Nearly 40 years on from Mardi Gras’s first march in June 1978 – which ended in 53 arrests, fights with law enforcement and public outings; and the names and addresses of pioneering marchers being published by the Sydney Morning Herald – the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) are celebrating the anniversary and advances made with its Queer Thinking program.

Over a weekend, SGLMG are bringing an intellectual tour de force to Carriageworks for two days of discussions, debates and ideas. The focus will be on social justice as more than thirty speakers contribute to seven panel discussions on issues faced by the LGBTQI community. Guests will include media personalities Julie McCrossin and Nell Schofield, screenwriter Philippe Mangeot, artists, academics and activists, including 78ers who participated in the first Mardi Gras.

Queer Thinking is looking to the future, and will broach the issues to be tackled next; from the acceptance of queer Muslims and refugees, to continuing advances in feminism.

“This year’s Queer Thinking covers a range of relevant and important topics from the radical beginnings of Mardi Gras through to the experiences of queer First Peoples and trans stories, to the AIDS crisis, feminism and sex-positivity,” says Mardi Gras creative director Greg Clarke.

Queer Thinking happens on Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 February at Carriageworks. You can find out more about the event here.

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