David Puppet Sebastian Belasic

Mardi Gras is something my friend affectionately calls the ‘Gay Christmas’. It’s a time to gather with my ‘other’ family and celebrate who we are. Instead of a traditional dinner, we have our party and parade.

Of course you don’t get the good without the bad, and this is as true for events like Mardi Gras as it is for Christmas. Events that bring people together spike the emotions. Both the positive and negative feelings heighten with the season, and this is something my friends and I know well.

When speaking to a friend recently, I was privy to some of the hurt that can come with Mardi Gras. He and his longstanding partner were in a fix. They were an outgoing couple who enjoyed a night on the scene.

Underneath the surface things were not so great. The words ‘potential breakup’ had been used more than once in private conversation.

For my friend, going to a party like Mardi Gras felt dishonest at best, or potentially a painful mess at worst.

While I don’t share the misfortunes of my friend, my own ordeal is very much a part of the season. For the past five years I have received a call from my father on the eve of the parade. Never a long call, he’ll ask questions about where I am, what I’m doing and give words or warning about the evils of Oxford St.

He is unaccepting of homosexuality. He even finds the word difficult to say if not in a derogatory way.

While my friend and I are in different situations neither of us is willing to sacrifice our need for togetherness and fun to the lingering hurt and sadness.

In fact, I tend to think it’s being with friends that is just the remedy required to get past these situations. It works a lot better than mulling over it alone, or drinking for distraction, and maybe even makes it that little bit sweeter.

We are going to enjoy our gay Christmas this year. Happy Mardi Gras.

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