A different Pride march
I stayed on at Sleaze Ball for 55 minutes.
Why, you may ask. Well, for me it was an unimpressive party that felt more like a rehashed, low-end corporate costume party than a celebration of gay and lesbian diversity and culture.
I may well be in the minority -“ I don’t know -“ but I didn’t feel like I belonged in the crowd.
In my opinion Mardi Gras as we know it should be taken off life support and allowed to drift off into the night sky.
I have seen and worked on a number of events for both the old organisation and the new over the last decade and for me it is time to let the curtain fall and perhaps change the scenery.
Let’s look at the finances first. Imagine having more than $1 million worth of sponsorship, contra deals, ticketing, staff wages, membership fees and volunteer time being fed back into a community organisation that actually did something for the community other than stage two parties and a parade each year.
Imagine the benefits an organisation like the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation or Twenty10 could reap from this level of financial and corporate support.
The possibilities of community opportunities are endless.
But more importantly, think about this.
It is a hot sunny afternoon; there are 20,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and heterosexual people lining up at Martin Place.
On the other side of the barricades people are cheering and throwing streamers -“ holding placards demanding equal rights for people of all sexual orientations.
This is a Pride march -“ something our city sorely needs.
The Pride March would not start in our long-lost Golden Mile, but rather in the heart of our city. It would proceed past Town Hall where Sydney’s VIPs are seated.
By this time the head of the march has reached Tumbalong Park at Darling Harbour, where the crowd selects a patch of grass, grabs a bite to eat or drink from the stalls, sits down and watches a concert-cum-dance party that highlights some of the best gay and lesbian talent around. It comes to an end and everyone drifts off to enjoy a great evening of fun and friendship -“ having already made their point.
The best thing about this kind of Pride March is that it wouldn’t cost us a small fortune for a ticket to cover the cost of sound systems, light shows and expensive entertainment.
We would march as a single entity demanding the same things from the government of the day, a united voice that could not be ignored.
It is time for Mardi Gras to come back to its demonstration roots for without this the community will continue to struggle to fight for equality and recognition without unity.
It is time we stopped getting stunned by the refracted light on the disco ball and started making a difference again.
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