Being such a highpoint for the LGBT community both here in Sydney and abroad, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, [or Gay Christmas as it is now days affectionately referred to], has become the absolute high point of the year for both LGBT folk as well as the wider community in general. For one night in early March every year, Oxford St, near the heart of the city, plays host to a massive parade of ever-increasingly outrageous and ostentatious floats, as well as Parade-goers who are all outrageously clad! The thing that I love about the Mardi Gras event is that the Gay Street of Sydney, [Oxford St], turns into a lush Brazilian Carnivale-style atmosphere. People are out to have fun, revel and enjoy themselves. For me, I’ll never forget that the history of the Mardi Gras is based on hardship and fighting for our rights to be heard and considered as equal first-class citizens in our society. If you’re not aware, the origins of the Mardi gras are a far cry from the glitzy and glittery glamour and pizazz of the parade we know and love today. Rather, it began in the late 1970′s as a protest rally for LGBT rights. ‘Out of the bars and into the streets’ was the catch-cry for the inaugural protest parade that became and evolved into today’s much more colourful Mardi Gras. As someone who was lucky enough to have been raised in Sydney as a local, [and as well as someone who has such a wickedly cool dad that would round up my sister, myself and two of our cousins and take us to the parade as kids], Mardi Gras has been an ongoing almost tradition since I was little. I remember first going as a kid being so confused as to who these people were, and why they were dressed so colourfully and walking down the street so happily in speedos. Dad was always a big fan of presenting many diverse perspectives on the world. He’s a big believer in life as being a unique experience from person to person, which in hindsight is such a wonderful thing. I don’t think I know of any other father who would have taken their kids to see something like the Mardi Gras, but I’m so proud of my dad for having done so as it became something normal to us all, in a sense. The best Mardi Gras nights seem to be the ones that are left unplanned, where you simply let the night take you where it will. I always loved being in the street amongst the crowds, even if you don’t necessarily see all the pretty and perfunctorily perfect people on parade floats. It’s still a great feeling and atmosphere to be amongst, and this year was no different. For me, Mardi Gras is about being with friends both new and old, and having these friends as family. This year was no exception, as Adrian and I left home in our vintage-inspired Beach-goers outfits. We watched the parade on towers of milk crates, drank on the streets [to which we did get into a little spot of trouble by a polite police officer who told us to simply be more discreet], and danced the rest of the night away in a bright neon glow. I think the buzzwords of the night would indubitably include the terms Neon, Disco and Glow. We’re so unbelievably lucky to be living somewhere where I won’t be persecuted because of who and what I am; yes, there are many problems still with our society, but I’m so grateful that we are in a place and time where sexual identity is less and less important, as I like to say, whether you’re into boys or girls, its inconsequential, like what cheese you prefer. I like Brie, the next person might like Camembert. In the end, love is all the same, [My French cheese analogy notwithstanding], and Mardi Gras night is a grand celebration of those most hallowed and storied tenets of Bohemian life: Love, Beauty, Truth and Freedom.
Mardi Gras Fun & Frivolity!
Being such a highpoint for the LGBT community both here in Sydney and abroad, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, , has become the absolute high point of the year for both LGBT folk as well as the wider community in general.