The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the world’s most joyous and spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride. It’s the one time a year that the city of Sydney comes alive with sequins, glitter and of course a whole lotta sass! While the actual parade falls on Saturday March 6th, the lead up to the parade has a jam-packed itinerary of events and must-see and do to celebrate all things LGBTQI.
While we’re busy here painting the town rainbow, there is one Stella team member who is pretty gutted to be stuck in the UK and missing this year’s Mardi Gras and that is our own CEO Sam White. We asked Sam what Mardi Gras means to her. Check it out below.
“As a gay woman, Mardi Gras worldwide and the celebration of LGBTQI is something I feel deeply connected to. I’m very aware of the privilege I have to be born in a time, and a country, where I’m able to live the life that brings me the most happiness and contentment with no judgement or restrictions. I’m also painfully aware that that’s still not the case for many people in other parts of the world.
As the American activist Barbara Gittings so eloquently put it: “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.” – events like the Sydney Mardi Gras perfectly embody the spirit and serve as a very important reminder to us all that love is love.
For me personally, the Sydney Mardi Gras holds a rather special place in my heart however. In 2016 having just recently gone through a rather painful divorce, I came to Australia to explore the business landscape, but if I’m being honest, also to heal a little. I found myself at the Sydney Mardi Gras, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt such warmth and love in one environment. I truly felt at home and this feeling has stayed with me. I made friends on that trip that have survived many things, most notably the challenge of extended separation that COVID-19 has enforced on us all.
So, this year, whilst I regrettably won’t be able to be physically present, I will most definitely be there in spirit. Cheering on from the side-lines, or as is now the case, the occasional FOMO video call. To all who plan to attend I say: shine on you brilliant diamonds, but most of all, stay safe.”
The parade will look a little different this year with the 43rd Sydney Gay and Lesbian parade taking over the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and moving away from the traditional big boy floats and paying homage to its past with vibrant pageantry costumes, props and puppetry. This year’s theme ‘RISE’ is all about letting our spirits soar after the challenges 2020 brought us, and what better way to do that then with an audience of families, friends and allies watching the 5,000 plus LGBTQI community bring ALL OF THE VIBES to the SCG for a night of sequins and celebration.
“This past year has undoubtedly been one of unprecedented challenge and hardship. The impact of droughts, fires, floods and a global pandemic tested our spirit and resolve. We know and love the power of people and communities that rise together to support others to overcome adversity and inequality. It’s time we rise together again. In tough times and in good, discrimination will only divide and take us backwards. When we rise together through love, compassion, respect and understanding, we will all arrive to a better place. When we rise to the occasion, amazing things happen. We are agents of change. We rise to the challenge of being our true selves, of loving who we love, of discovering our own identities, culture and creativity.
We connect. We overcome fear. We emerge from hard times stronger together. It’s a new dawn. Let’s lift the bar and watch our spirits rise again. IN 2021, WE RISE.” – MARDI GRAS ORG