Former Mardi Gras festival director Rodney Thorpe passed away last Sunday in Lismore, aged 49. Thorpe and Tony Crewes were co-convenors of one of the first properly organised Mardi Gras festivals in 1985. The unique experience we gain from participation in the Mardi Gras parade has encouraged us to organise the Mardi Gras festival. We want to see gay pride become more than a one-day affair, they said in a statement at the time. Thorpe was also a founding member of the Victorian GayLib group in the 1970s, the organiser of one of the first public gay and lesbian marches in Melbourne, a founding shareholder of Sydney Star Observer and also its first advertising manager. He was inducted into the Mardi Gras Hall of Fame in 1999, and is survived by his partner, Bill Trott. SSOnet will feature more on Rodney Thorpe next week.

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