Happy Sydney Mardi Gras!

Any Hoydenizens planning on parading tomorrow night?

I love how the exactly the same objections from some sectors come out every single year.

Why can’t [my NORMAL organisation] have a great big parade too?
You can! You just have to start with a small parade that people want to come and see/join every year, so that it grows over time. Start now and have some patience for 20 years. (link: GNT on the history of Sydney Mardi Gras Parade)
Why do taxpayers have to pay for all those policemen to keep order during the parade? They wouldn’t do it for a [my NORMAL organisation] event!
Actually, crowd control is one of the public duties that police are supposed to perform, and they do it for every event that draws a large crowd, including Opera in the Domain, Carols in the Domain, the City to Surf Fun Run, Justin Bieber at Circular Quay etc. The State government is fairly philosophical about this, because large events generate more tax revenue from all the attendees’ spending than the outgoings for extra policing etc. There were certainly plenty of police on crowd control duty at the 2008 World Youth Day event attended by the Pope, for example.
Why should my taxes go to subsidise this event that I find disgusting?
Everybody finds something disgusting, even your own personal favourite thing – I guarantee you this. The various levels of government subsidise public events that bring more revenue into the area than they cost to produce. Mardi Gras is one such event. If you’ve got another event you much prefer, and want it to get more public funding, then fill in your paperwork on the revenue stream it produces and make your case to the relevant funding committees.
Why do they have to flaunt* their sexual degeneracy in my face?
Is anybody forcing you to watch the Parade or any other Mardi Gras events? If you don’t want to see it, then don’t watch.
(* probably misspelled as “flout”)

Who’s seen any others?

Categories: arts & entertainment, culture wars, ethics & philosophy, social justice

Tags: , , , ,

31 replies

  1. I may be wrong about this in the instance of the Mardi Gras, but in general there’s a policy these days that policing provided for large public events in NSW is paid for in part by the organisers. I know that the AFL, NRL and organisers of other major sporting fixtures directly contribute for the cost of police presence at their games, so I’d be surprised if the MG organisers hadn’t contributed to the provision of police with some of their sponsorship funds—in the end it’d be major advertisers, in other words, not taxpayers, picking up the bill for the coppers’ wages. There’s the multiple ironies of capitalism for you.
    I’m extremely proud, for one, of the march and institution as a Sydneysider.

  2. I appear to be wrong: here are the policy guidelines (PDF) for the application of user charges for policing at major events. In 5.2, p10, it lists the Mardi Gras specifically as an event which might be considered for exemption or reduction of Government charges because of its economic, social and cultural benefit.

  3. Mardi Gras Parade itself attracts 300k+ people. If you want to have some idea of the parade’s economic impact (let alone the whole festival), just try booking a hotel room on Saturday night! Most city hotels list Christmas, Easter, New Years and Mardi Gras as their blackout/peak periods. Walking around the city (especially closer to Oxford st), you see a visible increase in the number of gay tourists and couples holding hands (especially noticable in gay clubs!)
    There was another article in the Sydney Star Observer recently about its major event status but I can’t find it. Here’s an article about the Coalition’s support/plans for Mardi Gras if they get office: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/australia-news/new-south-wales-news/2011/02/23/coalitions-big-plans-for-mardi-gras/45532
    As far as tired objections go, check out Christian Democratic Party candidate Peter Madden: http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/australia-news/new-south-wales-news/2011/02/02/our-new-enemy/43146
    You should like the Facebook page set up: Should Peter Madden say sorry? It’s got heaps more links and articles including a radio interview: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Should-Peter-Madden-Say-Sorry/148387358555637
    This is my quick list of objections I’ve heard:
    *”The Mardi Gras parade should be held out of sight of the general public to prevent “flagrant promotion of sexual immorality” and “anarchy” on the streets of Sydney.”
    * Won’t somebody think of the children
    * Drunken sex and debauchery, drug fest
    *“open porn display”
    * “It’s men in g-strings playing with sex toys in front of kids. Whether it’s in the parade or whether it’s people in the crowd, it’s still inappropriate behaviour to put in front of children.”
    * Recruiting our kids
    *Kids aren’t responsible enough to make their own choices and when they go to Mardi Gras parade they end up in Hyde Park having gay sex
    *Young people can’t be gay until they’re at least 25. Before then it’s a phase and they shouldn’t march or watch the parade because they’re not gay.
    * Fire and brimstone will rain down on Sydney for enabling homosexuality
    * Watch out Mardi Gras’ll cause an earthquake/other natural disaster!
    Breaking news: Peter Madden’s brother will be marching in the parade: http://sxnews.gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/peter-maddens-brother-to-march-in-mardi-gras-parade-008506.html

  4. why don’t they still have it on the Stonewall anniversary?
    Too effin cold for a festival, anyway, that was just a march, this is a Mardi Gras.
    What happened to . . . .?
    Oh, thats right, moments silence.
    How am i gunna get to my favourite pinnie parlour?
    it closed twenty years ago.
    Whats Richard Wherrett doing here, isn’t he married to Jackie Weaver?
    Get a life.
    Happy Mardi Gras everyone

  5. @curiosities #3, your list of objections, combined with mine (pithilised) would make a damn fine bingo card.

  6. @tigtog it would indeed 🙂 Peter Madden and his ilk would get BINGO every time! Multiple times on the same card even!

  7. * Drunken sex and debauchery, drug fest

    Objection or promotion? You report, I decide.

  8. The one I hear most is Why don’t we get a heterosexual Mardi Gras/Pride, Bwaaaaah!
    The obvious answer is that EVERY day is heterosexual pride day — every day we see heterosexual couples showing affection in the streets (where children can see!), heterosexual couples ON OUR TVS, weddings between heterosexual couple are glorified and legally sanctioned, etc, etc.

  9. I marched with the Our Bodies Say Something group, which was a coalition of Femme Guild, Scarlet Alliance, SWOP, Fat Empire and Still Fierce. I had a blast, even though I was nursing a chest infection and couldn’t do my usual leap-around-like-a-loon routine.

  10. Young people can’t be gay until they’re at least 25. Before then it’s a phase and they shouldn’t march or watch the parade because they’re not gay.
    Oh excellent, that means I’ll be turning gay in just over a fortnight! That makes the ridiculous age a bit more bearable.
    Will they send me an official queer licence in the mail, or do I develop a struldbrug-esque birthmark, or does the Pope sit up straight in bed at midnight, clutch his rosary and whisper “mein gott!”? I’ll tell you in two weeks.

  11. Happy early Turning Gay Day, Kim!! Do we all turn on vibrators in acknowledgement? 😉

  12. Why don’t we get a heterosexual Mardi Gras/Pride, Bwaaaaah!

    Because we heteros are boring. Deeply boring. Sad but true.

  13. Or as someone said in this morning’s Herald Sun, we do – it’s called Moomba.

  14. Helen Razer? Having a moment spoiled by intolerance? Hahahahaah!


  15. …er, that was not a cheer for intolerance, rather a comment on the irony of someone so intolerant, complaining about it.

  16. While I don’t take racism at all lightly (It is vile), she lost me with:
    And, FFS, how long will reeking caricatures of my gender continue to represent my sexuality? I mean. I love good drag, but these dames were dire.
    I’m a transsexual and that is pretty crass. Especially in an article about hate speech, seriously.

  17. Yes, the first paras of the linked article are eminently reasonable, but these days the moments of lucidity are disappearing in a fug of grumpy get-off-my-lawnness.

    • Agreed, I should have tagged it with a warning for that bit of trans-bigotry. She’s not too good at noticing the three fingers pointing back at her when she’s busy pointing fingers at other people.

  18. I actually don’t get quite what she means about the drag stuff: what exactly about Helen Razer’s sexuality are they representing?? Is she saying that she’s unhappy that drag queens who are apparently caricaturing ‘her’ gender (there’s a limited amount of woman to go around, it seems, and Helen’s in charge of the rations) representing her queerness? Because there’s a shitload of diversity in that parade, and I’m not sure anyone would be particularly happy about being read as or reduced to representatives of Helen Razer’s sexuality. Especially when it seems that that ‘sexuality’ is neatly contained by ideas about ‘proper’, non-caricaturing, non-dire drag, and straight-up bigotry, as Jamie and tigtog have pointed out.
    I have enjoyed Mardi Gras a lot, though it does seem to bring out the border-policing in some people (and the freakshow-homophobia in others, unfortunately).

  19. Hi folks. Author of the piece on the Mardi Gras broadcast briefly discussed.
    I really don’t think that in (a) suggesting that certain acts of drag are misogynist and (b) that orthodox drag has come to over-represent queer sexuality there was any hint of transphobia.

    • Helen,
      I certainly thought, both at the time and now, that the explanation you offer above was the most probable interpretation of what you wrote. However, I also thought that it was phrased so that I couldn’t be absolutely sure, and other possible interpretations did seem transphobic.
      Perhaps if there’d been more clarity in explicating your (a) and (b) above, then no hint of transphobia would have been inferred.

  20. Honestly, I think it was fairly clear, tigtog. The question, “how long will reeking caricatures of my gender continue to represent my sexuality?” as part of a correspondence addressed to Mardi Gras can only mean, I think, that the author has grown impatient with the cardboard female impersonation so long dominant in a parade that purports to showcase the entire GLBTIQ spectrum. That this statement is appended with, “I love good drag,” also makes it plain that the author has no argument with drag – just the bad, shitty, sexist, predictable stuff.
    I suggest it is possible that your inference was made not as a result of the piece but in the service of the broader point you wished to make. Vis. that my op ed often reveals my prejudice; or “bigotry”. And that, apparently, I am “not too good at noticing the three fingers pointing back at” me.
    An opinion to which you are entitled, natch. I just feel there was no evidence of it in my piece. Or, “rant” as you prefer it.

    • Helen, I’m a fan of rants, so perhaps you could look at my initial comment again without assuming that by using the term I’m thereby in condemnation mode, and without conflating it with a later comment made in response to somebody else’s observation.
      You’ve made a career out of positioning yourself as a loudmouthed opinionator, and for much of the time I have been and remain a fan. I wouldn’t even be subscribed to your blog if I weren’t. On this occasion I think you made many good points but weakened your own argument by some unclear phrasing, which is a stylistic problem of yours which that I’m certainly not the first to notice.

    • P.S. perhaps you are also unaware of how often phrases very similar to your “reeking caricatures of my gender” are used as slurs by transphobic radfems? That your usage was not intended to be transphobic doesn’t help much for a trans woman who reads it when it so closely echoes hatespeech aimed at trans women every day of the week.

  21. Tigtog hit it on the head. I’m trans, and I have had that slur hurled at me more than a few times since I decided to transition. Among other, equally hate-filled things meant to shame me into not being who and what I am. With little context, there is no way to tell who exactly you mean by the phrase you use, and I certainly am unsure that you wouldn’t include me in that list if I didn’t pass well enough for your tastes.

  22. Jamie, did you read the piece?

  23. Yes I did, tigtog. I’m asking Jamie if he felt the context provided in the piece was inadequate.

  24. Jamie, or ze or she. Sorry about my pronouns. I’m not sure how you identify and went for the traditional choice that I felt would most likely match a person called Jamie. Seriously, I’m actually quite devastated you’d think my critique of Vaudeville drag had anything to do with intolerance of the trans community whom, it must be said, I think are unusually instructive to the entire queer community.

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