Another Sydney Mardi Gras has just wrapped up. News Editor Levi Joule was there and files this report from Sydney.
The Mardi Gras parade down Sydney’s Oxford Street – There is nothing in the world quite like it. The glitz, the sparkle, the raunchiness, the powerful message of equality, all combining to make Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade the most fun, yet powerful celebration of pride in the world.
Sydney embraces it’s annual celebration of GLBT pride like no other city in the world. Official figures are yet to come in but an estimated 200,000 people attended the parade alone.
There was a grand total of 145 floats, with a wide array of messages from ending HIV globally to the ‘Bogan Gay’ float dedicated to eliminating homophobia in Sydney’s western suburbs with the message that “Homophobia is for poofs, harden the fuck up Australia’
The theme for the 37th year of Mardi Gras was ‘Passion’ and that’s exactly what the participants brought to the Parade. Members of the GLBT community and their supporters from all over the world came together in a flurry of colour and pandemonium to celebrate and champion equal rights.
Reflecting on last night’s parade, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik said “The combined efforts of everyone involved delivered a real stand out Parade. The attention to detail and enthusiasm of all the parade participants ensured there was a sea of smiling faces from the crowd.”
“We also had a first for Mardi Gras! Three of Australia’s highest ranking officials walked the Parade route with the Australian Defence Forces float. Their involvement has helped spread the message of acceptance, equality and support throughout the armed forces and the entire Australian community”
2015’s Mardi Gras was, as it always is, an inclusive event. Politics and personal grievances amongst fellow community members was put aside. There was no booing of participants, no protests or interruptions. All were welcomed and all things gay were celebrated.
Mardi Gras does raunchy and fun well. But there was also a number of serious messages which were given prominence this year. Homophobia in sports has been identified as one of the last big bastions of discrimination that needs to be tackled and there were a number of floats ranging from the AFL to the Canterbury Bankstown rugby league team highlighting a GLBT sports inclusive message.
Marriage equality was again a key theme. Sadly, the political landscape means that next year the same floats will be back asking again for a right that should have been granted years ago.
Perhaps that is the key take away from 2015’s Mardi Gras. While it’s great to celebrate gay pride and mark the achievements made so far, Mardi Gras is also a reminder that there is still so much left to do for Australia’s GLBT community.
Article | Levi Joule. Photo | Hamid Mousa