Friday, March 8, 2013

Sydney Mardi Gras 2013

I was actually meaning to write a post on my adventures at the Sydney Mardi Gras but now it seems more pertinent than ever.  First of all, I’m not sure if everyone has seen the video floating around the Internet of the man being arrested and from the looks of it being brutalized by the police.  I would say that all of us should be quick not to judge any video without knowing all of the facts behind it.  That being said, this looks horrible and is the worst case scenario for Sydney tourism.  I am not going to post the video here but if you are interested it just takes a quick search and you will find it. Trial by social media is not justice so I will leave that to the authorities and hope that the truth will come to light.

I think this is one of the safest big cities I have ever been.  Of course, no city is completely safe.  But my husband and I attended the Mardi Gras parade and never saw anything like what was on the video.  Only love and acceptance and I think Sydney is one of the most open, accepting cities in the world.  I see more gay male couples here than I ever have in New York City.  Plus, better weather.  No wonder they come from all over to live here.   

Now a little background.  The Sydney Mardi Gras was celebrating its 35th parade this year advocating gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer and intersex pride.  It equals the best people watching on the planet.  It is a very uplifting event that encourages everyone, it's a family event, to respect everyone else regardless of their sexual preferences.  I saw older couples, young kids, gay men, straight men, lady boys, lesbians, etc. all together enjoying the parade.  Over 10,000 participants and over 125,000 people lining the parade to watch make it the largest parade of its kind in the world!

Apparently, the young man in the video tickled a random woman and then proceeded to swear and kick at officers when he was being apprehended.  The policeman in the video took offense and put him on the ground. Of course, somebody was filming.  Today a new video has come to light showing the events leading up to the incident.  It clearly shows the kid resisting and being belligerent. 

If the policeman in question did target this young man because he was gay then he needs to be punished.  It looks to be one rogue police officer but there was at least one other incident that night.  Policemen here have to deal with seriously intoxicated people on a daily basis and I’m sure that can wear on you after time.  Hopefully, they have things in place to deal with this before it comes out in violence. It should be said that police were called in for extra patrol from all parts of the city.  The policeman in question is from the suburb of Parramatta.  Parramatta is one of the most dangerous areas of Sydney and is the most likely to have guns and violence.  Not sure if this plays a factor but I think it should be noted.

But, I will choose to remember the proud policemen that were marching in the parade instead of this incident and I hope you do too. 

There were companies, political parties, firemen, policemen, lifeguards, ambulance drivers, gay and straight allies, suicide prevention hot lines, churches, grammar schools (Yes, I'm looking at you Macquarie Grammar School. Well done!) all marching and/or dancing in the name of love.  I saw too many men that look much better than me as ladies not to mention lady boys.  Some were absolutely gorgeous!   In front of the transsexual float was a person talking into a wireless mic.  They don't identify themselves as men but don't see themselves as ladies either.  Simply fascinating to me.  It must be hard enough without people disrespecting you at every turn.  I have no idea what that would be like. 

It is too bad that this celebration will now most likely be remembered around the world for a police brutality video.  People stood in the rain to support and watch the parade and its participants.  It was an impressive sight.  I can’t wait for next year!

Hope you enjoy the pictures! It was hard to get good pictures with my phone at night. 
Here is my video to show you a little of the parade.

Dykes on Bikes kick off the parade and each have a different color headlight from the rainbow

The 78'ers!  The first marchers and organizers of the parade.

The First Australians (Aboriginal & Torres Islander peoples)

First year members of military were allowed to march in uniform.  It was impressive!

Awesome float!  They had people on gurney's being "brought to life" by the Ambulance workers/dancers

Sydney Queer Atheists win for most creative.  They celebrate the Higgs-Boson particle by each representing a particle themselves.  They all come together in the middle and boom!  They all separate and float around the parade. Clever!

That's Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore behind that flag.  Can't you tell?

Every one seemed to be having their own parties in each apartment along the route

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