SYDNEY has won its bid to to host the biennial WorldPride festival in 2023.
The Habour City was announced as the successful bidder at a ceremony in Athens a short time ago, fending off strong competition from two other candidate cities, Houston and Montreal.
Sydney won after 60 per cent of members of the InterPride network voted for the NSW capital. Montreal came in second, scoring 36 per cent of delegates’ votes.
The moment Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras won WorldPride for 2023 🌏🏳️🌈🇦🇺
Posted by Alex Greenwich on Sunday, 20 October 2019
The decision means Sydney will not only be the first Australian city to host WorldPride, but the first in the Southern Hemisphere.
WorldPride—which involves LGBTQI parades, parties, festivals and cultural activities—will be held in conjunction with the 2023 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, in a significant coup for Australia’s largest annual LGBTQI event.
Reaction to Sydney’s winning bid, which carries the theme of ‘fearless’, was jubilant.
“We won!” declared state member for Sydney Alex Greenwich via his official Twitter account.
Greenwich, who was in Athens for the announcement, said: “Thank you @sydneymardigras for bringing WorldPride to Sydney.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore also expressed jubilation, taking to Twitter to congratulate Mardi Gras.
“Congratulations @sydneymardigras on your successful bid to bring #WorldPride to Australia.
“We can’t wait to invite the world to Sydney in 2023!”
Back in Sydney, a spirited crowd packed into the Stonewall Hotel to hear the announcement being made live. The crowd erupted into celebration as the winning bid was announced.
Among them was gay historian, writer and broadcaster William Brougham, who said Sydney had triumphed despite being the underdog.
“Despite being considered by many as the underdog I never doubted it. I’m so happy for Sydney and all those who worked on our bid, both staff and volunteers,” he told the Star Observer.
Brougham said the atmosphere at Stonewall was “one of optimism and if there was any doubt [about Sydney winning] I did not see it. The reaction was amazing with many of those involved in the bid being invited on stage.”
Often dubbed the Olympics of global LGBTQI pride events, WorldPride was first held in Rome in the year 2000.
Originally sexennial, the event is now biennial, and has also been held in Jerusalem, London, Toronto, Madrid and New York City.
In 2021, WorldPride will be jointly hosted by the cities of Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden, which are approximately 40 kilometres apart.
It will be the first time the event has been held by joint cities.
The successful Sydney bid, which in March received a $192,000 funding boost from the NSW Government, was previously described by former Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu as “an exciting opportunity for Sydney and NSW to host yet another world-class event that has the potential to attract thousands of visitors to the city and make a significant economic and cultural impact.
“This event would not only boost the international profile of the Mardi Gras festival, it would also showcase the iconic surrounds of Sydney and NSW as a premier tourist destination,” she said.