Mardi Gras 2018

This is our upcoming activities in this year’s (40th) Mardi Gras!

ACON at Mardi Gras Fair Day 2018

Fair Day is the biggest and best-loved community event of the season, as Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras takes over beautiful Victoria Park for a picnic in the sun with 70,000 of our closest friends.

Visit us at the ACON Zone, near the City Road/Cleveland St entrance, for all the latest information and resources on staying well and keeping healthy. Meet the ACON team, learn about our work in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTI health, find out more about our free counselling, community care and regional services and take part in vital health surveys.

Be sure to also check out the various shows and attractions of Doggywood! ACON is once again proud to be taking the lead on this celebration of dogs and pets, and the important role they play in the lives of many people in our communities. For more information about Doggywood, visit the website Doggywood website here

Mardi Gras Fair Day, Sunday, 21 February, 10pm-8pm, Victoria Park, City Rd, Chippendale

ACON at Mardi Gras Parade 2018

ACON’s Mardi Gras Parade float will raise awareness of the three ways gay men can now choose to practice safe sex: with condoms, by using the HIV prevention drug PrEP or, if they’re HIV positive, by having an undetectable viral load (UVL) by being on treatment. The float will feature ACON’s iconic letters, followed by troupe of dancers and marchers made up of ACON staff and volunteers.

The First Australians Float, produced by ACON’s Aboriginal Project, will once again lead the parade and will feature a host of Indigenous celebrities, community figures, community members and supporters.

Mardi Gras Parade, Saturday, 3 March, 7.30pm, Oxford and Flinders Sts, Darlinghurst and Moore Park

ACON at Mardi Gras Party 2018

This year’s Mardi Gras Party is set to be one of the biggest yet, and ACON will be there to help ensure our community keep well and stay safe. We’ll be on hand with information and resources at the ACON Desk. The ACON Tradies will be handing out safe sex packs throughout the night. And, of course, ACON Rovers will be patrolling the party to provide information, support and assistance.

ACON is also supporting the Fair Play project which is a partnership between Mardi Gras, Inner City Legal Centre and ACON. There will be a strong police presence at the MG Party. Through this project we work closely with police to make sure the community is treated fairly and with respect. Fair Play volunteers provide drug law and rights info to Mardi Gras partygoers and support people who get strip searched or arrested. There will be a Fair Play tent at the entry to the party as with previous years. Find out more about Fair Play here.

Mardi Gras Party, Saturday 3 March, 10pm-late, Playbill Venues and Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

ACON at Mardi Gras Film Festival 2018

ACON is a proud partner of Queer Screen, the producers of the Mardi Gras Film Festival. This year, ACON will be co-presenting a diverse range of screenings, including:



Presented with ACON’s LOVE Project.

Mardi Gras Film Festival’s inaugural Better with Age Shorts celebrates stories of resistance, love, defiance and acceptance, showcasing the elders of the LGBTIQ community.

Saturday, 17 February, 11am, Event Cinemas George St. Details here 



Presented with ACON. 

After his father’s death, Ulysses must become “man of the house”, but clad in red high heel pumps, he is pulled in another direction. Picking up a slew of awards on the festival circuit, including Audience Award Runner Up at Tribeca, Saturday Church is a soulful exploration of self.

Wednesday, 21 February, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St. Details here


100 MEN

Presented with ACON.

Over a lifetime, Kiwi filmmaker Paul Oremland compiled a list of 100 sexual partners. What started as an informal list to remember the encounters became the launching pad for a journey through the last 40 years of LGBT history.

Friday, 23 February, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St. Details here



Presented with Here for Women. 

The movie sequel to the hit web series finds Laura and Carmilla five years after they vanquished the apocalypse and Carmilla has became a bonafide mortal human. They have settled into a cozy apartment in downtown Toronto but their domestic bliss is suddenly ruptured when Carmilla begins to show signs of “re-vamping”, while Laura has started having bizarre, ghostly dreams.

Saturday, 24 February, 11am, Event Cinemas George St. Details here 



Presented with Here for Asian Gay Men. 

This exciting showcase features the best queer short films in the Asia Pacific, as selected by the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance.

Saturday, 24 February, 12pm, Event Cinemas George St. Details here



Presented with SPARK. 

Directed by Greg Berlanti (Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, Love, Simon is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

Tuesday, 27 February, 6.30pm, Event Cinemas George St. Details here



Presented with CLAUDE. 

The Book of Gabrielle recently received the Jury Award for Best Feature and the Audience Award for Best Feature at The Bologna Lesbian Film Festival 2017. It masterfully explores the notion of art mixed with sensuality while offering insights into romance, masculinity and desire.

Tuesday, 27 February, 7.30pm, Event Cinemas George St. Details here


The Mardi Gras Film Festival, presented by Queer Screen, runs from 15 February – 1 March. For the full program, visit the Queer Screen website here



In support of ACON’s #TalkTouchTest breast cancer campaign, ACON is hosting a luscious summer picnic in Enmore Park on Sunday 11 February. All LGBTIQ women, friends and families, are welcome. Bring your kids, your dogs, your friends and a picnic lunch. There’ll be activities, performers, DJs, chillout tunes, sports and games.

Sunday, 11 February, 1pm-5pm, Enmore Park, Enmore



ACON’s Young Gay Men’s Project, SPARK, is partnering with historian Robert French to deliver another fantastic Mardi Gras Youth History Walk. The Youth History Walk is a great opportunity to learn more about the colourful past of LGBTI Sydney. Sydney’s queer history is rich; from the days of the convicts to gay liberation to now. Come explore Sydney’s vibrant and fascinating past! The history walk is a free event! Register here:

Saturday, 17 February, 10am – 1pm, Kings Cross (meet at El Alamein Fountain)



Proudly supported by ACON, CreateNSW and Inner West Council.

The theme of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative 2018 Mardi Gras Exhibition is Luscious All Sorts: LOVE WON. Curated by Kyra Kim-Sing, the cooperative and exhibition provides a safe space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ artists to express their sexual orientation and communities. Exhibition runs from 23 February – 1 April

Friday, 23 February, 6pm-9pm (Opening Night), Boomalli Aboriginal Art Gallery, 55-59 Flood St, Leichhardt



ACON’s Here for Asian Gay Men Project is proud to support The Mardi Gras International Queen 2018.

The Search the Mardi Gras International Queen is hosted by the Filipino Lesbian and Gay Community and Friends, a community based organisation representing LGBTIQ Filipino people and their friends.

Saturday, 24 February, 6.00pm, Club Marconi, Prairie Rd, Bosley Park



In celebration of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, Bingay will host a special rainbow-themed edition on Wednesday 28 February. With gay anthems, prizes and giveaways, Bingay Pride is the perfect warm-up party ahead of the world’s biggest gay pride event. $20 all games, all night with all proceeds to ACON.

Wednesday 28 February, 7.30pm, The Beresford, 354 Bourke St, Surry Hills. SOLD OUT



We’re injecting some Bingay fun at Barangaroo this Mardi Gras as part of the Colour the Streets festival!

Join us as we take over the stunning Wild Sage cafe on Thursday 1 March at 6.30pm. With lush décor, delicious food and scrumptious cocktails, it’s the perfect place for Bingay! Bring the whole team – group bookings welcome! It’s the perfect warm-up to your Mardi Gras weekend. Happy Mardi Gras! $20 all games, all night with all proceeds to ACON.

Thursday 1 March, 6.30pm, Exchange Place | 3 Sussex St, Barangaroo NSW 2000. Book Now



Through February, Mad Mex Crown St will be donating $1 from every Naked Burrito sold to ACON. Proceeds will help fund ACON’s LGBTI health and inclusion initiatives. Get your Naked Burrito from Mad Mex Crown St and support ACON.

Until February 28, Mad Mex, 241 Crown St, Darlinghurst



ACON is proud to support Telling Tales – 40 Fabulous Years of Floats, Fun, Fantasy and Fortitude.

Produced by Sydney portrait photographer Richard Hedger, Telling Tales is a book comprising 40 original portraits of members of the LGBTIQ community, captured by Hedger, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The subjects speak of what Sydney Mardi Gras means to them and how they see its role as a powerful past, present and future influence on the LGBTIQ community and beyond.

Thursday, 1 March, 6pm-9pm, East Sydney Community and Arts Centre, 34 Burton St, Darlinghurst



ACON’s Aboriginal Project is proud to support All Sorts – Blackout party at the Imperial Hotel on Saturday, 3 March. With a line-up led by a dynamic range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers, All Sort – Blackouts is set to be a fabulous celebration of diversity, pride and inclusion.

Saturday, 3 March, from 9pm, Imperial Hotel, 35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville




ACON is proud to support Rainbow on the Plains Festival in Hay. Running from March 3-4, it is the first LGBTI pride event to be held in Hay and will feature a street parade, party and picnic brunch.

3-4 March, Hay, NSW. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here

Community Surveys


The Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey is designed to improve the understanding of gay health issues by gathering data on sexual behaviour, sexual health, HIV and STI testing and drug use.

The Periodic Survey occurs once a year and is conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Kirby Institute with ACON and Positive Life NSW. The study forms a vital part of NSW’s HIV response, enabling ACON and other organisations to measure the level of risk behaviour in the community every year.

The survey will commence on Friday 17 February and will continue through to Saturday 31 March. Recruiters will be visiting LGBTI-friendly venues throughout Sydney, including Fair Day, clinics, pubs, clubs, sex venues, and gyms.



With the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras season upon us ACON is preparing once again to partner with the University of Sydney to facilitate an important community health initiative called the Sydney Women and Sexual Health (SWASH) Survey.

The SWASH Survey seeks to investigate health issues affecting same-sex attracted women, especially in relation to sexual health and alcohol and other drug use. It has been carried out every two years since 1996, and the results are used to help design important health education and health promotion campaigns for women, especially lesbians and other women in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) communities. The information also assists in advocating for work with health care providers, such as doctors and other health practitioners, in better understanding the health care needs of this population group.

The survey is aimed at women who live in Australia and are over the age of 16. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the survey so look out for us at Mardi Gras events, come say hello and contribute to helping us learn more about how we can provide better health services.



The COUNT study from the Burnet Institute will deliver HIV testing to gay and bisexual men in community settings, provide test results to consenting participants and estimate the prevalence of HIV and undiagnosed HIV infection. It will contribute significantly to reducing the number of undiagnosed HIV infections in Australia and provide strategic knowledge to guide HIV prevention programs.

The study will provide previously unavailable estimates of the proportion of gay and bisexual men living with HIV, and help us identify how many of those men are unaware that they are HIV-positive. It will also give us important insight into the characteristics of men with undiagnosed HIV infection which will be used for the development of new HIV prevention policy and programs.

Participation involves men completing the Gay Community Periodic Survey at events like Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day, they’ll simply need to provide us with a saliva sample. It’s easy, painless and quick. They can choose to participate anonymously, or to provide us with your contact details so that we can let them know the result of the HIV screening test done on the sample.



Sydney Gay Asian Men Survey 2018 research study is aiming to conduct a comprehensive assessment of HIV prevention needs among men who have sex with men of Asian background who are currently living in Sydney. This survey aims to find out Asian gay men’s HIV-related behaviours and practices, engagement with networks, communities and health services, as well as knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards HIV prevention and treatment.

This survey will be promoted both at venues and online. It has been translated from into Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.



Fair Play will be back for the fifth year at the 2018 Mardi Gras Party. Designed to help partygoers understand their legal rights and to monitor police operations, Fair Play is coordinated by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Inner City Legal Centre and ACON. As a community-based initiative, Fair Play plays an increasingly important role in raising awareness and providing information to the LGBTIQ community on a wide range of issues relating to health, safety, rights and appropriate policing practices at parties during the Mardi Gras period, particularly where police drug dog operations occur. Fair Play also provides key legal information and advice on relevant laws during the party season.

To find out more about Fair Play click here.

To register your interest to volunteer for Fair Play click here.



We are looking for more fabulous party people to join our Rover crew. Our Rovers are well known and loved amongst the LGBTI communities. Our Rovers are a team of fun loving volunteers who provide support and information at major LGBTI parties and events for party goers. Each ACON Rover is trained, supervised and equipped to help party goers enjoy themselves and party safely.

The next Rover training session are on:

  • Saturday, 10th February 2018 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Monday & Tuesday, 12 & 13 February 2018 6pm – 8.30pm 

For more info or to sign up, click here.



We are looking for volunteers wanting to give back to the community this Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras season. Become one of our safe sex ambassadors – the TRADIES – and help Mardi Gras party goers stay safe. The Tradies will be at all the major parties over the Mardi Gras season handing out safe packs, engaging with partygoers and spreading our messages. All you need to do is a 2 hour shift in our tradies gear while mingling with the crowd and handing out safe sex packs. We will train you (a couple of hours one evening in February), water you and send you out into the world over the Mardi Gras season. We can’t guarantee you will come back the same, but we can be sure you will have fun and do a really important job of helping maintain a safe sex presence for our gay brothers.

To register your interest contact: | 02 9206 2064