Matthew Mitcham at the ’08 Beijing Olympics

Hundreds of thousands of revellers took part in the 31st annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Australia over the weekend.

The 10,000 strong parade along Oxford Street was led by openly-gay Australian Olympic diving hero Matthew Mitcham, who was escorted by dancers wearing swimming costumes and holding up diving scorecards.

An estimated 300,000 people were said to have lined the streets to watch the parade which was themed ‘Nations United’; highlighting the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people around the world.

One of the 135 floats was a tribute to the late gay US politician, Harvey Milk, while participants ranged from a group of uniformed policemen and a contingent of lifesavers to a host of drag queens and the traditional ‘Dykes on Bikes’.

Guests at the event included US comedienne Joan Rivers and Carson Kressley, one of the hosts of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.

The Mardi Gras, which began in 1978 as a protest against police brutality against gays and lesbians, is today more of a celebration than a political event.

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