M is for:
Marching The Mardi Gras parade famously began as a pretty crap night out, with many participants bashed up and thrown in jail. In the 27 years since, the parade has had many highs and lows, moments of joy and plenty of flashes of absolute brilliance.
It’s also provided the more political members of the community a platform to be heard and seen. This year’s parade day will also mark a political milestone for our prime minister, who was -“ as some in the gay community vividly remember -“ first elected 10 years ago on another Mardi Gras parade day.
Punters who were at the party 10 years ago remember a feeling of general sadness, with the occasional burst of joy from inner-western residents who had campaigned against aircraft noise. Ten years on, the prime minister shows no signs of going anywhere.
Watch out for the several entrants in this year’s parade who are planning to mark Howard’s anniversary in different, special ways.
Mature Age Gays In the old song There’ll Be Some Changes Made, there’s a line which claims, Nobody wants you when you’re old and grey.
The Mature Age Gays (MAG) community group, however, have made it their purpose to argue with every word of that line and do everything to extinguish the attitude that, once gay men get beyond the age of 40, it is all over in this youth-obsessed and beauty-focused culture we live in.
MAG is celebrating its 15th year with the proud boast it is now the largest gay organisation in Australia. While some in this iconic group are in their 20s and 30s, the majority of MAG’s large membership is aged between 50 and 80 and meet twice every month at a variety of meetings, social functions, parties, harbour cruises, speaker nights and trips away, not to mention an annual float in the Mardi Gras.
But it is not all patio parties and high-camp high teas for this active mob. They also offer all levels of support to many aged members of the community, as well as care for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Spreading the message of safe sex is also high on their agenda, as is the push for civil rights for all gay people.
At the cracking pace MAG sets, it can’t be long before a new light and higher value is placed upon our mature citizens in this ever-changing community.