‘CREATING Equality’ has been unveiled as the theme of the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) festival.

Next year’s festival kicks off Friday February 17 and will run for two weeks until Sunday March 5 with organisers describing it as an all-inclusive, all-singing, all-dancing celebration of Australia’s LGBTQI community.

The ‘Creating Equality’ theme is aimed at serving a poignant message that has been a cornerstone of Mardi Gras’ ethos since its beginnings in 1978.

The Mardi Gras team said: “quality means many things, and in 2017 Mardi Gras want tocelebrate how far Australia has come in accepting and embracing its LGBTQI communities, and what positive steps there are still to make.”

“‘Creating Equality’ is a philosophy that goes to the very heart of our organisation,” said SGLMG CEO, Terese Casu.

“This February we welcome you to Sydney, which sparkles a little bit brighter every year during Mardi Gras. Our festival resonates around the world, as we welcome LGBTQI visitors and friends from all over Australia and every corner of the globe.

“We’re very excited to present an eclectic program of events for all ages designed to bring us together in celebration.”

Marquee events such as Fair Day, Laneway, the parade and official Mardi Gras party will be back in full force in the 80-event strong 2017 festival.

Newly added events to the festival include Koori Gras 107 is a week-long festival all of its own, and a look at the First People of Mardi Gras. It will include a special exhibition providing a truly breathtaking glimpse into the shared stories and history for First People’s gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, Sista girl, brothaboy, intersex and queer community to a special one off cabaret night packed with black drag performers and DJ’s.

Throughout the week Black Point will invite strangers to sit, connect with one another beforebecoming the backdrop for a communal “feed” and open mic night on Saturday February 25.

“With over 80 events in store, Mardi Gras is going to be one amazing celebration,” said SGLMG Creative Director, Greg Clarke.

“We’ve collaborated with the Art Gallery of NSW to present a number of special events around the Adman: Warhol before pop exhibition as well as partnering with Frontier Comedy which will see huge international and local comedians alike come together for the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival.”

The Aurora Group also announced today it’s official Mardi Gras event, the aGender – Gender-Queer Fashion Parade.

The new fundraising event is a fashion parade designed to celebrate Australian queer (and queer-friendly) fashion brands, while generating conversation about the changing space of gender-queer style.

Guests will enjoy canapés and cocktails in the [Style] aGender VIP Lounge before taking their seats for the [Style] aGender Runway Show presenting thought-provoking pieces worn by unique models.

“Can fashion be used to challenge the binary limitations of masculinity and femininity and make space for other forms of identity? Can we harness it to creatively resist and queer the norm?” said Alison King, chair, the Aurora Group.

“The Aurora Group is bringing together the thinkers, trendsetters and style icons of the queer community to explore this concept with a Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival fashion event showcasing collections from local style front-runners and influential designers.”

Tickets for Mardi Gras 2017 will go on sale tonight at 7pm.

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