Things have changed enormously since the first Mardi Gras march was held in Sydney in 1978. Homosexuality was illegal in New South Wales until 1984, and many of the 53 protestors who were arrested lost their jobs when their pictures appeared in the newspapers. Such things are unthinkable now that lesbians and gay men are integrated into every sphere of Sydney life and Mardi Gras is a three-week long festival and the biggest dance party in the country. Oxford Street began developing as a queer district in the 1960s and today is the most visibly gay area of the city. But same-sex marriages are still not enshrined in federal law.