Everybody loves a parade...


I find the Mardi Gras parade cringe worthy. I hear from people "It's moved on. It's no longer a protest, it's a celebration!" A celebration of what? What the hell are we celebrating here? Oh, we've come so far. Yes, but I think the right to wear Lycra, sequins and feathers while wandering up the street behind a corporate logo somehow puts the parade in the bastardization category. There were community and support groups in the parade, but I think they were the ones squashed between the Virgin and Foxtel floats... and then we have the cliche groups. None of whom I really identify with. But I'm supposed to aren't I? I'm one of them, quick, pop me into that box.

Years ago, and really I'm not talking too long ago, the parade had satire and wit. It had fun. If you were watching on the sidewalk, standing on your plastic milk crate, you would crane your neck to see what the people down the street just let out a laugh and cheer for. What was coming next and who were they having a dig at? Who was going to cop a ribbing as the community made their point? The "We've got something to say!" has gone.

Maybe I'm becoming a cynical man. But can anybody tell me what the Mardi Gras parade was about this year? No, not the "theme", but what it was REALLY all about? I doubt it. Oh, hang on, someone over there in the corner just shouted out "it's about the dollar, and we've sold out to anyone who'll toss us a coin".

Now, before I come across as a bitter man, I have to say that I think Mardi Gras is a fantastic festival - as a whole... and I don't want to rain on the parade of those who got into it. I guess put simply, the parade, well, it's just not my thing... I don't think the parade represents me... Maybe next year I'll put together a float for men and women who would just like to wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, not get naked and not be identifiable as a subculture. We could carry a couple of signs that say "Hey look, we are not freaks, we actually are your daughters, sons, sisters and brothers. We are not a separate cliche. We aren't a mob of sexual deviants. We just are."

But then, even "The Gays" like to discriminate if you don't belong to a group so I doubt a float like mine would ever be permitted to march... oh, unless we had a major sponsor.


kookyknut said...

One day I want to start the "Queers with Beer" float (sponsored by Coopers, of course).

I can't really comment on your thoughts of the parade this year as I didn't see it.

Jonny the Village Person said...

Mr Muzbot! Don't you know the rule of blogging on come downTueday?

OK. The corporate floats are a bit irksome, indeed. Sequins are a threat to masculinity too.

But there are a load of real community groups who take part in the parade. Many cultural groups are making a brave stand in publicly marching.

We dont have full equality under the law. AIDS isn't over. There is still violence towards our community.

People come from around the world to celebrate freedom of sexuality we have in this great city.

9000 people marched this year. At least give them a round of applause for nerve.

Living in inner city Sydney, being male, white, healthy, handsome, employed, with a loving family puts you way ahead of others less fortunate.

9000 people marched in the parade this year. Give them a round of applause for nerve.

Highlighting the problems puts you on the sidelines with Fred Nile and George Pell. Offer up some solutions. You're a creative gay after all! Your gays need you.

Muzbot said...

Kooky: I'll mach in the beer float with you.

Jonny: Yay for those Foxtel workers who marched holding up pictures of gay celebrities. They have done us proud. "I work with a gay too!"

I totally agree that there is more to do, but that wasn't the message or vibe I took away from this year's parade, which I think is a shame.

Anonymous said...

I got the shine a laser into building along Oxford St and Flinders St that read "to equality and beyond", that was enough incentive for me to take part this year.


The Mutant said...

I wasn't at the parade this year, nor any year previous, nor will I be at any coming up that I know of - so I may not be qualified to comment.

But I'm with you for the idea of your float. I wear jeans and T-shirts, to work and at home. My Husbear and I go out for dinner sometimes, to shopping centres sometimes, stay at home some times, read the Sunday paper sometimes, take the dog to the park sometimes, and do stuff that's just plain normal most of the time.

As such, maybe it'd be nice to celebrate the fact that we are who we are. Isn't that waht the parade is all about anyway. Sure, I want to see every drag queen, every leather daddy, every diesel dike and everything else in between - because that is who we are.

Some of us though, well, we're just us aren't we? Lets celebrate that too.

Adaptive Radiation said...

I like the pride march here in Melbourne. It is nowhere near as showy, spectacular or flamboyant as the Sydney mardi gras but is definitely a lot more community focussed.

Monty said...

Hmmm, interesting post! You know, I would've been with you however having taken part in this year's parade, I must say my piece. I was in the Cycle NSW float - people who cycle and are gay. We weren't cut and hot, we were pretty much regular people in bike pants and singlets. I never thought I'd ever be in the parade, but having done it, I must say it was an amazing experience. It was my little public outing of myself - there was no hiding, it was me and I'm gay! Yes, there are lots of hot boys on commercial floats, but hey, who cares! What's wrong with having some sponsorship??? I think it's great that there are some major companies out there who are willing to be identified with the gay community. It might be not so much of a protest anymore, but you know, I think that it's a good thing that there is less to protest about and more to celebrate!

mykel said...

i didn't go in or watch the parade this year and for very similar reasons you bring up.

i appreciate that companies are willing to sponsor mardi gras but lets face it its hardly altruistic.

mardi gras is big business, and it is still a protest but i think the message of the protest gets drowned out.

i would definately go on a float like the one you suggest.

i've marched many times; sometimes with the larger glitzy crew and more times with the sub sub groups who still struggle to maintain a voice and are too easily overlooked within the hype: and the reality is the the best times i've had have been with the sub sub groups because the reactions from the crowd are fantastic.