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6 LGBTQ Events Worth Traveling for in 2017

From Miami, Florida, to Sydney, Australia, there is no shortage of LGBTQ events to choose from in 2017. Whether it's the best in music, sports, film, art or just full-on celebration you're after, as you start plotting your next getaway, here are a few travel-worthy events to put on your radar.

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival

Sydney, Australia: February 17 - March 5

Image: Parade goers celebrate during the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Parade goers celebrate during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 5, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Zak Kaczmarek / Getty Images

Sydney's renowned Mardi Gras makes the jet lag worthwhile. More than two jam-packed weeks of events include complete LGBTQ film and comedy festivals, numerous art exhibitions, scores of theater, music and dance performances, and countless parties. It all culminates in the fantastic annual Mardi Gras Parade (slated for March 4 in 2017) as it's cheered on by hundreds of thousands, followed by the incredible 12,000-strong Mardi Gras Party—to be headlined this year by Tegan and Sara.

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WorldPride Madrid

Madrid, Spain: June 23 - July 2

Image: Revelers ride a float during the Gay Pride Parade in Madrid
Revelers ride a float during the Gay Pride Parade in Madrid on July 2, 2016. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP/Getty Images

Madrid's already phenomenal annual Pride event—attended by a million and half people in 2016—kicks things up exponentially for 2017 as it becomes both the fifth-ever World Pride and the 24th continent-wide EuroPride. The colossal event will also mark a couple of big LGBTQ anniversaries for the city of Madrid: its 40th Pride and the 30th time the festivities have been centered on its main gay neighborhood of Chueca. Ten days of concerts, parties, art, sports and more (happening all around greater Madrid) will kick off with the Opening Ceremony on June 23, and will include an International Cultural Festival, a Human Rights Conference and a huge WorldPride Park, with exhibition stalls for local and global LGBTQ organizations and vendors. The climax comes on July 1, when some two million people—and associations from around the world—are expected to take part in the Madrid's biggest ever Pride Parade through the streets of the city.

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World OutGames

Miami, Florida: May 26 - June 4

LGBTQ athletes from around the world will head to Miami in late spring for the fourth edition of World OutGames—the first time they've ever been held in the United States. Athletes from more than 40 countries (including West Africa's Burkina Faso) have already registered, with more than 450 events planned in 34 sports. A three-day Human Rights Conference, always an important component of World OutGames, will focus on health and wellness, promoting inclusivity in sports, and global social justice—and will for the first time feature participation of the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (IIREHR). Some 15,000 people are expected to attend during World OutGames' full 10 days.

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Queer British Art

London, UK: April 5 - October 1

Image: Exterior of Tate Modern gallery
Exterior of Tate Modern gallery, showing the new Switch House building on the right in London. Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images

England's LGBTQ community in 2017 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality, with a multitude of big exhibitions and events planned around the country and throughout the year. London's revered Tate Museum will host a groundbreaking show of works by British artists from the century or so before decriminalization—when "lesbian," "gay," "bi," "trans" or "queer" weren't even yet cohesively identifying terms. John Singer Sargent, David Hockney, Dora Carrington and Duncan Grant are just a few of the artists who'll be represented at the Tate show. Meanwhile, up in Manchester, the People's History Museum will present a more political exhibition focusing on the period since 1967. Called Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights, this show will run from February 25 to September 3.

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Outfest

Los Angeles, California; July 6 - 16

Image: Actress Laverne Cox (L) takes a photo with a guest
Actress Laverne Cox (L) takes a photo with a guest while attending the Outfest 2016 in West Hollywood, California. Greg Doherty / Getty Images

The world's moviemaking capital hosts one of the largest and most important LGBTQ film festivals every July, the legendary Outfest. Kicking off with a gay-celeb-filled Opening Night Gala in downtown L.A., the 11-day festival showcases some of the newest, best and brightest in global gay cinema—the 2016 edition featured 162 films from 19 countries, including many world and American premieres. A number of special screenings throughout the fest take place at the iconic outdoor Ford Theatres in the Hollywood Hills, and a dizzying slate of open-to-the-public parties helps celebrate the individual films. As it all winds down, more than 15 jury and audience awards are doled out to the cream of the fest's crop.

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Milkshake Festival

Amsterdam, Netherlands: July 29 - 30

While not exclusively an LGBTQ event (it's "all about love and acceptance of all sexualities," say its promoters), Amsterdam's annual Milkshake music festival—now in its sixth year—consistently features a stellar lineup of the world's most cutting-edge queer artists, making it one of the most reliable places on the planet to experience good, gay-positive, music live. The 2017 schedule is still being finalized, but past artists have included Peaches, Mykki Blanco, Le1f, Boy George and Hercules and Love Affair, just to name a few. But it's about much more than just the music at the vibrantly festive Milkshake—the full roster of 1,100 performers in 2016 included theater acts, go-go dancers, fetish experiences and vogue and drag houses. The innovative fest even initiated a special day last year specifically for mentally disabled LGBTQ people. And as a very cool bonus for travelers who can stick around for a week, Amsterdam's famed Canal Pride Parade—wherein the floats actually float through the city's canals, to the delight of half a million people—always happens the weekend following Milkshake.

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