I am a big supporter of Mardi Gras. I think big parties such as the Mardi Gras party and Sleaze Ball are a chance not only for us to let our hair down but also to give many different members of our community a sense of belonging.

This brings me to my point. I heard a rumour around the traps that there will not be any volunteer dancers in any of the shows at Sleaze this year. When I heard this I was truly gob-smacked and I really hope this isn’t true. Being an entertainer, I appreciate the feeling of standing on a Sleaze or Mardi Gras stage. You can take as many drugs as you like, but that feeling really can’t be gotten from any drug you buy.

Many moons ago, in the time I like to call my wilderness years, my flatmate, a butch-ish train guard who had never performed at all, decided to audition for the Marcia Hines show. I remember his excitement and fear of auditions. The mass of other hopefuls were all nervously crowding around the walls of the Newtown Performing Arts school. We met gay boys and gay girls from all over Sydney, the majority of them auditioning just to do something they would normally never have a chance to do.

After they were taught a quick routine, the room was buzzing with energy and beaming smiles. I sat at the back with a huge sense of community -“ everyone was there to be fabulous and even at an early morning audition everyone was fabulous.

My flatmate ended up getting into the show as did all of his newfound friends and, for the next week or two, he lived and breathed that show, coming home and showing us all in the lounge room what he had learnt.

As it was the last show of the evening, it took all my strength to stay upright for his performance, but sore feet were all forgotten when the huge volunteer cast stepped on stage. To be honest it was fucking unreal -“ every face showed us what being proud of who you are is all about. My flatmate had the time of his life. Granted in one section the cast all bent down and he stood up -“ oops! -“ but he will remember the experience for the rest of his life.

So I really do hope the rumours are not true, as I am looking forward to seeing those smiling faces once again.

I wish everyone a safe Sleaze Ball.

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