Meet 'Progress Shark', World Pride's unofficial mascot and queer icon

This accidental queer icon is quickly becoming Sydney's most talked about installation.

A shark statue wrapped in a Pride flag called Progress Shark, World Pride's unofficial mascot.
Image: Twitter @davemcgruther

Last week, the Australian Museum in Sydney unveiled Progress Shark in honour of WorldPride, a statue wrapped in a progress Pride flag that has become an unexpected queer obsession.

Progress Shark is part of Sydney’s Rainbow City initiative which has encouraged organisations across the Greater Sydney area to install rainbow monuments in celebration of the WorldPride festival that begins later this month.

The whole city is decked out in rainbow gear, but Progress Shark is gaining exceptional attention. Its presence has sparked a tidal wave of hilarious memes across social media, and the new installation has already become an official symbol of the festival.


While most people are delighted by Progress Shark’s presence, not everyone is a fan. One conservative politician, Mark Latham, described the unofficial mascot as “rubbish”, but people weren’t phased by his comments.

Thankfully, the critics are few and far between, and the response to the installation has been overwhelmingly positive. “As a queer person I have never connected to something so deeply as i have to progress shark,” commented one Twitter user.


At least everyone can come together in agreeing that #progressshark is a hilarious name,” tweeted someone else.

Someone also decided to improvise some lyrics, writing: “Rainbow shark doo-doo, doo-doo Rainbow shark. Progressive shark doo-doo, doo-doo progressive shark. Kweer shark doo-doo, doo-doo kweer shark.”


Due to its viral popularity, the museum decided to make it a focal point of its adults-only party, which will take place at the museum on Saturday, February 18. Guests are invited to “come and party with Progress Shark” in their Jurassic Lounge.


The event will include live DJs, comedians and drag queens, and it will recognise some LGBTQ+ scientists who have made contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


In addition to the installation of Progress Shark, the city renamed Bedford Square to be called Pride Square, painted a gorgeous mural in honour of LGBTQ+ rights activist Gilbert Baker, decorated the city with gorgeous rainbow flower displays and created a rainbow walkway that will remain a permanent feature of Coogee Beach after the festival ends.

World Pride festival is a 17-day event that lasts from February 17 until March 5, and over 500,000 people are expected to attend.


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