The theme of this year’s Mardi Gras is fittingly ‘The Road to Equality’, a reference to Australia’s historic legalisation of same-sex marriage in December 2017.
Last year over 80 SQI (Sydney Queer Irish) members took part in the parade, which was led by Panti, appearing alongside a float designed to look like Claddagh ring.
The group, founded in 2010 with the aim of supporting the queer Irish community in Sydney and NSW increasing visibility at Mardi Gras, describes itself as an inclusive community group for Irish people “residing or passing thru[sic] Sydney who identify as Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bi or just left of centre”.
Irishman Rob Hynes, one of many who made the journey from Dublin to Sydney to march with SQI told GCN that marching with the group is “amazing”.
“It feels amazing to march with the Sydney Irish. Every year I’m welcomed back and make heaps of new mates.The buzz is electric,” said Hynes. “The celebration tomorrow will be insane. After 40 years everyone is finally equal!”
“Being here personally means that I can reconnect with old friends and celebrate who I am I the sunshine under a disco ball with Kylie blasting in my ears.”
Australia became the 25th country to recognise same-sex marriage last year, and only the second to do so following public vote (in the form a postal survey).
Speaking after the Australian parliament passed its marriage equality bill – following the costly and enormous postal survey to gauge citizen’s opinions of same-sex marriage – opposition leader Bill Shorten said: “I say to LGBTQI Australians in particular, you have given us a gift.”
“This parliament when we passed marriage equality law is not a gift from us to LGBTQI Australians, equality is never a gift to be given, equality is an inalienable birthright of every Australian and this equality is long overdue.”
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade takes place tomorrow, March 3, 7-11pm.
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