Ten world leaders that have contributed to the marginalisation or oppression of LGBTI people will be depicted as household pests in a politically charged float at this year’s Mardi Gras parade.
Led by the Pink Flamingos, the leaders will be chased along the parade route by ‘Bigots Begone’, a mock pest control company.
“We’ve watched bigotry play out in devastating ways, from gay concentration camps in Chechnya and Trump’s military ban, to community arrests in Egypt, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan and gay propaganda laws in Russia,” he said.
“We also watched world leaders such as Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stand by as LGBTI citizens were harmed through their spineless and calculated failures to act.
“As our ’78ers demonstrated 40 years ago, we must call out these acts of institutional violence, hate, bigotry, and cowardice, and stand in solidarity with our community around the world.”
Toborek found Pink Flamingos with Kevin Hardy last year, after their ‘Force of Love’ float, which put a positive spin on Bill Leak’s homophobic cartoons.
The float won the inaugural Ron Muncaster award for Best Costume, compelling the pair register a new float for 2018.
And with this one, the pair are really hoping to make a statement.
The leaders depicted in this year’s float will hail from places such as Egypt, Australia, Uganda, the US, and Chechnya, and will be portrayed through over-sized heads.
“This year alone looks set to be an important year, here in Australia and internationally,” Toborek said.
“And [Mardi Gras’] 40th anniversary is a perfect opportunity to focus on LGBTI rights, where we have come, and what is left to do, all around the world.”
Hardy believes the pair’s float will be a hit with the crowd and media alike.
“While some of the world leaders are instantly recognisable, such as Trump with his orange skin and big tufts of yellow hair, others may not be as well-known to Australian crowds,” he said.
“That said, we have worked hard to give clues about who is who, where they are from, and what they have done to end up on our float.
“We hope to educate and entertain this year.”
While the float is currently at capacity, you can enter a waitlist if places become available.