• Sydney Mardi Gras has inspired creative expression for over 40 years. (William Yang, ALGA)Source: William Yang, ALGA
Looking for inspiration ahead of the March SCG parade? We've got you covered.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

28 Feb 2019 - 12:26 PM  UPDATED 10 Feb 2021 - 2:28 PM

For over 40 years the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has provided a platform for the creative expression of LGBTIQ+ Australians.

This is perhaps no clearer than in the parade fashion, which ranges each year from skimpy leather numbers to extravagant feather bowers, stilts and constructed statement pieces.

Nothing's off limits. Big or small. Bright or dark. Tongue in cheek or overtly political.

With the help of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, we took a deep dive into some of the most iconic Mardi Gras parade looks since 1978. Look, it must be noted that this is not an exhaustive list, as there have simply been too many show-stopping looks to condense into one article.

Follow the conversation on SBS Australia socials #WeRiseFor #MardiGras2021 and via sbs.com.au/mardigras

The 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras live Saturday 6 March 6pm AEDT on SBS On Demand or catch the full parade at 7:30pm on SBS and NITV.

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Everyone is having to do things a little bit differently this year, and the Mardi Gras team is no different.
My neighbour was the gentle 'Hagrid' I needed to make sense of being a gay kid
Vin. My gentle giant, my confidant, the only person to whom I’d let my queerness slip.
Dancing bharatanatyam helped me come to terms with being gay
The life of a teenager, especially a closeted one, is filled with confusion – dance was one thing that always made sense.
I was a Judy Garland-loving kid and my country dad was my biggest supporter
On paper my dad and I should have been at odds. My dad had lived in this small country his whole life. He was a tradie and high school woodwork teacher. A big man with a beard and a deep voice.
I tried to be a 'homie', but I just wanted to listen to Britney
"I was black. I was gay. I was living in bloody Adelaide!"
I lived in the wrong body for years. Now I'm finally free
I thought that everyone had just made a huge mistake, that I had somehow been incorrectly labelled a boy by some doctor.
My single mum celebrated my queerness
Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and having an ethnic background has its own demons to battle but I don’t think I could have picked a more amazing supporter if I tried.
Football was the closet I hid in as a gay kid in the country
Playing football had become a way of keeping up appearances. I found guys were hesitant to challenge my sexuality if they saw I was participating in the same masculine activity as they were.
My partner and I were the only gay dads we knew who looked like us
The journey to parenthood for this Asian Australian gay man was a dance with swirling papers.