This article orginally was published Jan 27, 2009 but I have just updated it with a relevant video at the end.
Everyone has an opinion about a Pride March such as the annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras; often very strong opinions. Predictably, conservative Christians condemn it. Rev Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democratic Party regularly condemns it. In March 2007 his media release read, “I call upon Anthony Venn-Brown and these marchers to withdraw from this blasphemous, obscene parade and not bring the Name of Jesus Christ into disrepute”. He believes that the judgement of God comes on Sydney because of it and each year encourages Christians to pray for rain on the night.
But criticism is not just from those outside the community. Even some gay and lesbian people think it’s not a good thing to have an annual community celebration, particularly marching publicly down a main street.
I love the Simpsons episode where Homer has taken the family to see the Pride march. As the marchers pass the family a group are yelling out the slogan. “WE’RE HERE! WE’RE QUEER! GET USED TO IT!
Lisa yells back “WE ARE USED TO IT! YOU’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS”.
Whenever someone voices strong opinions against the Mardi Gras parade you can usually guarantee it means one or all of the following.
1. They have never actually seen the parade in its entirety
2.They have never participated in the parade and therefore don’t understand the dynamics of the experience
3. They have no knowledge of the history of the gay community’s parades and celebrations
False assumptions are the result of ignorance and that ignorance has meant that pride celebrations like Mardi Gras, have been labelled blasphemous, immoral, debauched or promoting homosexuality.
For many years, because of my own lack of knowledge and experience, I too was a critic.
Let me address each of these three points.
1. They have never actually seen the parade in its entirety.
- Media Images. Their judgment is based solely on media images of the most outrageous and least dressed entrants. Well of course. That is the media. They always focus on the controversial and sensational. A picture of the Freedom 2 b