Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss took centre stage at this weekend’s Mardi Gras in Sydney, as she lead the Irish contingent in the parade.
The Irish float was one of 200 at the Australian LGBT+ celebration, which was attended by over half a million people.
Panti led the float down the streets of Sydney and was joined by over 100 members of the Irish LGBT+ diaspora.
The legendary Irish drag queen spoke about what it meant to represent Ireland at the Australian event:
“I feel pride, especially since marriage equality in Ireland because people here really know about that, so there’s always a great reaction to the Irish float.”
“There’s a delicious Irish quality about our float, you see the Bondi boys with their perfectly sculpted bodies and then we come along with our fun dance routines and crazy colours.”
Panti spoke about how her striking look was a nod to both Irish and Australian culture:
“I’m going to look more like an Australian drag queen than I ever have before. Australian drags always wear really bright colours so my outfit is bright lime green, shiny like an Australian drag queen, and frills. I’m going to look very Australian.”
Irish representation at Mardi Gras was coordinated by Sydney Queer Ireland, a group that represents the Irish LGBT+ community living in the city.
A representative from the organisation Anne-Marie Crotty spoke briefly about the group’s work:
“For a lot of Irish LGBT folks so far away from home, SQI provides a space to be themselves and celebrate being Irish.”
“It’s so great to be supported by the Irish consulate in Sydney, and it’s amazing to have Panti Bliss with us.”
Owen Feeny, who serves as Sydney’s Irish Consul General, also attended the event, and spoke about the connection shared between LGBT+ communities in both Ireland and Australia:
“I think Ireland and Australia have been on a similar journey in terms of gay rights over the last couple of years, we’ve both come through public votes and I think both countries are increasingly tolerant and diverse.”
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