Facebook and Instagram partner with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Australians will have access to new features launched specifically for Sydney Mardi Gras.

Facebook and Instagram Australia have announced a major partnership with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, unveiling a new national Pride campaign Share Your #FearlessStories.

Launching to celebrate LGBTQ people and support their communities on Facebook and Instagram, the campaign includes exclusive new tools for Australians to express themselves and share the spirit of Sydney Mardi Gras.

Instagram will also make its first appearance at the Parade with a show-stopping float, in partnership with Facebook, showcasing how the platforms support Australians to connect with the moments, people, and local communities they care about.

Beginning today, Australians will have access to new features launched specifically for Sydney Mardi Gras, to help everyone express themselves, celebrate their communities, and Share Your #FearlessStories.

On Facebook, a new Coming Out Life Event is now available to share these significant and ongoing moments, find support, or celebrate your pride. And because everyone’s experience is different, Facebook is making it easier to create custom Pride Life Events. From “Marched in my first Mardi Gras” to “Celebrated Australian Marriage Equality”, you can share a special moment to express yourself and inspire others with an animated rainbow flag and customisable titles.

On Instagram, the platform has partnered with Sydney Mardi Gras to identify 50 LGBTQ hashtags used by Australians, and has transformed them into rainbow hashtags throughout Sydney Mardi Gras.

From #SydneyMardiGras to #SydneyRainbowCrossing, whenever you use one of the hashtags in a feed post, it will turn a rainbow gradient, to encourage more people to discover and explore the photos and videos from people throughout the community.

In Instagram Stories, the platform will continue the rainbow versions of the Location, Hashtag, and @Mention Stickers to turn any moment into a Mardi Gras celebration.

Instagram is also sharing details to provide greater understandings into how LGBTQ communities are sharing and connecting on Facebook, with new findings showing there are over one million Australians who like at least one LGBTQ page on Facebook, and that in the last year, the size of LGBTQ groups on Facebook more than doubled in membership.

Instagram has also shared new details on how people are interacting throughout Sydney Mardi Gras on the platform, with posts about Sydney Mardi Gras receiving over six million likes throughout the 2018 season.

Instagram saw rainbow emojis spike 150% over Sydney Mardi Gras parade and party weekend, and discovered Victoria Park was the top check-in location of last year’s festival.

To amplify the 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras theme of Fearless, the platforms are highlighting the #FearlessStories of queer Australians in a new marketing campaign, which will launch this week across Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital video and out-of-home placements in Sydney and Melbourne.

Sharing empowering and inspiring stories, the campaign showcases a range of Australians from different sides of the LGBTQ community, including singer Montaigne and journalist and activist Julie McCrossin.

“LGBTQ Australians and their allies use Facebook and Instagram everyday to express themselves, share their experiences, make connections with like-minded people, fight for what they believe in, and create communities of support around their identity,” said Mia Garlick, head of policy, Facebook Australia.

“With our #FearlessStories campaign and new partnership with Sydney Mardi Gras, we’re celebrating the queer communities on Facebook and Instagram, and giving them new tools and platforms to express themselves, inspire and support one another, and share the magic of Mardi Gras.”

Facebook Australia is the broadcast partner with SBS on its Facebook Live broadcast of the Parade on Saturday 2 March. Streaming live from Oxford St, the passion and pride of Mardi Gras will be available to watch via the SBS Australia Facebook Page, the Facebook Australia page, and to audiences worldwide on the LGBTQ@Facebook Page.

A special broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will air on SBS, Sunday March 3 at 8.35pm.

While Mardi Gras may be a time of celebration for some, Facebook also recognises that many in the LGBTQ community struggle with issues of discrimination and inequality. This year, it is supporting youth mental health organisation headspace Australia in launching their new wellbeing initiative for the LGBTQ community. The headspace initiative Not Always Glitter also launches across Facebook and Instagram, with resources available on their website headspace.org.au/notalwaysglitter around self-care, expressing your gender identity and sexuality, and where to get support.

2019 Sydney Mardi Gras on Facebook

• Over 1 Million Australians are fans of at least one LGBTQ-related page on Facebook.

• Overall membership counts in LGBTQ-related groups created by Australians in 2018 has more than doubled compared to 2017.

• From 2017 to 2018 the number of LGBTQ-related events created by Australians during Sydney Mardi Gras increased by 20%.

• The number of Australians that expressed interest in an LGBTQ related event during Sydney Mardi Gras increased by 50% from 2017 to 2018.

2019 Sydney Mardi Gras on Instagram

• Instagram posts about Sydney Mardi Gras 2018 received over six million likes.

• On the night of Sydney Mardi Gras Parade 2018, rainbow emojis (the flag and the rainbow) spiked over 150%.

• Over the weekend of Sydney Mardi Gras Parade and Party 2018, there were over 30,000 uses of the rainbow emojis in Australia’s Instagram feeds.

• Victoria Park Playground is the most checked-in geotag during Mardi Gras 2018.

• The highest number of Instagram posts from Sydney Mardi Gras 2018 visitors were shared by people from the US, New Zealand, the UK, India, and Spain.

• The hearts by Rupaul’s Drag Race are Australia’s most-loved Giphy in Stories

• Australia’s most used queer sticker over the past 12 months is the eye incorporating the trans flag by artist Carra Sykes, which recognises the importance of transgender visibility.

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