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Gay life in Sydney
A photographic commentary on Oxford Street, the city's traditionally gay ghetto
Sydney is a gay city. Long before global attention, the traditional gay ghettos of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills were a sub-cultural hot bed of transsexuals, drag queens and boys partying all night. The gay movement is foundational to much of Sydney's clubbing, culture and style.
The late summer Mardi Gras, when 8,000 parade in front of hundreds of thousands, is still the gay community's euphoric night of nights.
But the gay scene thrives all year around the inner city. A gay way to dress, talk and walk still goes hand-in-hand with urban perceptions of cool. Beautiful people and those striving for attention fill funky cafés and retro shops during the day.
As night falls, the wild side of Oxford Street surfaces on sidewalks where an eclectic mix of bars, nightclubs and restaurants comes to life. These days, homosexual and heterosexual alike flock to the thoroughfare for a night on the town. The pink strip buzzing with reckless, loose abandon.
Drag queens parade in all their glory. They are minor celebrities in their own community and known by their flamboyant names and extravagant fashion. Community permeates from these divas.
Clubs like Nevermind, The Midnite Shift and Arq trail down Oxford Street. Queues of mostly slim, young, fashion-conscious gay men flow from doorways. Burly bouncers wrestle their own piece. Single straight females skip onto dance floors knowing they’ll dance uninterrupted. The gay club scene thrives in all its glory.
When the sun comes up, the seedy side of Oxford Street is there for all to see for just an instant. The street sweeper washes away the night's refuse. Then the cafés open. Couples hold hands and mingle over newspapers and coffee. Fresh smells and sounds wash over the sidewalk, and another day in Sydney starts anew.