• The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will be streamed live around the world for the first time. (SBS)
SBS On Demand will remove its geo-block for the TV event, which airs on Saturday 29th February at 7.30pm.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

5 Feb 2020 - 12:04 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2020 - 3:12 PM

Members of the LGBTIQ+ community around the world will be able to tune in to watch the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade live for the first time, with SBS On Demand removing its geo-block for the TV event, which airs on Saturday 29th February at 7.30pm.

The night's fabulous lineup of hosts include comedian Joel Creasey, presenter Narelda Jacobs, drag icon Courtney Act and comedian Zoë Coombs Marr, promising on-the-ground parade coverage and interviews with celebrity guests including Sam Smith, Dua Lipa and Kesha.

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said it was important to make Mardi Gras as accessible for viewers as possible, highlighting this year's festival theme of 'What Matters'.

“We are delighted and honoured to be broadcasting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade LIVE across Australia and around the world on SBS On Demand," he said in a statement.

“'What Matters' to SBS is giving a voice to underrepresented communities and promoting social inclusion and acceptance through our content. We can’t wait to share another amazing evening of love with our audience.”

Speaking ahead of the event, Joel Creasey said he was "equal parts thrilled and astounded that SBS are allowing me to broadcast live on the gayest night of the year (after my birthday, of course). What could possibly go wrong?"

He added: "All jokes aside, I could not be more excited to be hosting again alongside the sensational Narelda Jacobs. Plus Zoe Coombs-Marr is back to bring us all the color and camper-y from the streets. And, I am of course thrilled to welcome the incredible Courtney Act to our glittery team."

Act added: “My first time hosting Mardi Gras on SBS and they raise the stakes by making it live! I promise to securely fasten all wigs and dresses to ensure there are no live TV wardrobe malfunctions (again)!

"Mardi Gras is a celebration for the queer community where we invite the world to come and watch our radical self expression, to share our stories, and amplify the voices of our siblings whose stories need to be heard.

"The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras remains one of the world’s largest and most loved LGBTIQ+ celebrations. This year the festival is themed What Matters?, to acknowledge how far the LGBTIQ+ community have come, and how much further there is still to go."

Jacobs, who attended her first Mardi Gras in 1998, said she Mardi Gras holds a special place in her heart.

"I was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian family where it was an accepted belief that being homosexual was a sin and gays were damned to hell," she said in a statement.

"The pilgrimage to Sydney all those years ago allowed me to stand proud as a lesbian. I felt a strong sense of belonging and identity. The same arms that welcomed me over two decades ago, have welcomed countless others."

The Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020: Live Stream will be available to watch here from Saturday, 29th February 2020 at 07:30 PM.

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