Photo / Destination New South Wales[/caption] Dramatic drag queens and droll drag kings. Bears (the hairy-male type), bogans and Bananas in Pyjamas. Grooving and gyrating mer-drags, macho muscle Mary’s and minx-y mistresses. Sinewy prancers, dancers, hula-hoopers and hedonists in harnesses. With such decadence and debauchery, it could only be Sydney Mardi Gras – the annual glittering gem of a pride event that showcases the diversity of Sydney’s LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) communities. Now in its 38th year, Mardi Gras marks a high point in Sydney’s social calendar and holds its own as an internationally recognised celebration of equality, passion and freedom. Borne from a rocky start, this much-loved parade originally began as a protest. Following years of hiding their sexuality, a group of around 1000 men and women took to Sydney’s inner-city streets on Saturday June 24, 1978, to march for the recognition of their rights. Despite the peaceful intentions of those who protested, the police reaction was violent, and many arrests were made.