1,400 volunteers and 8,500 parade participants are busy putting the last fabulous shimmering touches to 135 floats for 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
This year we have a respected collection of 8 gay Heroes replacing the Chief of Parade. Lily Tomlin, Peter Tatchell, Don Baxter Bev Lange, Lex Watson, Sue Wills and school girls Hannah Williams and Savannah Supski will lead the parade and encourage everyone to SAY SOMETHING.
The community contribution and impact of the Parade is what still makes it such a vital and relevant demonstration of our need for quality and recognition. Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell says “It is never just a party whilst we are still fighting for equal rights”. “Mardi Gras helped us to develop our political skills to fight HIV” added medico Don Baxter.
Ignatius Jones, the original Sydney glam/shock artist returns as Artistic Director after a 12 year hiatus. He said his role is “curatorial”, not artistically controlling, to ensure the each entry is able to maximise its message. Ignatius wants us to remember during all the fabulousness that as “Whilst we still fight for our rights we are an illegal and outcast minority”.
There are some clear themes for this year’s Parade – relationship equality and religious homophobic discrimination. However still expect a bacchanalia of sexuality, glamour, glitter and creativity that we gays are so known for.
If you can’t make the Parade, Foxtel hostess Charlotte Dawson has promised us an amped up broadcast with x-rated red button action. International guest Louie “Pineapple Dance Studio” Spence has promised us he will give us a “tight opening” and will work his trade-marked spirit fingers to the bone and is keen restyle PM Julia Gillard’s hair-don’t!
“Mardi Gras is about being proud of who I am. Seeing how wonderful we are. We can change other people’s perceptions” lisped Louie.
If you’re off to participate in the Parade, there are better facilities to make your pre-parade wait comfortable in Hyde Park – a welcome addition!
As for me... a few last sequins to sew, a little disco nap and some loving time with my gal then see you at the Parade and Party.