As I strapped on my six inch heels, folding the strap over the heel of my foot and buckling the clasp together I was filled with a sense of sheer terror, it was Mardi Gras time in 2011 and it was going to be my first time ever and I was going in the parade. My stocking in a can was applied with vigour and as I smoothed the liquid over my freshly shaven legs a tiny bead of sweat dripped off my forehead causing a large blotch on my knee, as it dripped down causing a streaky effect I realised just how big this moment was and was I actually prepared to walk through Haymarket, across George and onto Oxford Street in full drag and march in the parade.
My blonde wig, freshly purchased glided onto my head with ease and the final touches of make-up where applied I stuck with the “less is more” rule for today knowing that most other drag queens would be over the top today, I decided to slide on a pair of sunglasses for the walk so the public could not see the sheer terror looming behind my eyes. My first steps outside the hotel and the heels where clomping along perfectly, as I “Amanded” my way down the street with my bestie in tow we where met with glares of surprise, comments of “wow they look fabulous” and mostly just not noticed. This is Sydney and it takes alot to phase people, or so I thought. . .
We arrived at Hyde Park and the terror turned to fright, what if my dress came loose? What if my wig falls off? and worst of all what if my make up runs? All these questions where buzzing through my mind, what if by some off chance my parents are watching Foxtel and they happen to turn on Arena and see me? Why was I so concerned about this? My family have never been accepting of me, as traditional christians they believe its a “sin” and a “choice” and will not believe any different. As I stood in line at our float sipping water preparing for what was to come, I thought about my family and the look of disgust on my mother’s face if she ever saw me dressed like this. As a group of shirtless water polo players walked by I had a sudden change of though, I am in my late 20’s, I have a fabulous life with amazing friends, I’m working towards a degree and career doing something I love and have a stable job to support myself. Why shouldn’t my parents be proud?
The row of floats next to us started moving (two and a half hours later!) and the excitement amongst out crowd was building, as we watched the floats go by I noticed that alot of asian countries where it is illegal and in most cases your family officially disowns you walked right by me with flamboyant costumes proudly announcing their sexuality I was humbled. Alot of focus of the parade this year was on same sex marriage, alot of people in this country feel very strongly about it and compare us to racial minorities to push the agenda, I must say I do not agree with this stance, these people are disowned by their family, cast out for being who they where born to be (no its NOT a Lady GaGa reference!) This filled me with a new sense of vigour and pride that I don’t think I have ever felt about who I am before.
It was time to get moving, the float moved up the street and as we danced, walked, strutted and paraded around the float the support from the massive crowd was amazing. I have never felt so lifted and positive in my whole life about anything. As we passed several friends who greeted us with hugs and cheered us on it was comforting to know that even though your family don’t support you, there is a greater family who do.
As our marching came to an end, I peeled the heels off of my feet, blisters and cuts all over them it dawned on me that my feet where alot like my life, I had travelled a quarter of the way with a few blisters and cuts along the way but I am still here, I have my life on track and I am proud of who I am. At the time I wanted to call my parents and reaffirm the fact that they have a proud, fabulous gay son who is not ashamed to be who he really is, a better way is to live my life by example, no prejudice and no intolerance.
The night came to an end after a long and weary walk back to our hotel, we veered around the corner, front door in sight we all breathed a sigh of relief when down the road a car skidded to a stop in front of us “F*%&ing poofters!” yelled a Lebanese voice, after a slight moment of silence as I was too weary to scream out a bitchy reply a group of lesbians sitting outside the hotel stood up came to my defense “Love you, one day you will understand!” and screams of love and support where carried out I realised that we are in an age of love, like the sixties you don’t fight ignorance with bitchiness, you fight ignorance with love and understanding.