Well were to start, what an experience, awesome, wonderful, fabulous, weird, crazy, different all words to describe our first march in the Mardi Gras. First I would like to say it was an honour and a privilege to be able to march. Since the Mardi Gras is a very special event for all LGBTI people (and everything in between) we felt very privilege and blessed that the whole LGBTI community as a whole is so accepting and welcoming of straight people into their parade. It didn't matter who we met or talked too everyone was so friendly and just having a really great time.They certainly know how to party.
You could not help but be in awe of some of the amazing costumes, the work, thought and effort that went into them. I felt very much for them wearing feathers, high heels, loads of makeup and glitter in the rain. But it certainly did not dampen anyone's spirits.
On the morning of the parade, I kind of wondered what we had got ourselves into, not nervous but just oh boy here we go. It was a wet overcast day, I'm sure we were all praying for it to fine up or at the very least stop raining for the parade. Armed with poncho's and our umbrella's hooked to our jeans we headed to the F2B meeting area. One of the Brisbane F2Ber's had bought some purple glitter and was kindly handing it around, many of us including myself opted for a small purple heart on our cheeks. We were all wearing our black F2B T/shirts specially designed for the day with "all you need is love" in white writing with a red heart on the front. We also had some different rainbow coloured bandanna's to wear however we saw fit. Another one of the Brisbane F2Ber's (who shall remain nameless) glammed up my hubby making him look fabulous with a pink sparkling hat and neck band. I have a photo of proof or is that blackmail 🙂 what a good sport, where can I post it 😛
After receiving our security passes we made our way down to Hyde Park. We were the first group in at around 4pm with a long long wait in the drizzle for the parade to start. Slowly other groups started to arrive, then things became very interesting as we walked around checking out all the other floats and participants. Hubby and I kind of felt a tad under dressed or maybe that's over dressed. Some people really go the whole hog, many had themes like the Hatter's tea party with the Queen of hearts, all the cards, white rabbit, was really amazing. Lots of glam, glitter and feather's. Our float was wonderful, lots of hearts, flowers, colours. Well done to the organising team, you did a fantastic job.
In the holding area, where all the marches waited and did the finally preparing on their floats, was a great atmosphere of joy, love, friendship, unity and one huge party. Everyone was in good spirits. Yes there were a few times when one did have to avert ones eyes as a few bare bums and the rest passed by. One of the areas that you didn't want to look to closely at was the urinals they had bought in specially, even others who had marched before thought that was a bit weird. Of course they were used, even have a photo of Ben's dad using one, well just posing for the photo but it looks real enough. Mmm another blackmail pic 🙂 There was only a few food vans in this area and no place to by coffee, that bit was a bit disappointing, lucky we did bring our own food.
The longer we waited the more the atmosphere built up and marchers were keen to get going. We could see the crowd that had gathered up Oxford street but had no idea the street was so long and that the crowd would be packed all the way along the 3km walk. All cheering, waving, smiling, yelling out words of encouragement, all there braving the weather just to cheer us all on.
This year we had 4 sets of parents there to support their children, 2 couples (well 1 1/2) had marched before, us (from Brissy) and another couple from Melbourne were real first timers. I have to thank Helen for going out of her way to make sure we were ok, introducing us to people and keeping us informed. It was awesome to meet the other parents, so great to see the open show of support, love and acceptance for their child. The parents were in the front row behind the truck holding a wet rainbow coloured flag. On the back of the truck were 3 very enthusiastic F2Ber's dancing, singing, waving, encouraging and motivating us to keep moving, waving, dancing, smiling, cheering, yelling, just be enthusiastic. They did a really awesome job. Up front was a few more F2Ber's holding the F2B banner and leading the way. We all looked pretty snazzy as a group wearing our matching shirts and a bit of colour of the bandanna's.
A big cheer went up and we were all filled with great excitement as we made our move and started the parade. As we headed down Oxford street there was a massive roar from the crowd, which kept up for the whole 3km's. Pretty hard to march, holding a flag, waving like crazy and a camera in the other hand but we did. Every time I looked across at my husband he had a big grin on his face and was waving like mad. I could hear my son hooting out at the crowd, also waving like mad with a grin from ear to ear. We had to keep changing waving arms as they would get sore. The rain helped keep us cool and did not in any way dampen anyone's spirit's in the march or in the crowd.
It was with a mixture of relief and sadness that we came to the end of the march. Relief as I was getting tired, sadness as that was it, it was all over. Our son and us looped back around to watch the rest of the parade. The rain had stopped by then and the wind had come up, drying us out but after a while also making us very cold. We became part of the crowd that was screaming, waving, getting high five's, cheering on the marcher's. At one point there was a definite change in the marching participants, lets say it became not so family friendly as we saw more bare bod bits than we had every seen before. One of the funny parts was someone marched by with a box on his head, we were all laughing at them, as he walked past my son's eyes followed him along and then he went "oh he doesn't have any pants on", was kinda funny.
The gaps between each float seemed to be getting longer and longer as they danced and did their set routines down the street. The parade hadn't quite finished but I was freezing, and in need of a hot cuppa and shower. Our son joined the rest of the F2Ber's at their after party while hubby and I made the long long walk back to our accommodation in the massive crowds of people, we had grid lock several times.
We were totally exhausted but we had an awesome time, an experience that will never be forgotten and never be replaced, it was everything we expect and more. We felt appreciate and welcomed by all the F2Ber's. It was evident that they really appreciate all the parents being there.
It would be great to have some of the other parents add to this post and share their experience.
Would we do it again yes but maybe not every year, hopefully one day we will be there will a full showing of our family with our other son and wife. Would we recommend it to other parents absolutely, would we encourage other F2Ber's to march, you better believe it. You honestly have to do it at least once.
It would also be great to hear from the son's whose parents marched this year, how was it for you to have your parents marching with you. I'm sure not only will it encourage your parents to do it again it will encourage other parents reading this post who are kinda thinking, maybe one day, they will march.
Well done everyone 🙂