gras to Oxford Street presented the opportunity to showcase Sydney in all its glory on a global stage.
Sydney WorldPride was an epic celebration of diversity and inclusiveness that brought life to the city not seen since before the pandemic.
“Sydney WorldPride was a festival with so many highlights, that it’s impossible to pick one. The culmination of the event saw 50,000 people taking part in the spectacular Pride Walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge, which was an occasion I will never forget,” Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said.
“The festival was built on the solid foundations of over five decades of advocacy, activism, and community building, which began with the formation of Australia’s first gay and lesbian rights organisation, the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP).
“WorldPride will leave many legacies, including the acceleration of our Oxford Street LGBTIQA+ social and cultural place strategy. But the intangible legacy for Sydney is WorldPride’s impact on our people: the many volunteers, organisations and businesses who made it possible, the attendees at WorldPride events and the people who became aware of the many special things happening in our city.”
Since the bid in 2019 to host WorldPride, the City of Sydney provided more than $3.2 million in direct and indirect support. Some of the City of Sydney’s support included:
- murals created by queer artist Amy Blue on three heritage buildings on Oxford Street that depict the strip’s story and celebrates its people, places, history and connection to the LGBTIQA+ communities
- cash funding to WorldPride for works on Oxford Street including sculptures in vacant shopfronts, signs, and infrastructure to activate and beautify the street. Vacant shops were also used by InterPride and as a First Nations space
- the installation of Still Thriving, a mural by Dylan Mooney on the Top of the Town building on Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
- a mural designed by Vandal, incorporating the Progress Pride flag at the front of the Burdekin Hotel
- Liberate! exhibition at Customs House curated by creative producer Jacqui North, celebrating 45 years of community-led social change. The exhibition will run until June 2023
- helping Qtopia establish a temporary LGBTIQA+ museum at the Green Park bandstand in Darlinghurst, with a cash grant to help create a permanent museum at the site of the former Darlinghurst Police Station in Forbes Street
- programming of rainbow lights on George Street
- a Mardi Gras Parade float filled with City of Sydney employees
- rainbow lighting for the Taylor Square fountain
- LGBTIQA+ street signs along Oxford Street in Darlinghurst
- Progress Pride banners flying throughout the city
- the installation of a plaque commemorating the original 78ers in Taylor Square
- repainting the rainbow crossing on Campbell Street in Darlinghurst
- the installation of a giant Progress Pride flag artwork on the footpath along George Street
- steam cleaning of Oxford Street, waste removal and street cleansing throughout the festival period.
Through its grants program, the City of Sydney also funded more than 15 WorldPride community projects. These included outLOUD: First Nations LGBTQIA+ story and writing project, Australia’s largest LGBTIQA+ business networking event, People with Disability Australia to be part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day and Parade, and a production of Australia’s queer history at the Seymour Centre.
“I commend and thank the many volunteers, organisations, and businesses who contributed to a successful Sydney WorldPride 2023,” the Lord Mayor said.
“I also thank City of Sydney employees and everyone who worked together to ensure the festival was a success and ran as safely and smoothly as possible.
“The success of the festival helped send a message to the world that the LGBTIQA+ communities are here, united and ready to work to achieve equality for those everywhere who are still persecuted for the person they are or who they love.”