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O utsiders consider Sydney to be something of a queer mecca: a city that hosts wildly popular events such as the annual Mardi Gras parade , celebrates exhibitionism on dozens of packed beaches, and charms visitors of all stripes with progressive culture and laid-back locals.
In many respects, it is one of the best places in the world to be queer, boasting a proud history, a vibrant alternative arts movement, and strong legal protections for minorities. Same-sex marriage is apparently just around the corner. Many Newtown residents say they now feel less comfortable in the area — and a recent, highly-publicised assault on a transgender woman at a Newtown venue has compounded their unease. As a result, queer culture in Sydney is dispersing and heading underground.
Venue operators are seeking spaces in emerging precincts such as Marrickville and Redfern, and some promoters have adopted a nomadic stance, moving their events from club to club as the situation evolves.
The queer arts scene is strong, with many young practitioners embracing a DIY ethos in response to the uncertainty local community radio remains a lifeline for those looking to hook in to the arts scene. By Patrick Abboud , a documentary filmmaker and television presenter who co-hosts and produces for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. I tend to go to places that celebrate that diversity more, such as Tokyo Sing Song. The parties at Tokyo Sing Song change frequently but the venue is consistently interesting.
The Bearded Tit is a fantastic bar that also doubles as a creative space. The incredible interior is worth the visit alone: tapestry, taxidermy and wax-fruit-clad walls lead you to an old caravan out the back in the beer garden. Of the mainstream options, a couple stand out. Palms on Oxford Street is the best place to go for super-fantastic pop every Friday and Saturday night.