Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

In pictures: Gay Mardi Gras in Sydney

Participants assemble for the start of the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

Thousands of people have taken part in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney - one of the world's largest and most flamboyant gay pride events.

"Dykes on Bikes" in Sydney

The so-called "Dykes on Bikes" kicked off the procession on Oxford Street - in the heart of the Australian city.

A Thai drag queen in a peacock costume

Participants in elaborate costumes danced to the cheers of revellers from around the world.

Participants in nurse costumes in Sydney

Nurses, firefighters, bankers and many other professions were represented at the colourful event...

Revellers in Catholic bishop costumes at the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney

...some chose to wear costumes of Catholic priests, drawing smiles and applause from other participants.

A Pakistani lesbian (left) and an Indian transvestite in Sydney

This year's theme was "Nations United" - a tribute to gays around the world, particularly in those countries where they cannot live openly.

Parade-goers kiss in Sydney

The parade, which began as a protest march for equal rights for gays in 1978, now draws thousands of people from around the world.

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