The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have officially announced the 2020 winner for their Lifetime Achievement Award.
Star Observer would like to say a big congratulations to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Teresa Leggett, who has spent the past 17 years volunteering for the Mardi Gras parade.
Teresa is the brains behind Mardi Gras’ annual ‘Free, Gay and Happy’ float, as well as this year’s Evolution Dancers’ ‘Gay Odyssey’ float which won ‘Best Choreography’ for its fantastic use of sci-fi themes and suspended drag queens!
The Star Observer remains firm that our float was a standout this year, but we have to concede that Leggett’s work truly shone the brightest in what is most likely Sydney’s last major celebration for 2020.
While it seems strange now to think about the thousands who once lined Oxford street, Leggett told Star Observer that winning the award is a bitter-sweet reminder of the 2020 that was, and noted that she’s honoured to feel a part of Sydney’s LGBTQI community.
“It’s pretty humbling, and I’m really overwhelmed by it all,” she said.
“I know how many legends there are in Mardi Gras, so to get this kind of award is amazing.
“I’ve always felt awkward in the mix or an outsider looking in so, all of a sudden to be invited in… I’m just like ‘are you sure?”
“There’s so many amazing community members who give up everything to do Mardi Gras and fight for the community daily. Really though, it feels like I get to hang out with my friends and have a good time.
“I know I’m a guest in the community regardless, but it’s nice to feel like I’m a part of something that’s become so much more inclusive and welcoming.”
Leggett is straight but took her husband, Michael, to his first Mardi Gras while he was coming to terms with his sexuality.
Since his coming out, Leggett has tirelessly worked with Mardi Gras to support multiple floats over the years, as well as volunteer to support the LGBTQI community.
“It’s such an old beaten up story but I took my husband to Mardi Gras. He was a police officer who really struggled with coming out,” she said.
“He thought he’d rather be dead than gay. He saw no advantage because being gay meant he lost me, our marriage, his career and his friends.
“So I dragged him to Mardi Gras and showed him that being gay is something to be celebrated.”
Star Observer would also like to congratulate Aiden O’Dea and Sarah Pearce for winning the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ awards, as well as the Filipino Lesbian and Gay COMmunity (FLAGCOM and Friends) for winning the Ron Muncaster Award for Best Costumes.
Again, Star Observer burned bright, but ya’ll burned brightest!
Star Observer would also like to take this moment to say thank you to Sydney LGBTQI community. Mardi Gras will be changed forever following the COVID-19 pandemic, so we want to thank you for making this year particularly special.
While times may be trying in isolation, we can look forward to the future for another night of glamour and grins – as well as the highly anticipated hugs and kisses!