Animal liberationists and their friends will once again be part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade after Mardi Gras authorities approved this year’s float entry by Queer Animal Liberation NSW (QALNSW).
The announcement marks a welcome turnaround from last year’s debacle, which saw Animal Liberation NSW’s float rejected by NMG, who declared the issue of animal rights was ‘not queer enough’ for the parade, despite a long tradition of floats in the parade by the organisation.
The decision prompted widespread outrage in local and international queer and mainstream media from animal liberationists and others, who pointed out that the float participants were overwhelmingly queer, and that many other floats did not have a specifically queer message.
To its credit, NMG subsequently announced a community consultation about the parade, which has led to QALNSW’s float being approved this year.
QALNSW founder Katrina Fox praised New Mardi Gras for its willingness to engage with its critics and make changes.
“After last year’s debacle, we’re very pleased that Mardi Gras held a comprehensive public consultation and amended their guidelines for the parade to allow for inclusivity of queers who feel passionate about a cause,” Fox said.
“Mardi Gras have been really lovely and welcoming this year. The various people I’ve spoken to throughout our application process have been very helpful and genuinely happy to have us in the parade.
“It’s a much more positive experience than last year and queer animal rights advocates and their straight allies are excited and looking forward to being part of the biggest event on the global GLBTIQ calendar.”
Fox said this year’s float would highlight the plight of battery hens.
“I won’t spoil it for everyone, but I can say that our float will be very colourful and upbeat but with a serious message about the plight of battery hens,” she said.