Flaws in name change process acknowledged

Flaws in name change process acknowledged

The consensus among opponents and supporters of the Sydney Mardi Gras’ name change at today’s information and feedback session was that Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) should have consulted more explicitly with members about their intentions before making the changes – something the organisation has now acknowledged.

There was also talk among the fifty or so people who attended of members organising an Extraordinary General Meeting to put the name change to a vote – though the general feeling was that it would be counterproductive to do this before the 2012 Sydney Mardi Gras Festival with preparations for the event in full swing.

“We have got a season to produce,” SGLMG CEO Michael Rolik told the room, “We’re a volunteer organisation with a staff of six people.”

“We have the party to produce and the parade. Its just not possible to [hold an EGM before the festival] – we’re a plane that’s leaving the runway. In doing that there would be a risk to the quality and execution of the event.”

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras chair Peter Urmson told the room that the board accepted in retrospect that it should have given members more information about the changes they had been planning, and would not launch such a major change in future without more explicit consultation and information going to members.

Urmson also committed the organisation to holding further consultation on the name change and alternative options before the start of the 2012 festival season.

“I will commit that we will put a process in place and explore those options in the new year … prior to season,” Urmson told the room.

Opponents of the name change cited concerns that the gay and lesbian focus of the parade would no longer be mentioned by foreign news media covering the parade and that without “gay and lesbian” the name there would be little to distinguish it from other major parades and carnivals around the world.

However some opponents of the name Sydney Mardi Gras did accept the need for a name which was more inclusive of transgender, bisexual, intersex, label free and queer identifying people, but said they wanted a name that explicitly labelled the event as non-heterosexual/heteronormative in nature.

Board member Damon Hartley said the board had spent three months looking at alternative names before determining that Sydney Mardi Gras would be the most practical for use for the festival in combination with using the business name Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the entity that stages the event.

But he said the board would welcome hearing any suggestions if people believed they had thought of a better one.

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12 responses to “Flaws in name change process acknowledged”

  1. Quite frankly what is is called does not matter if they do not get it right. Take the parade for example. In Rio and New Orleans those famous so called “straight” parades are inundated with GLBTI whatever,in them being colourful and making a statement with wit and humour. The Mardi Gras parades used to be like that a very, very long time ago and now they have become mainstream and dull. How long will it be before they are like that terrible one the Government spent a fortune on for the millenium or whatever it was?

  2. i was never a fan of gay and lesbian mardi gras for the same reason that i am opposed to the term gay and lesbian to refer to any event or service that is supposed to be oriented to/reflective of the queer community. it’s very disinclusive and isn’t reflective of the diversity of the queer community. and to do as darren says seems like tacking the rest of the community on at the end as in- “oh yeah and the rest of you people… ” lgbt doesn’t do it either. you can add as many letters to the alphabet and it’ll still be incomplete. and sydney mardi gras is not reflective of the history or nature of the event as a queer cultural and (at times) political event.

  3. hi John

    how exactly is “Our separation and “exclusivity” is ironically what is also holding us back in many respects”?

    The Sygney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an open, public event (party tickets for eg available to the public). The naming nominates who is hosting the vent and ‘owns’ it. Why would this hold us back?


  4. How about the name become ‘Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ with written underneath in smaller but clearly visible writing ‘for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex communities’?

    This overcomes the problem of including other groupings without dramatically reducing the visibility of the gay and lesbian community, who after all have put it on all these years with a central motivation of increasing their visibility in order to combat homophobia. Reducing homophobia is something that Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex people all benefit from. It’s this common purpose of reducing prejudice by increasing visibility that led to the various additions to the groups the event involves. How does having none of them mentioned in the name help with the visibility of any of them ?

  5. I look forward to the day when Mardi Gras can drop the GLBTI tag and everyone can just come along and be themselves without needing to identify to a specific section of the community. Our separation and “exclusivity” is ironically what is also holding us back in many respects.

  6. I have a name suggestion for the board: “The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras”

    I am not interested in ‘practical’ i am interested in visibility, and an explicitly non heterosexual event


  7. There is nothing to discuss. This is the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Furthermore, I challenge each board member to declare their sexuality and what membership of or allegiance to any political party they have or may have.

  8. Who gives a sh*t, we cancelled the christnas parade, but give money to have gays and lezos marching. Stuff that. CBD FLAGS say happy xmas, its MERRY XMAS CLOVER….

  9. Were you taking the piss referring to inclusiveness of “transgender, bisexual, intersex, label-free and queer”

    Inclusiveness of the label-free??

    So now we have a name that says nothing to cover everything.

  10. first of all they had a big brouhaha, then they apologized and forgave each other….all that is now needed is some hot and steamy, make up sex.