Mardi Gras name change consultation

Mardi Gras name change consultation

Twelve months after a name change generated a significant backlash, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) will conduct community consultation about the change.

SGLMG said the move was part of a drive to allay fears about the future identity of the organisation, which emerged when the name of the parade was changed form Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to just Sydney Mardi Gras.

Despite a surge of criticism at the time, the SGLMG was adamant the name would stay until recently when it began to refer to a coming community process. This week, the board revealed a six-step consultation period to begin early next year.

SGLMG CEO Michael Rolik told the Star Observer that reverting to the former name was a possiblity.

“Yes, the process is designed to draw in comprehensive community input along the way; to have their say for or against or for something different, and importantly, also contribute input from the community as a whole as well in defining the implications, pros and cons of different options,” Rolik said.

SGLMG co-chair Peter Urmson described the process as allowing the community to express its views on the name change.

“I am happy that we can now begin the formal process of community consultation on the name change issue to allow people from our community to express their views,” Urmson said.

“Whatever your views are on the name change, you will have the chance to have your say and have the board consider your views.”

The consultation will be run by an independent consultant and begin with two community feedback sessions on January 30 and February 2 before considering feedback. However, a final decision on what to do with the information obtained would not be made until May 2013.

Mardi Gras has defended the length of time it had taken the organisation to respond to community anger over the name change.

“We’ve had to balance this along with other significant priorities such as producing the parade fundraiser Big Gay Weekend and the 2013 35th anniversary festival,” Rolik said

He insisted the community consultation would have a negligible cost as the independent consultant organising the process would be sourced on a pro bono basis.

“Costs will be negligible as we’re engaging the consultant on a pro bono basis and the consultations will take place in venues where we have existing contra arrangements in place.”

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