This is a special year for the LGBTIAQ+ communities with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and World Pride combining, with hundreds of thousands of people descending on Sydney – to celebrate! From the traditional Mardi Gras parade through the streets of Sydney, to the many events, parties and special guest appearances, Sydney will be the focus for the international queer social calendar.
Here are some tips to help make your Mardi Gras and WorldPride experience one to remember:
- If you're drinking alcohol, keep track of how many drinks you've had to avoid injury or making yourself sick. Consider having a water between each alcoholic drink.
- Using illicit drugs comes with risks. You don't know the purity, what other things have been added to them, the strength or how it will affect you. Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs. It's important to tell someone you trust what you've taken, and to get help immediately if it's needed.
- At some larger parties and events during Sydney WorldPride (Mardi Gras After Party, Domain Dance Party, Bondi Beach Party and Rainbow Republic) additional harm reduction services will be available to help people to stay safe while celebrating. Look out for the ACON Rovers, a team of volunteers providing support and information to help partygoers stay safe. You'll find them wearing bright pink vests roving at events.
- Medical services are available at major events during Sydney WorldPride. If you or a friend needs help, remember to tell the medical staff about any alcohol or other drug taken so they can provide the best possible care. You won't get into trouble by seeking help.
- Be aware of your surroundings. With large crowds, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and to look out for each other. If you feel uncomfortable or if someone is acting inappropriately, don't hesitate to seek help from security personnel.
Eat, hydrate, stay cool and be sun safe
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially if you're drinking alcohol.
- Mardi Gras and World Pride will be over multiple weekends and parties, so make sure you eat regularly.
- Alcohol and other drugs can affect your body's ability to regulate temperature. If you find yourself feeling overheated while partying, take regular breaks away from the crowds and allow yourself to cool down or seek help.
- There are many parties and events during the daytime and it's easy to forget to be sun safe, so here are some reminders on how to protect your skin from the suns UV rays:
- Slip on protective clothing
- Slop on SPF 50 sunscreen every two hours
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
- Seek shade through-out the day
- Slide on sunnies
Think About How You Will Get Home
Before heading out for any Mardi Gras and WorldPride events, plan your way home and make sure you have enough money to pay for transport. Remember that it's illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or any illicit drug and it's not safe to drive until you are sober and not under the influence of any drugs. Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking or taking illicit drugs – it's just not worth it!
Useful links for support or more information
For resources and support for the LGBTQIA+ community around alcohol and other drugs, visit ACON's Sydney WorldPride website.
For more information on how to have a great time at Sydney Mardi Gras and WorldPride events, visit Stay OK.
The NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA) is a peer-based drug user organisation, offering strategies for harm reduction and current issues relating to drug use in Australia.
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm.
Image credit - Daniel Boud