The shriek of whistles pierces the air, dykes tease the crowd with their purring engines. A sea of happy, shiny peepaleenys. A similar spark was ignited at the party, although I’m a little foggy on details.

If it was your first Mardi Gras, odds are you’ll be back. Odds are you’re aching for that tingle in your bum — that rush of pride, joy, and inclusion — new feelings, perhaps, for queer youth. Embrace them.

A nutter in a dumbass kangaroo costume was yelling insults parade-side, but was swiftly removed. I was in toilet paralysis, as those portaloos scare me. I’m afraid if I enter one I’ll never make it back out.

We found ourselves wedged between a posse of older Bears, a snappy fashionista from Singapore, and an elderly husband and wife from Wyong, who were quite the poem in salmon. We couldn’t have asked for a more diverse mix.
For those moments, we were equals.

I was chuffed to see respect for our protesting pioneers cheerfully peppered with flagrant celebrations, all underpinned by the call for equality. The message was clear. Queer rights are human rights. All love is equal.

And so, off the back of NMG’s edict to consult with community, the parade was still a success. Mind you, I was so excited, I think a bit of wee came out.

But as the fanfare fades and the glitter settles, by no means should we take our eyes off the prize. I don’t trust that perfunctory, god-bothering Twitterbug anymore. I’m nonplussed with his ‘sauce bottles’ and calculated rhetoric. I’m no political commentator, but the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage — so what’s the problem?

Why isn’t equality a ‘shovel-ready’ policy?

And why do the loudest voices often come from those who do least? If you’re one of these disenfranchised armchair cynics, maybe ask yourself what you’ve done for your community lately. I’m always dumbfounded by the whingers who haven’t even been to Mardi Gras, much less volunteered.

And to Canberra and the kangaroo bigot, I give you this — we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it, Skippy.

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