What do you think about Mardi Gras? (2007)

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Joined in 2007
February 6, 2007, 11:41

Tell us your experiences

Joined in 2005
February 6, 2007, 13:59

I think that the ability to ask such a question shows clearly how important Mardi Gras is.

This is just my opinion and I also intend NO offence.

To understand Mardi Gras – we really need to understand its history.

“It began on June 24, 1978 as a protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. Although the organizers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. Many of the marchers were arrested. Although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1982.”

We owe a great deal to those people who marched in Mardi Gras. They were arrested. Their names were published and many lost their jobs.

Some suicided as a result. Mardi Gras has been a key component in changing this situation.

Basically – the reason this site exists and we can ask questions like is Mardi Gras good or bad – without ending up in jail (or worse – its not so long ago Gays were being lobotomised ) shows clearly why we have Mardi Gras.

No there is some debate about whether is still relevant but I think its clear that it is…..

For example the Line “In what way does my sexuality effect my employer, my neighbour, my parents etc.

This is telling in several areas.

1) I have worked in an organisation where someone was fired for being Gay. Of course thanks to the anti dscirimination laws – this person had recourse. However this event was in a well known and forward thinking organisation and happened this century.

So my point is it can matter to some employers.

Of course I’ll note that for a number of years no I have taken my partner to company events and we have both felt welcome. I dont have to leave my partner at home.

2) Parents. – My parents always wondered why i didnt married and have children. They didnt ask.. but the worry was there. Frankly this does concern the majority of parents.

When I came out, it was stressful but now my Dad has two sons and we go and visit. Most importantly they know the real me and I dont have to hide any part of my life from them. That is much healthier for them and for me.

3) You mention life partner also. Now I dont know about you but I like having my partner at work functions. I like having my partner at social events. I like having my partner at christmas, birthdays and other social events with family and friends. If I hide my sexuality – then that becomes difficult.

4) Friends. I have a large social circle. Many are straight people. My partner and I have several god children. I have recently been told I provide a POSITIVE male role model for a young straight male.

I am “just like the next person” and being accepted by those around me – with my partner is very affirming.

When I came out – only one couple in my whole social circle was anything less than supportive. Unquestionably my life and theirs are better for them knowing my partner and for us all socialising together without anything hidden.

My ability to do these things are because of Mardi Gras !

However – I do not have everything I want.

I can not make my partner my beneficiary of my super [directly]. So it DOES matter if I am gay or not.

If I am in hsopital in a coma, I can not guarantee that my partner can come and see me [without special legal preparation].

So it DOES matter if I am gay or not.

As a young person – I can explore my sexuality if I am straight at a younger age than if I am homosexual. So for the young – it can matter a great deal. What do you think it does to the self image of a young gay person arrested doing something that is legal for a straight person of the same age?

In fact – there is a lot of evidence that a great deal of behaviour that can cause self harm in the gay community is due to the continual disapproval from churches and society.

This is still happening.

If we care about our brothers and sisters – then in fact we need to fight this harm.

Whilst its valid to think there are other and maybe better ways to fight for justice and equality for LGBTIQ people – I think we as a community need to appreciate those who are actively trying to make things better for us.

I will ask this however. Do you believe that if we had stayed in our homes and not told our churches and our employees and our families. Would we have the freedoms we have today.

There are many countries still out there today where they dont have Mardi Gras and they can still be jailed for being Gay or Lesbian.

MARDIS GRAS is and has always been about making things better for US.

Its true I think that

“I believe that for those who are opposed to us, Mardi Gras actually puts more fuel on the fire”

but interestingly enough I think you give the reason why this ISNT important a bit further on.

Is it not to try and win approval from someone?

Are we arguing that we shouldnt march JUST to try to gain approval from people who disapprove ? I would say – if they approved – then we wouldn’t need to march. I dont need their approval. I actually march for MY benefit. If they dont like. Don’t watch it on TV.

I had a relative who hated gays (changed in the end – but only because I told her I was gay – in the end she told me that my parther and I made a great couple). She used to watch Mardi Gras BECAUSE it disgusted her.

There is always an off button !

I dont march in hot pink G strings. I dont need to. Ive had a [relatively] supportive set of family, friends and work colleagues. Others have had serious hurt. If marching in G strings helps them affirm themselves – then I say Good on them.

And having been to the march – I know that kind of thing is by far the minority in the parade. And I know straight people who like pink G Strings as well.

I also know that the impression given on the TV in NO way conveys the spirit or Mardis Gras.

You can’t explain the feeling – you can only experience.

There is a reason many of my straight friends take their children to see the parade.

Even better than watching it – then is to be a part of the parade. TO actually march the way those who marched before and gave their jobs and liberty so we can be free to be who God made us.

To be cheered by many 10s of thousands of people – for being Gay – is an incredibly affirming and I can say this.

Once you march you will have the self acceptance to not worry about thouse who are disgusted by us. Rather you will know that most people now accept us !

I know that one needs to be careful about experiences. I would not argue you should try drugs just to see what its like and that you shouldnt condemn them till you have tried them.

However, Mardi Gras is NOT in that category. I suggest that one should experience Mardi Gras in person before can be meaninglfully opposed or criticised. (I mean the parade of course – not the party)

Attend or march in the parade once. If you still feel the same – you at least know what you are opposing.

And if you want to march with us – we can get you a Mask. That way you can still retain your anonymity and you can help make the world better for our community

For what its worth – thats my 2c worth.

Joined in 2007
February 6, 2007, 19:13

WOW !!!!!!!

Joined in 2007
February 6, 2007, 19:15


Joined in 2007
February 6, 2007, 19:28

I don’t have anything to add

Joined in 2005
February 6, 2007, 21:58

Well long replies.

And no simple answers. However our community is very diverse and so is Mardi Gras.

There are a few groups that are overtly sexual but there are many many other groups that march.

How are they different from say – the chippendales ? I dont condemn the heterosexual community because of such a group. I suspect anyone condemns our community for a few – are often merely justifying a previous opinion.

There are MANY MANY groups that participate in parade.

There are religious groups.

There are cultural groups.

There are groups that promote abstinence from drinking and drugs.

There are lobby groups.

There are political groups.

There are lifestyle groups.

There are support groups.

There are disabled groups.

In fact according to the ABC there were 120 groups that participated last year.

Its important to realise that we have the same diversity that exists in the heterosexual community. There is plenty of promiscuity in that community. However no one condemns all Heterosexuals because of some. We are not all the same.

Its like saying all gays live in Darlinghurst or Newtown. I dont. (odds on to a london brick you dont either !)

I do find this line in your reply very interesting

“What those people did (who were arrested in their march) was a true act of freedom. And I see their march as being somthing very different to Mardi Gras. “

What those people did WAS Mardi Gras. They protested perceived injustice. Many Political Activists STILL march in the parade. It still serves the same purpose. To generate publicity for our cause of fighting for equality and to educate people that we are out there. The media might hype and show the “shocking marching boys” or a penis – but hey – how much worse than the movie american pie is a big pink penis ??

As an aside – I would also like to note that Freedom2b(e) isnt exactly a religious group – we are a support group.

Note in the FAQ

“3. FREEDOM 2 B(e) has no agenda. It is not our intention to get people to leave churches or go back to them or tell them what they should believe. That is your decision and journey. Our only intention is to provide a space for people to grow and resolve any issues they may have about their sexuality and/or their beliefs. Once again the choices are yours. “

We support those that attend church – and we support those who don’t !

I will say though, that what I believe is important (and you touched on this) is INTEGRITY.

A person must be true to themselves.

What that means to each person is something we all need to decide for ourselves.

For me personally, it means that I couldnt hide away a part of me from my friends and family.

It meant I couldnt hide even by omission without feeling like a fraud. I felt even that was destructive to me and in the end (and it wasnt easy – and it took several years) I decided I didnt want to hide it any more.

I dont go around telling people Im gay for the sake of it – and people are usually quite shocked when they find out – because I have NO dress sense and I am pretty rough around some edges (For example- my perfect holiday is hiking for 1 to 2 weeks through national parks living out of my backpack) . However if someone asks about my wife or kids, or my partner. I tell them my partner is Alan.

If they invite me and my partner to dinner, I subtly warn them its a he (i do think it could be a shock – there was the time a colleague heard Ellen and he and his wife we temporarily dumbfounded when Alan turned up – but it was a good evening)

Finding where we are free and feel like we have integrity is each our own personal journey but to me – my partner completes me and if you want me (as a friend or family or colleague – you get him too !).

The other thing I wanted to note is that I believe that we – as a member of a minority group – need to be careful of being judgemental of people that arent like us.

Not long ago society jailed us for being gay. Now we are tolerated.

By what right do we condemn those who are different ??

Some lines need to be drawn of course. However my personal lines are drawn around consenting adults.

Gay liberals and Gay labour supporters and even Gay democrats marched last year. I dont support all their values and beliefs (and I can probably safely assume you dont either – because some of theirs are mutually incompatible) I dont judge them and I dont think some shouldn’t march because they will offend those of a different political persuasion.

They are all part of our community and should be represented.

(Even if those who DONT belong to my preferred political party are wrong ! :P)

If someone wants to wear a pink gstring – i am not going to judge them.

I have not lived their life, felt their pain, experienced the violence they have (and I dont have their 6 pack abs). However just because their value system is not mine – does not mean I am threatened by them.

Jesus was NOT disgusted by the prostitutes or the Tax collectors (and a Tax collector was considered scum of the earth in those days !)

I choose to live by his example.

My deepest hope is that one day we wont have any need for the parade any more.

However what do I believe we need for that to happen.

We need to have legal equality. (Yes there are workarounds for most of the issues nowadays – but am I inferior to a straight person – that I need to get special legal arrangements made to achieve the same thing as a heterosexual couple ? I pay my taxes. I obey the same laws – and as I get older I even sit on the speed limit .)

We need to have an affirming society. When LGBTIQ youth are growing up – they need to feel valued for what they are. Not feel rejected. Not having to hide. Not even having to hide the orientation because they don’t want to disappoint family.

We need an accepting and affirming church. When LGBTIQ people show the same postive outcomes when they belong to a church as heterosexual people – and when belonging to a church is not (statistically speaking at least) damaging to them

THEN we wont need Mardi Gras.

We wont have damaged members of the community with rejection and self esteem issues.

We will just be people.

Until that happens then I believe the best we can do is say .. I am here. I am me and Im not going away. Mardi Gras is one way of doing that.

Posting on here is another. Telling your best friend is another. (I still remember telling my first friend. I was terrified. He just looked at me and said – So ? All that angst ! )

Mardi Gras is also EXTREMELY affirming.

The very first time I was in the parade. I was called over to the barricade – by an ex high school teacher of mine ( I was impressed that he recognised me in my biker leather gear I had bought JUST to wear in the parade too) He congratulated me on being in the parade. Then 500000 cheered me for being gay. I was shocked by that. I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams what it felt like to have that many people cheering me because I was gay ! For me – that alone was very healing.

However we all walk different paths !

What I will do is try to get a list of the groups that march this year or the list from last year. People are often surprised by the groups.

(To be honest – there are some that surprise me.. but hey .. im just a poor old brisbane boy just moved to sydney – evil grin)

I’ll let you into a little secret. I think there are so many groups that the march gets a bit boring.

And frankly – you dont see anything that god didnt make. (more or less)


Joined in 2007
February 6, 2007, 23:16

Yep – well you’ve just about melted down my opinion of Mardi Gras and I have to happily say that I cannot dispute anything that you have said.

Who knows why some people live, act, dress in any particular way, man, I can’t even figure out my own motives.

All I can say is that I’m glad we had this forum, if not for anyone else that reads it than for selfish old me, who needed to hear what you have said.

The thing that struck a real chord with me is that Alan completes you. That is how I am feeling about my Michael and we have only been together for what is nearly a year. He is away at the moment and I miss him so much.

There is a soul connection between two people that should not have to be disguised – it is sacred and too precious. If that is what Mardi Gras is, then I have to eat my words. And stop pretending that it wouldn’t be nice to just live a regular life without having to justify or explain.

Will that ever happen, probably not, but it sure is worth fighting/marching for. So thanks Phil.

I hope others will continue to share what Mardi Gras means to them also.

I have been touched today. 😉

Joined in 2006
February 6, 2007, 23:26

Lol phill, u can say that again, we dont see anything God didnt make ) I just dont like having it towering above my head, cant they put a massive pair of undies on it lol

What you said about the purpose of mardi gras, i wish the stations would pick up on and focus on that. (plus the great work in putting together such a massive event noticed world wide)

I know the heterosexuals r no different in regards to promiscuity, I am just thinking “what do i do?” now as a christian and attending mardi gras? but in thinking that, i personally cant see a problem marching with the freedom2b group in mardi gras (apart from toilet stops lol) since I do want to support the freedom to be gay and worship God and that not being wrong………Unless we get out there how are people going to know? word of mouth is great and being examples in our own circles great too, but marching like this we can reach so much more.

Im not bothered by the great guys that show off such great sculptured bodies nor the girls, its the simulated sex acts that get me….maybe some things just need a little tapering is all…..its just a suggestion not a nit pick.


One day i hope there wont be a need for mardi gras either to show we are accepted. (4.3.07update I hope we always have a mardi gras D its Fantabulous!)

Joined in 2007
February 7, 2007, 10:40

I just dont like having it towering above my head, cant they put a massive pair of undies on it

LMAO that’s great!

Hey guys, great topic you’ve got going on. I completely understand both sides. About this time last year I was pretty much on par with you phil(evans777). As a number of the people in the forums here have seen (they were there) I made a total 360 in opinion after visiting last years mardi gras (through total coincidence I was in Sydney just at the right time).

I put it down to this – what the media shows of Mardi Gras is just like what the media shows of Christianity – the extremes and the nasty loudmouths (okay not all the time but that’s what stands out). And somehow they conveniently avoid the message, heck, the WHOLE POINT of both.

Joined in 2005
February 8, 2007, 10:44

We all know God wrote the King James (KJV)!

(Just kidding)

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