There was a scene in the new Australian telemovie, Riot, that I was dreading to watch and spent most of the film tense waiting for it to happen. It was the scene of a young gay activist, Peter Murphy, being viciously beaten — almost to death — by members of the New South Wales Police Force. The 78ers were the men and women who on a fateful night in June were cornered by police while trying to hold a street party for gay righs, detained and beaten. That street party was the first ever Sydney Mardi Gras.
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Little Known Black History Fact: Origins of Mardi Gras
A Brief History of Mardi Gras | The Manual
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Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
The celebration that starts the Lenten season is know around the world, but is most famous in Louisiana. The question, then, is why? For many or at the very least sex-driven college-aged males , Mardi Gras is a chance to hop a flight to New Orleans , drink copious Hurricanes or three-for-one beers, and throw beads at people in an attempt to see some public nudity. Amazing, right? Take a breath.
The first parade, in , was brutally attacked by police — a response that sparked a very public stoush over the rights of LGBTIQ people and the right to protest. The 78ers, as the first protesters are now known, won a stunning victory: most of the charges were dropped, and the right to demonstrate was secured in New South Wales. In fact, by the late s, gay liberationists were facing a religious backlash against the impressive gains they had made.