Today this video appeared in my news feed on Facebook and I was compelled to watch it, the recent change to the Mardi Gras name and parade are quite concerning to me. The parade started in 1978 on Saturday the 24th of June and consisted of a few hundred brave gay men and women marching behind a small truck with music playing. The march was met with unexpected police violence and confiscated telegrams of support and the lead truck and its driver, protestors of 1500 marched up William Street to Darlinghurst Road and 53 arrests were made on this day, many of whom were beaten in their cells. Over the next few months more protests and arrests took place and the actions of the police were well publicised.
By April in 1979 the parliament of New South Wales repealed the NSW Summary Offences Act legislation that had allowed the arrests to be made and created a new Public Assemblies Act which meant that Sydneysiders no longer had to apply for a permit to have a demonstration. They simply needed to inform the police. As such that first Mardi Gras march was a major civil rights milestone beyond the gay community. It is from this that we can look at Mardis Gras being much more than a sex, drug and alcohol indulgence day and go beyond that and take it back to were it used to be historically and politically important. (Source http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-us/history/index.cfm)
Do not get me wrong dancing along side a float this year was by far the best thing I have ever done in my life and one of the most fun but to have it move beyond the dancing, the glitter and the short shorts to actually doing something about progressing towards our rights to get married, adopt children and be seen as equals in the community is what our generation needs to do to make a difference in the fight for equality. I for one am willing to stand up and fight for this along side anyone else who agrees with the cause and not stop until it happens.
Whilst we can never understand or comprehend the bravery and boldness of the Mardis Gras fathers who were openly abused and beaten for their cause we can offer them our thanks and gratitude and carry on the tradition of fighting for equal rights which would mean a lot more than covering ourselves in fake tan and dancing in a cage on a truck full of lights. As a generation we are seen as the “party” generation who do that and nothing else, is this how we want to be known, or do we want to fight for equal rights, for gay marriage and a no hate society where the choice of marrying your partner regardless of gender is accepted and celebrated as all marriages should be.