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 Although the organizers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police.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.