Say something, give something

Whether you are a seasoned marcher or a parade virgin, Mardi Gras is a time of coming together for our community. LGBTIQ community members from all over the globe descend on our fair city to share in the spirit of something special.

Mardi Gras is a celebration of love, life and defiance.

This spirit of defiance is everywhere as you walk the streets of Sydney. I came home yesterday to my neighbours, a gay couple in their late 60s, playing Lady Gaga full bore, defying age stereotypes, but maybe living up to some gay ones.

On my walk home I passed teens squealing as they picked out outfits for the parade and after-party. The Oxford St bars were flowing with party boys and girls. The spirit of Mardi Gras is definitely everywhere.

Perhaps nowhere is the spirit of defiance stronger than the hearts and minds of the original protesters of 1978, from where Mardi Gras was born. Homosexuality was still illegal in NSW when they publicly marched and were arrested. The years that came after were hard-fought. Over time the movement for equal rights and recognition became louder and more organised. A decade after that original march, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) was born in 1988.

In a short, but busy, 23 years the GLRL has had victories in areas including immigration, tax, Medicare, aged care, family law, child support, police lesbian and gay liaison officers, adoption, surrogacy, age of consent, property, hospital rights, anti-vilification, and inheritance rights among other reforms.

These issues came to light because we, the community, dared to say something.  These rights were won because we dared to do something. This year the GLRL asks you to give something. Your donation will contribute to building the road towards full equality.

You can donate at our website, www.glrl.org.au

Whether you have come from the across the globe or across the road this Mardi Gras season, please give generously. No donation is too small.

We wish you a happy and safe Mardi Gras. With your help, next year’s Mardi Gras can be even better as the GLRL continues to campaign to bring us closer to full equality.

By RATHANA CHEA, NSW GLRL

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