The anticipation for many is at boiling point, the countdowns are rapidly approaching zero, and you can almost see all the glitter in the air. This weekend is a historic occasion, 30 years of us standing up for our rights. Which, I think is a wonderful thing. Although, you have to admit, it is an absolute abomination that 30 years on we are still fighting.

Let’s join together and make it a memorable one for the right reasons. Enjoy yourself but please don’t write yourself off into oblivion. Remember, this is the time to show the world how fabulous our community is.

The 30th anniversary of the civil protest march that ended in violence and sparked an event that has enabled many to live honestly, that has raised our profile in Australia and brings our rights – or lack thereof – to the forefront of everyone’s minds should be a proud moment.

Whatever grievances we may have with the ways New Mardi Gras operates as an organisation, we still must remember that the parade is a wonderful tool when it comes to educating people and letting them know that we will never go away until we get the rights we deserve.

Visibility is so important. Especially after the outbreaks of violence we have seen on Oxford St recently, as highlighted in this paper since August last year.

Yesterday I found out that my uncle is a 78er. This is a man whom I have known all my life and it was only yesterday that I realised he attended that fateful day.

He was 18 and told me in detail about the violence the police used to arrest these people – people who did nothing more than demand to be treated like everybody else.

This is something we have all heard but it really isn’t until you find out that someone so close to you was so badly mistreated by the police that it lights a fire in your belly.

He described in detail the atmosphere, of being pushed aside by a policeman on a horse and of the vigil by the police station. At the end of the conversation all I could say was thank you.

If my uncle, like many who dared to walk the street that night in 1978, had not been brave I would not be able to be the person I am today. Whenever you see a 78er this weekend make sure you tell them thank you – I know I will.

Many within our community live for the now and couldn’t even imagine anything lasting 30 years, but the parade has, and our struggle has lasted for even longer. Let’s remember that as we band together for one huge weekend. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, look after your mates and have a fantastic weekend.

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