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Gay and lesbian Sydney

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Sydney is indisputably one of the world’s great gay cities. There’s something for everyone – whether you want to lie on a beach during the warmer months (Oct–April) or party hard year-round. Gays and lesbians are pretty much accepted, particularly in the inner-city and eastern areas. They have to be – there’s too many of them for anyone to argue.

Even if you can’t be here for Mardi Gras or the Sleaze Ball, you’ll still find the city has much to offer. Oxford Street (mostly around Taylor Square) is Sydney’s official “pink strip” of gay-frequented restaurants, coffee shops, bookshops and bars. However, the gay–straight divide in Sydney has less relevance for a new generation, perhaps as a result of Mardi Gras’ mainstream success. Several of the long-running gay venues on and around Oxford Street have closed down and many of those remaining attract older customers, as younger gays and lesbians embrace inclusiveness and party with their straight friends and peers or choose to meet new friends on the internet instead of in bars. King Street, Newtown and nearby Erskineville are centres of gay culture, while lesbian communities have carved out territory of their own in Leichhardt (known affectionately as “Dykehart”) and Marrackville.

Little of the accommodation in Sydney is gay-exclusive, but anywhere within a stone’s throw of Taylor Square will be very gay-friendly. Best bets in our accommodation listings are City Crown Motel, Governors on Fitzroy, Kirketon, Arts Hotel and the BIG hostel. Most of the cafés and restaurants in the same area have a strong gay following; for a lowdown on the gay and lesbian club scene. Weekly event listings are included in the free magazines.

If you’ve come for the sun, popular gay beaches are Tamarama, Bondi and “clothing-optional” Lady Jane, while pools of choice are Redleaf harbour pool at Double Bay and the appropriately named Andrew “Boy” Charlton pool in The Domain. The Coogee Women’s Baths, at the southern end of Coogee Beach, are popular with lesbians.

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