The City of Sydney will signal the start of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival by raising the rainbow flag above the city’s most important civic building, Sydney Town Hall.
For the seventh year in a row, the potent symbol of pride for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities will fly proudly from 19 February until the end of the festival on 6 March.
The flag joins the 200 rainbow banners that the City has flown along Oxford and Flinders Street since 2005 and the giant Rainbow Flag at Taylor Square.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has invited the community to attend the special flag-raising ceremony on the steps of Sydney Town Hall from 5.30pm on Friday 19 February.
“The City is a dedicated financial sponsor of Mardi Gras and we’re proud to fly the rainbow flag on our most important civic building, signalling to all that we are a welcoming and inclusive community,” the Lord Mayor said.
“These flags are a powerful symbol of our commitment to equality, social justice and diversity. Despite much progress over recent years, we must continue to work toward marriage equality and address discrimination by educational institutions.
“Join us on the steps of Town Hall as we raise the rainbow flag, and show your support for our LGBTI communities.”
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival features a range of free and popular events, including the world-famous parade along Oxford and Flinders streets (5 March), Fair Day at Victoria Park, Camperdown (21 February) and a Mamma Mia Sing-Along with the Gay and Lesbian Choir at Mrs Macquaries Point (26 February).
For the 11th year, the City will have an entry in the Mardi Gras Parade, which this year will feature around 70 staff and volunteers dancing to the theme, ‘Momentum’.
In 2014, the City committed $1.45 million in cash and support over three years to Mardi Gras, reduced rent on office space through a grant valued at almost $65,000 each year, and a further $20,000 to help them develop a strategic plan.
The City also installed a large rainbow flag at Taylor Square to recognise the important contribution of the GLBTI community to Sydney.