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Sydney New Years Eve Rainbow waterfall heralds new dawn for equality

A rainbow waterfall of fireworks will cascade from Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the dramatic technicolour fireworks would confirm Sydney as the New Year’s Eve capital of the world and celebrate Australians saying ‘Yes’ to marriage equality.

"This is a fabulous way to see out 2017 – the year that four out of five Sydneysiders said a resounding 'Yes' to marriage equality," the Lord Mayor said.

"The rainbow waterfall is a well-earnt tribute to the Sydney 78ers who marched for gay rights 40 years ago – it's a reminder of how far we have come and how far we have left to achieve true equality for our LGBTI community. It's a wonderful way to ring in the New Year, and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

"With more fireworks than ever before, this year's Sydney NYE celebration guarantees to be the biggest, brightest and best in the world.

"Sydney New Year's Eve contributes an estimated $133 million to the local economy and puts Sydney on the map as a global city for tourism, business, events and creativity on every level."

It takes Sydney fireworks director Fortunato Foti and the crew from Sydney family company Foti Fireworks International more than 5,000 hours to create the New Year's Eve display.

"The challenge this year was to create never-before-seen displays. Out of this we've created some great effects that I'm looking forward to sharing with the people of Sydney and the world," Mr Foti said.

"This waterfall effect is a first for the bridge and we've chosen the rainbow colours that work best for fireworks: red, yellow, green, blue, purple and silver."

Mr Foti says there will be more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects on the night, setting a new record for the annual event's 9pm and midnight displays, with:

8 tonnes of fireworks – 1 tonne more than in 2016
13,000 shells – 1,000 more than 2016
30,000 shooting comets – 5,000 more than 2016

Inner-Sydney artist Nadia Hernández is the creative artist for this New Year's Eve and a series of bright artwork designs have inspired vibrant colour palette for the fireworks.

This year the 9pm and midnight firework display and the dramatic lighting effects beamed from the Sydney Harbour Bridge will feature new pastel shades, including bright orange, pink, lime green and light blue.

Her artwork designs also feature inspirational words, including wonder, harmony, hope and together, which will feature in the animations projected onto the harbour bridge pylons on the night.

"I included these words in the New Year's Eve artworks because they reflect my love of Sydney and send a positive message of hope for Australia and the world as we move into a new year," Ms Hernández said.

"The words and colours are all about what a wonderful place Sydney is in summer – spending time outdoors with family and with friends – and that sums up New Year's Eve in Sydney, too.

"It's such an honour to have been chosen by the City to be the creative artist for New Year's Eve. This project really has been a dream come true for me."

This year the Welcome to Country will include a tribute marking the 50th anniversary of the Sydney-San Francisco sister city relationship that will be celebrated in 2018.

A message from the Muwekma Ohlone peoples of the San Francisco Bay area will be projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons at the close of the evening's Welcome to Country.

Sydney New Year’s Eve creative consultant Rhoda Roberts AO said the message marked a close connection between the two cities' First Peoples.

"There is a lovely connection between Sydney and San Francisco – both cities are very similar in their geography and both cities have a strong and vibrant Indigenous culture," Ms Roberts said.

"There's a great synergy between the histories of the First Peoples of these two great cities. The language, the stories and the rituals of the Indigenous peoples here and in San Francisco have survived recognised and honoured, and are still strong today."

At the close of New Year's Eve Welcome to Country, the following words in the language of the Muwekma Ohlone people will appear: "Makkin Mak Muwekma Wolwoolum, Akkoy Mak-Warep, Manne Mak Hiswi!", which translates: "We Are Muwekma Ohlone, Welcome To Our Land, Where We Are Born, San Francisco Bay Area".

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee said the city was proud to be Included in Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations.

"We are honored that 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our Sister City friendship which has built common understanding, cooperation and partnership across the Pacific," Mayor Lee said.

"In January our San Francisco delegation will be visiting your beautiful city and joining with your citizens in celebrating 50 years of friendship and to set the foundation for another 50 years of citizen diplomacy.”


The 2017 New Year’s program highlights include:

6pm Pre-show entertainment
8.38pm Welcome to Country ceremony
9pm Family fireworks display
9.15pm Harbour of Light Parade
midnight Spectacular 2017 Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display

Getting in and out of the city centre is different on New Year’s Eve. There will be road closures, on-street fencing and diversions to help people get around safely and move crowds to transport. Visit sydneynewyearseve.com for detailed information.

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Federal Court Judge Blocks Trumps Trans Military Ban

A federal court judge has just blocked President Donald Trump's ban on military service members. Trump in July without consultation with the heads of the armed forces announced via Twitter a total ban on all transgender people serving in the military. Months later, that announcement was translated into a policy memo authorizing Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to determine who can serve and who must be discharged.

The D.C. Court's ruling, handed down Monday afternoon, says it believes Trump's order was "driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally."

The ruling does allow the Trump administration to continue blocking funds for sex reassignment surgery, The Washington Post reports.

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Mardi Gras Icon, Ron Muncaster passes away.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award-winning queen of incredible costume designs, the incomparable Ron Muncaster has passed away.

Ron Muncaster passed away at a hospice in Darlinghurst on Tuesday. He was 81.

The Master of Sequins as he was known to many played a pivotal role in the costuming direction of the parade over decades and brought much attention to the event via the mainstream media making the event the shimmering celebration of protest and celebration it is today.

In 2014 Ron Muncaster was given the Mardi Gras Lifetime Achievement Award, and starting this year our annual Parade Costume Award is named 'the Ron Muncaster Award for Best Costume' in his honour.

Mardi Gras has announced it now plans to honour Ron at the 40th Anniversary Parade on Saturday 3 March 2018.

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UK Popstars unite in support of Marriage Equality in Australia

A large group of UK popstars have stepped out of the studio this week after recording a single called "Love is the only law to bring people together" in support of their Australian friends and fans and the #YES campaign.

Some of the acts will be appearing later today at an event #GiveOzAHug organised by our good pal and regular TV host and singer extraordinaire Kelly Wilde (who will be back in Sydney for next years 40th Anniversary of Mardi Gras hosting for Guidetogay.com)

The event will be held at Old Compton Street, Soho in London (Mon Oct 23) starting at 18:30 hours.

Aussies overseas still have time to get their vote in online... visit the ABS website for more information - but hurry - you only have until November 7 to cast your vote... and some other details may be important to your personal situation.

The single that features Kelly Wilde, Jason Prince, Samantha Fox, Sean Miley Moore (X Factor UK), June Brown and more will be released soon on all digital platforms.

kelly2

Kelly Wilde

samfox

Samantha Fox

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A street party announced for Australian marriage equality results night.

Plans for celebrations are well underway for the same sex marriage postal survey in Australia. It will also be a call for action by the government as the postal survey is not binding on the government or any minister in the chamber.

Australians forked out over 122m dollars for this survey where only approx 69% of ballots were returned from those Australians who were eligible to have their say.

The street 'party' will be held in Sydney at the iconic Oxford Street, where the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade traverses each year. With four stages, lots of artists and performers - it will be (hopefully) a celebration and a moment to reinforce Australia's want for equality.

All polls and most politicians are now saying that the YES vote will win hands down. However, if the NO vote gets up - the event will still go ahead and become a force for future change on the issue.

Check out the details and RSVP to the event here.

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Macklemore's Same Love single hits #1 after NRL Grand Final backlash

After a day of bigoted backlash against international superstar Macklemore, love is winning, with the singers "controversial" NRL Grand final song "Same Love" reaching #1 again on the iTunes chart in Australia.

The singer faced backlash as conservative political figures jumped on the bandwagon of a petition to have the singer removed from the "Australian Superbowl" amidst the countries same sex marriage postal survey.

Congratulations to all that made Macklemore #1 - lets keep it going til the end of this weekend to make it really heard.

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Entries open for the 40th Sydney Mardi Gras Parade

JOIN THE 2018 PARADE!

Registrations have JUST OPENED for the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. Join thousands of parade participants as we celebrate four decades of passion, protest, acceptance, activism, pride, family, creativity, drama, satire, diversity and love.

Some groups may also be eligible for grants to help put their floats together. More details on the Mardi Gras website.

Register now and start planning your float! Find all the info here: http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-the-parade

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Sydney gears up for what will be Australia's largest YES vote rally.

Groups and individuals across the state are preparing to converge on Sydney's Town Hall tomorrow (Sunday 10th Sept) from 1pm to commence a rally and then a march down to Customs House at Circular Quay in support of the YES vote for Marriage Equality.

Recently the Australian city of Melbourne held a massive rally where the city turned out in force to show its support to treat all citizens equally - but predictions for Sydney, since the postal ballot was passed by the High Court, show that many more people will be turning out to make sure the YES voice is heard and seen.  From community groups to families, individuals and couples, it's going to be a massive event.

Speakers that will address the rally include supportive politicians, activists, and campaigners - all of whom have played a massive part in the long - very long - campaign for equality.

Make sure you head on down and show the country that YES is a supportive, respective and positive campaign.

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Woman attacks another at Sydney LGBT Social Dance

A woman has been arrested over a glassing attack on another woman at the popular inner Sydney social dance.

The attack happened when an older woman smashed a champagne bottle over the head of a younger woman at the Polly's Social Dance.

The organisers of the event rushed to the aid of the victim and this is their official statement.

"A shocking and traumatic incident occurred at our Farmer Wants A Drag Queen event last Saturday night, where one patron allegedly struck another patron over the head with a champagne bottle.

We acted quickly to provide first aid and support to the victim and immediately contacted emergency services. The perpetrator fled the venue but one of our security staff tailed the individual which assisted police in apprehending them.

We provide a safe space including ensuring we have security guards and first aid officers in place. This is the first incident of its kind that we know of in the 53 years of the club's operations. In accordance with our zero-tolerance policy towards violence of any kind, the perpetrator has been banned from our events for life.

We would like to thank the emergency services for their rapid, professional and thorough response and we are pleased to report that the victim is recovering well."

 

The police also released a statement on the attack.

NSW Police Force

A woman has been charged after an alleged glassing in Marrickville.

Yesterday evening (Saturday 8 July 2017), a licensed dance event was taking place at Marrickville Town Hall on Marrickville Road.

About 9pm, a 54-year-old woman was on the dance floor when a 59-year-old woman allegedly struck her in the back of the head with a bottle of champagne.

As a result the younger woman suffered a laceration and contusion to the rear of her head.

She was taken to RPA Hospital for treatment.

Police arrested the older woman at the scene. She was taken to Newtown Police Station and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

She was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today (Sunday 9 July 2017).

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Pride in London Parade to honour emergency services

The Pride in London Parade will tomorrow be officially launched by members of the emergency services in honour of their commitment and bravery in recent tragic events.

London's Fire and Rescue service, the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance service have all nominated LGBT+ colleagues to officially open the Pride in London Parade this Saturday 8 July at 1pm. Those LGBT+ colleagues who were involved in the recent Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, the London Bridge terror attack and the Westminster terror attack will be joined by the Rt. Hon. Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Ian Adams, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, members of the volunteer run Pride in London board and flagbearers showing flags from countries around the world - in particular the 72 countries where it’s still illegal to be LGBT+. They include:

Acting Inspector Natasha Walker who works as a community Inspector in Tower Hamlets. She has been a police officer for 16 years and is currently assisting with police community liaison after the Grenfell fire.

Jules Lockett, Head of Control Services Training for London Ambulance who supported the control room staff and attended in a support role at Grenfell.

Group Manager Norman Perry who representing the London Fire Brigade. He is a group manager and interagency liaison officer and was heavily involved with the London Fire Brigade response at several of the recent major incidents.

Marking 50 years since Parliament first voted to partially legalise homosexuality in the UK, which applied to England and Wales only, Pride in London will be marching with a global message of hope, acceptance, activism and love and in a show of solidarity to LGBT+ people living in Northern Ireland which has yet to legalise same sex marriage. The theme Love Happens Here is a much needed antidote to hate and the Parade will be a protest against hate. A recent hate crime report showed nearly half of LGBT+ people in London say they’ve experienced hate crime compared with a national figure of 18%.

With over 330 groups including around 80 floats, the Pride in London Parade is set to be the biggest and most colourful yet as it shuts down Oxford Street, Europe's busiest shopping street. An estimated 26,500 people are due to take part in the Parade and there is expected to be 1 million people attending Pride, making it London's largest single day outdoor event. Over 60% of parade groups are non-profit and community groups with others including LGBT+ employee networks, religious and political groups, trade unions and musical and sporting organisations.

The Parade will be the pinnacle of what is believed to the be the world’s largest Pride Festival – with well over 100 events since Saturday 24 June, and will officially close on Sunday 9 July, where awards for best new group, best walking group and best float amongst others will be announced at Pride in the Park with UK Black Pride at 4:15pm on Sunday in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

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