Tag Archives: Mardi Gras

Photographing Sydney’s Mardi Gras – Part 1

(Travel Experiences of WWP Photographer ~ Charles Meacham)

I arrived back in Taipei from Sydney over two weeks ago, and the daze still hasn’t fully worn off.  I can still see, hear, and feel Mardi Gras.  I close my eyes and find myself back on Oxford Street in the middle of all that sound and color.  For me, the best part of being a photographer is coming up with an idea and then making that idea happen.  The experience of being exactly where you want to be, at the exact time you want to be there is an incredible feeling.  But as any photographer will tell you, not everyday is fun, and Sydney was no exception.

I arrived in Oz the day before one of Mardi Gras biggest events, Fair Day.  Over 70,000 people were expected to show up at Sydney’s Victoria Park, and I was looking forward to a day of shooting and getting to meet different members of the community that I had been in contact with via email.  But  that morning getting to Victoria Park was a bit of a hassle.  As I had written before, my hotel, which advertised being a LGBT and Mardi Gras supporter, knew nothing about the event or where it was being held.  Going out onto one of the main streets in Sydney, two taxi drivers swore they had never heard of Victoria Park, and that I must have the name wrong.  Finally, with the help of the police, I made my way there.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and the Aussie sun was out in full force.  Jet lagged and sunburnt, I found it hard to focus my attention and get into any kind of rhythm.  I took pictures, but not anywhere the number I had hoped.

Sydney Mardi Gras

Two days later, I came across a magazine article that talked about a right-wing christian protest held a few days before the main parade during a church service.  The event looked fairly large, so I checked some local maps, found the church, and prepared to go there to photograph the service.  Getting there was not as easy as I thought, as I was directed to board the wrong train and missed the whole thing.  For me this was 0/2 and you can really start getting down on yourself.  It cost a lot of money to get to OZ, and not to produce would be a pretty big blow to the project, and to my morale.

The next event was the actual parade, and the pressure was on.

Sydney’s Mardi Gras is by far the largest, most organized event that I have yet photographed for the WWP project, and having the opportunity to be a part of it all was a truly unforgettable  life experience.  There were press passes, press meetings, police barricades, lots and lots of other photographers, news channels, etc..etc.  The true enormity of it hits you as you look out at the huge crowds gathered.

Crowd at Sydney Mardi Gras

Let me just say, I felt much better about the trip after my experience photographing the parade and Harbour Day.  I’ll write more about these events soon, and check the WWP Flickr account for new photos from Sydney.

Pride Image of Sydney Mardi Gras

Sydney 2010!

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Australia

Australian LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? Yes

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes, since 1992

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 “prohibits discrimination on the ground of homosexuality in a number of areas including employment, accommodation, education, the provision of goods and services, and club membership or benefits.”

However, the states of the Commonwealth of Australia also have their own laws concerning anti-discrimination legislation.  This means the degree of anti-discrimination protection varies state to state.

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

July 2009, the Australian Passport Office reviewed its policy to make it easier for those seeking a passport in their preferred gender

Cultural Points of Interest:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island indigenous cultures have the term “Sistergirl” to describe those in their communities who prefer being a different gender, mostly those wanting to be female.
  • This year’s Mardi Gras celebration was attended by photographer Spencer Tunick, well-known for his installations that include large numbers of nude participants.  While in Sydney he photographed a new piece called “The Base”.


SameSame – Australia’s #1 gay and lesbian lifestyle website.  The site hosts a huge number of forums, as well as providing news, reviews, and features on various gay community activities.  http://www.samesame.com.au/

Yarns – Features stories and interviews with gay aboriginals.  http://www.yarns.org.au

Guide To Gay – A popular entertainment and lifestyle website based in Australia.  The brand also includes travel guides, and provides high quality information for visitors.

Gay Travel in Australia – Provides excellent information for travelers planning a visit to Australia.

ACON – ACON is Australia’s largest community-based gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) health and HIV/AIDS organisation.

Pride Centre – Non-profit organization that works as a community centre and social services for the LGBT community.

Journal Entry: March 4, 2010 — Chad’s Back from Sydney

Completely exhausted, Chad returned from photographing Sydney’s Mardi Gras Activities on Tuesday (March 2).

He’d spent about a week there photographing different Mardi Gras events, including the main events of Parade Day and Harbour Day ’10.  On our main project website, we’ve upload the top pictures into a “Sydney Pride Gallery“.  Soon, we’ll be uploading some more to Flickr.

Pride kiss taken by Charles Meacham of the Walk with Pride Project at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Chad will also be uploading a blog entry later in the week further describing his experiences photographing Mardi Gras.

Sydney Updates — Coming Soon!

More Updates on the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras — Coming Soon!!

Chad will be back from his trip to OZ later tonight, and we’ll get the blog updated shortly.

Fair Day in Victoria Park

Getting to Victoria Park is no easy task.  Well it should be, but it wasn’t.  My hotel, which advertises on their website to being a Mardi Gras and LGBT community supporter knew nothing about the event, or where Victoria Park was.  I then just headed down to the city, where two taxi drivers told me they had never heard of the park, and that I must have the name wrong.  Luckily, after about 40 minutes, a police officer pointed me in the right direction.

Now, I’ve heard about the Aussie sun before, but now I know the true meaning of “Being Naked.”  It was hot, and not a cloud in the sky.  The park was full of music, food, promotional and awareness booths, a pet show, games,  and just friends getting together for a regular day in the park.  

It was a long day, but a very interesting introduction to Sydney.  The community here is much more established, and free than in Taiwan and the Philippines.  For me it had a much different feel, and I am still trying to put my finger on it.  Still jet-lagged and sunburnt, I slowly made the walk back to King’s Cross, and passed out in my bunk.

(Travel Experiences of WWP Photographer ~ Charles Meacham)

Well here I am in Sydney.

Yeah, so I had the times a bit confused in Darwin, and here I am in Sydney.  The King’s Cross area is a lot like other backpacker havens, so getting settled in hasn’t been that much of an adjustment.  Sydney is of course a huge city and the idea that I am showing up to try to photograph so many events is a little overwhelming at times.  Tomorrow is Fair Day, which is one of the main events of Mardi Gras.  Tens of thousands are going to be showing up in Victoria Park, and I am hoping for some good photographs, but for now I have to fight the urge to sleep.  I look forward to meeting a lot of the community here, which has been so good in helping me try to get a grasp of what is to come.   Don’t sleep Chad, don’t sleep.

(Travel Experiences of WWP Photographer ~ Charles Meacham)

Where Women Glow and Men Thunder

Where am I again?

It’s 5am in Darwin, Australia, and I’m sitting in the airport having an average cup of coffee and an over-priced sandwich that looks nothing like the picture, as my bloodshot eyes stare out into space.  I’ve spent the last 2 days almost entirely in airports, and I have another 5 hours on this lay-over before my flight takes off for Sydney.  For the next 8 days I will be photographing the huge Mardi Gras event…..oh I think they are boarding….I’ll write more when I get there.

(Travel Experiences of WWP Photographer ~ Charles Meacham)

Project Update – Feb. 8, 2010

First off, we’d like to say thank you to Jason Dixon and Jeff McBride, members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras team. They have both helped us in getting the permits and passes needed to photograph the events in Sydney.  We greatly appreciate their help, since Mardi Gras 2010 is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, while I won’t be able to go with Chad to Sydney, he will be arriving on Feb. 20 and staying for eight days.  The first main Mardi Gras event Chad will be photographing is Fair day on Feb. 21, held at Victoria Park, so keep an eye out for him if you plan to be there.

Also, thanks to everyone who has shown support for the *New* 2010 Pride Parade Calendar.  If you haven’t had the chance to take a look, it’s pretty fascinating as it includes video clips of pride parades from all over the world.

To help promote the site, we also welcome ad banner swaps on the site, so email us if you would like to exchange LGBT/pride-related link banners!

2010 Pride Parade Calendar by WWP

Getting Ready for Sydney, Part 2

The Sydney pride parade is now just over a month away, and we are busy making preparations for the trip.  Chad will be arriving in Sydney a week before the parade in hopes of photographing some side stories to go along with the march.  The Mardi Gras website is great for finding additional activities that are part of the pride festival.  There’s a huge range of events including ‘Queer Thinking’ discussion sessions, musical/theater/and cabaret performances, Fair Day with 70,000 people hanging out for a day at the park, and the huge Mardi Gras Gay and Lesbian parade, followed by Harbour Day – a large outdoor party.  This year, the artist Spencer Tunick will also be in Sydney working on a large scale art piece called “The Base” – Tunick is famous for large scale photographs where he asks thousands of nude individuals to participate.

Visit the main Mardi Gras – Events page for a complete list:  http://www.mardigras.org.au/mardi-gras-2010/events-calendar/index.cfm

Mardi Gras

These are just some of the events taking place at the 2010 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, Feb 19 - Mar 7, 2010