What do you think about Mardi Gras? (2007)

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Joined in 2007
February 11, 2007, 20:27

Praise God man.

He is mighty to save!


Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 20, 2007, 00:18

an email from a reader today is relevant to this discussion it says.

Just briefly to tell you I have just purchased your ‘new beaut book’. I have got to say it looks good….. if one should judge a

book by it’s cover. Have not read it yet, but I am chuffed to know

you valued my original email so much in response to first reading

your book, to place me at the head of the ‘quotes’! I tell many

people about the huge step I took on my journey of accepting a gay son the day I read your book. I will never forget it ….. your courageous story was both inspiring & a revelation to me. Anthony I know I have told you before….. but I just want to thank you again & again.

Hope the launch went off well & a good time was had by all. Next big event is the Mardi Gras. My son is on the committee of the Vic Presence & will be taking part in their group for the very first time. I never thought I would be keen to watch a Mardi Gras……. however if it feels right for my son I know it will be right for me to accept. I have in the past always been of the opinion that the Mardi Gras was degrading & destructive to the cause of assisting in society accepting gay people. I remember you saying what it meant to you when your daughter joined you on that special occasion at one event when you thought your family had abandoned you…… my tears flowed just reading that chapter. So Anthony I guess what I would like to ask of you if you could spare the time……. just what is the event all about to you as a gay person….. & just how do you defend the argument that holding a gay mardi gras is disgustingly destructive to your cause of acceptance in society. This is the view I know so many people hold….. & it is expressed to me so often & I find myself lost for words to defend the gay community on their behalf. The vulgarity & distasteful sexual overtones is what offends most. I would appreciate your input as it is always a valued opinion.

Take good care & keep up the good fight.

here is my response

Hi ……..its great to hear form you as always….and your wonderful worlds of encouragement. Fancy you getting a mention… are famous….i hope you are happy with that.

I really hope you like the new edition…….some of the changes are subtle…..but I have actually rewritten every page….plus so much more helpful information…..I hope. Ultimately people such as yourself will be the judges…..after all…..if the reader doesn’t get it then I’ve failed to communicate. My feeling is this is more gutsy, deeper emotionally and more informative. I’d value your honest feedback on that.

Your feeling is right about the parade. Its an opinion shared by many both in the straight and surprisingly in the gay world as well. I ask people “What do you have to judge the parade on?” Usually its the same that most Australians have to judge it on. That is……what they see in the media. Tits bums and outrageousness……but that is only actually a small portion of the parade. The majority of the parade is made up of community groups such PFLAG ACON….the list is endless but the media never shows that Janet because its not sensational. For many it is a very emotional experience……..and the media never shows that. I’ve cried watching the parade. I’ve cried going in it as well. It wasn’t the tits and bums that made me cry……it was ordinary people like me who were marching for a more noble purpose. Freedom 2 b(e) will be marching this year for the first time remember all those young people and other who have suicided in churches because they felt condemned, abandoned, rejected etc…..because they were homosexual.

I just heard two more tragic stories this week. One young Christian man jumped of a bridge in the Blue Mountains onto a highway. He spent 18 months in hospital recovering from the injuries. He is doing fine now and attends Hillsong. Even though he is not open about being gay as I am but it seems his connect group have assumed he is and has now been excluded from the groups activities. But he will be okay.

The other young man we lost. He put his head on the railway track near the Sutherland railway station. We’ll be marching for people such as that and hopefully let others see that they need not hide or feel ashamed and possibly stop some of the needless suffering. Has your son ever told you about the times he thought of possibly ending his life. Maybe he didn’t ……but if he didn’t he is fortunate as I’ve found it is common for a same sex attracted person from our Pentecostal backgrounds.

For us gay pride is very real because we spent so many years feeling ashamed. Its incredibly liberating and empowering to march and say I’m proud of who I am and I’m no longer ashamed. I know that is difficult for many heterosexuals to understand. Its easier to judge. I’m sure your son will shed more light on this when you speak to him before and after the parade.

The question you and others raise has been recently discussed in our forum.

Please feel free to contribute your thoughts if you’d like……we’d love to hear from you.

I hope some of what I’ve said helps.

Anything I need to clarify then just ask……or give me a call. I’d love to chat with you about it if that would help.


February 20, 2007, 00:49

i have been to the mardi gras once… and it was not a pleasant experience.

i was spectating and someone decided it would be funny to through a beer bottle at me and it nearly hit my head.

nothing against the mardi gras… but i cant stand all the people. all the best if you are involved!

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 20, 2007, 00:57

possibly a nasty heterosexual……hehe

but then again…..heterosexuals and homosexuals can both be stupid and unpleasant under the influence of too much alcohol. Mostly the crowd is pretty good.

Joined in 2005
February 24, 2007, 19:00

Well for those interested I have some information on Mardi Gras

Firstly = I heard a talk by the President of Mardi Gras today.

He said that the purpose of the parade was to

“Celebrate where we have come from, to talk about where we are today and to look at where we want to go in the future”

I thought that was a good encapsulation about what mardi gras is about. The GLBTIQ community taking stock and moving forward.

I’d also point out that as with most things you get the most benefit from participating.

The audience for Mardi Gras are those people who DONT realise we still experience violence, that we are still thrown out of homes by our parents, that the law still discriminates against us.

For those in our community – its worth considering volunteering (and here i would say that volunteering to help any worthwhile cause is always a great thing to do and always provide you with benefits back – whether its Mardi Gras or some other charity or community group – LGBTIQ focussed or not !)

For those that want to see the parade but dont like crowds (Which i dont – i find the crowds too overwhelming to be honest.. I prefer to be IN the parade.

However if you dont want to volunteer or to participate (and its not too late to walk with Freedom2b !) theres also the GLAMSTAND

Seating sold out this year – but consider it for next year !

BGF provide support for HIV positive people

also if you cant make it…. you can watch it on the web (although it costs about $10 AUD)

I went to a parade briefing today and learnt the following.

1) The police and mardi gras organisers work VERY closely. The police say Mardi Gras do a fantastic job at collaberation with the police. So the first thing to note.. is that everything in the parade is legal. So if something disgusts you – remember its still legal and permitted in a public place by our laws.

The police ladies comment was. Make sure you cover “those things !”

2) Mardi gras is the Largest night parade in the world

There are 6000 People Marching

There are 11000 volunteers who put it all together

The parade stretchs for almost 4 Km end to end and march up a 2 km route !

The expected audience is 350000 people !

The parade starts about 6:30 and finishes at 10:10 PM !

There are 120 groups in the parade – covering everthing from political groups (labour, dems etc) to social groups (bushwalking eyc) to religious groups (Acceptance etc) to support groups (freedom2b, clean and sober) to activist groups (rights lobby) and groups purely for glamour and glitz !

Thats amazing stuff !

Next year by the way – will be the 30th anniversary – so expect a MUCH bigger one. Normally they spend 6 months working on the parade. This year they are spending 11 months on it !

I cant tell you how affirming the parade is .. but think of all the people you have ever heard saying negative things about homosexuals – and then imagine 300000 people cheering you for being gay. That overwhelms you with positive support that cant be described but only experienced !

By they way – they do request people dont take glass – and the police will arrest people if they see them throwing bottles !


Joined in 2005
February 26, 2007, 08:51

From PFLAG in brisbane





For immediate release: Fri 23 Feb 2007



Still no reforms a year after poll found most Australians support equality.

The Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE) says next week’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a timely reminder that same-sex couples still face inequality and financial discrimination in Federal law and these laws should be fixed.

ACE also says Mardi Gras marks a year on from a landmark Newspoll showing that the Howard Government is at odds with a majority of Australians, who indicated they want the Federal Government to fix discrimination against same-sex couples.

The Newspoll survey found a majority of 52.5 per cent supported formalised recognition of same-sex couples in federal law, while 36.6 per cent opposed such reform.

ACE spokesperson Rod Swift said that same-sex couples and their families have suffered yet another year of financial and social disadvantage.

“Despite all the spectacle and mirth at next weekend’s Mardi Gras parade, it is a timely reminder that same-sex couples are still disallowed full enjoyment of the human rights that heterosexuals take for granted,” Mr Swift said.

“Last year the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission conducted an inquiry into the gross levels of discrimination faced by same-sex couples and their families, and we expect the report to detail shocking levels of unwarranted discrimination that needs fixing.”

“Mardi Gras should be a wake-up call to all Australians that the Howard Government can fix many of the inequalities by amending laws where de facto heterosexual couples are recognised to include same-sex couples too.”

“And it’s another reminder the Howard Government still hasn’t honoured its promise from 2004 to fix superannuation laws for Commonwealth public servants.”

Meanwhile, ACE has welcomed the results of a new GLBTI community survey by the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW GLRL) which has found strong support for federal law reforms, including extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

This brings NSW GLRL into line with other state lobbies on Federal law reform models.

“Lobby groups from each state now agree that there are many ways to fix the problems in recognising same-sex couples in both Federal law and under the laws of the different states and territories,” Mr Swift said.

“This can be achieved easiest by removing the bar on same-sex couples from marrying, as has been done in many other countries around the world.”

“Other options include creating civil unions recognised by both state and federal governments, or by amending de facto couple laws to cover same-sex couples and their families.”

“It’s time the states, territories and the Federal Government worked towards a common framework for recognising non-marital couples from other jurisdictions.”


Rod Swift 0417 890 111 [email protected]


Joined in 2006
February 26, 2007, 11:44

I suppose a new way to look at mardi Gras is this, its a way for people not to forget about us and the hardships we face because of an Orientation. Welcome to freedom 2b Vandemot D

Joined in 2007
February 27, 2007, 22:16

I suppose a new way to look at mardi Gras is this, its a way for people not to forget about us and the hardships we face because of an Orientation.

Substitute “not forget” to “rub ones face in it”.

Even as a gay man, I have found the parade and the rest of the nights activities offensive, as well as a number of items in the Mardi Gras festival program. It merely re-enforces the stereotypes of what a gay/bi/intersexed person is as makes life difficult for those of us who don’t live such lifestyles yet are already “pigeonholed” by others upon the discovery of ones sexual orientation.

Joined in 2006
February 28, 2007, 00:17

Its sad leatherboi that all people see is the sexual side of the parade and not the dozens of people marching on behalf of those who have suicided, died of aids or are still stuck in the closet.

We have an anzac march to commemorate the anzacs and the freedom we have because of them, (i know mardi gras is nothing like it) but, the one thing we do have in common is that we march to commemorate those who have died due to violence or suicide or disease and to display via other floats or groups that we do have other serious areas that we want to display so people can see that we are not stereotypical……….the clubbing aspect is a prominent but the other groups even if not as outlandish still make up a big and important part of the…church groups, business groups, supporting parents etc………..I have learnt to bypass what the media focus’s on and zoom into the heart of many of the groups and participants.

Joined in 2007
February 28, 2007, 01:04

Hmmm i liked the idea of both “not to forget” and “rub their face in it” the mardi gras has both… smile.

My own experience of it is just amazing to be there… it’s more of a celebration of oursleves, that we have what it takes. I was never offended by the parade because if you look closely, each person has a story to tell and it takes great guts to get out there and march. I’m not exactly that brave yet. Next year (hold me to that promise please) I will march in the Freedom2be group. This year I have too much happening around me and I’m still feeling raw from my recent church … so in spirit will be cheering you all and praying for a total experience.

I always thought it depends on individuality… I mean… Im an optimistic person and if someone piled a huge pile of horse manure I’d be excited at the prospect that there’s a pony somewhere… I never look down… always looking upwardss. With the Mardi Gras… I look up to people who are so brave to get out there and show the world. Smile. I have so much admiration.

To me, Mardi Gras is a celebration of life. It has its own magic that creates inner changes within each one of us – that in itself is a small miracle.

Good night everyone and may God protect and cover you all.


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