Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) has moved to quash conjecture it is “going straight” after it changed the name of the parade and festival to the Sydney Mardi Gras.

“The objects and policies in the organisation’s constitution have not and will not change and SGLMG remains committed to producing LGBTQI events and advancing LGBTQI interests,” Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik told the Star Observer.

“It seems the fear is that the name change signifies a content change as well. It does not. Participation in all our events — including Parade and Fair Day — remains subject to the same criteria and these remain unchanged.”

Rolik acknowledged that some people felt there had been a lack of consultation over the name change, but said it had come out of a survey of members and non-members conducted earlier this year.

“An overwhelming majority said we should call the organisation Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, rather than keep it as New Mardi Gras,” he said.

“A substantial number also suggested other names — the lead being ‘Sydney Mardi Gras’, with comments stating that it was a more inclusive and internationally recognised name, and that everyone knows it’s a queer festival.”

Feedback from SGLMG’s Youth, Women and Community Engagement committees also informed the move, as had a unanimous vote at the company’s AGM this year to include intersex people in the organisation’s constitution — meaning there were now four groups left unrecognised in the name.

Rolik said it was unfortunate that confusion over the name change had overshadowed it’s first season 2012 announcements.

Parade producer Victor Petroff and artistic director Ignatius Jones will return in 2012, while SGLMG will double funding for the production of in-house floats. Community floats will receive additional cash from the Big Gay Weekend funds.

Attendees have also been told to expect an extra-special 30th Mardi Gras Party.

“We’re promising a party like never before in the Entertainment Quarter, transforming it into a theme park — Mardigrasland,” Rolik said.

“You can expect not just a huge RHI production number from Ru Paul but also a bonus intimate show in our little Retroland and there will also be sublime and ridiculous cabaret from the amazing Dame Edna
Experience coming over from London.”

UK electronic act Chicane will close the Hordern Pavilion with a two-hour live set.

SGLMG will also resurrect the Laneway recovery party in 2012.

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