Last night was Mardi Gras 2013. No longer (officially) the “Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras”, it was gay and lesbian none the less. As before, it was a celebration in diversity within the community, and of LGBTQI pride.
Sydney’s Mardi Gras, proudly led and supported by Clover Moore, presents one day/night a year when I feel my love and relationship is truly celebrated by the greater society, in a way that is denied to my fiancé and I throughout much of the year due to discriminatory laws and beliefs. Walking down the street hand in hand we receive smiles from our passers by, and are embraced in a way that we otherwise don’t necessarily feel.
Last night, with my arm around my gorgeous lady, I loved watching the service men and women walk proudly in uniform, seeing the PFLAG float jam packed with families, and watching two men wearing little more than leather thongs pashing on top of an equal love float. Watching the religious groups walk past proudly supporting their LGBTQI members/congregates was inspiring, as was seeing Tanya Plibersek take time out of her incredibly busy schedule to march with Rainbow Labor.
Change has been upon us for many years now. No longer is the Mardi Gras parade officially a protest march, but with political and historical references throughout, it continues to be a loud voice for the LGBTQI community to express our dissatisfaction with the inequalities present supporting exclusion, disadvantage, and marginalisation.
Will 2013’s federal election present an opportunity for gay marriage to be firmly placed on the agenda? Or are we still years away from legal rights? In reality it’s up to each of us to make our voices heard and ensure our elected officers know what we want, and support equality in Parliament.