Written by Miranda Chavez from the University of La Verne
March 3,2018 was filled with rainbows, glittery sweat and millions of people coming together to celebrate love and equality. On this day Sydney, Australia was the place to be!
Australia is a place that represents and houses diverse groups of individuals. One of these many groups is the LGBTQI community. Every year since 1978, Sydney hosts an annual Mardi Gras Pride Parade. However, 2018 was a year like no other because it was the 40th year anniversary since the first Mardi Gras but also the year that Australia legalized marriage for same gender couples. As a spectator, you can only imagine the excitement and positive energy that roamed this year’s parade. I witnessed a marriage, creative outfits and met an abundance of genuinely free people . To be at the parade was an opportunity of a life time and I wasn’t just a spectator, I was a part of the show.
I had only been in Australia a little less than two weeks when I saw an ad to be a dancer in the parade. When I applied, I was waitlisted and a bit bummed. However, I knew I was going to make it to Mardis Gras one way or another, even if that meant not being in the parade itself. On the Thursday before the parade, I received an email mentioning a spot had opened up to be a dancer for one of the floats. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and took the next bus to a craft store. I made my outfit and learned an entire dance under 24 hours.
Being a part of the show allowed me to see the hard work and effort that goes on behind the scenes of the actual parade. While most spectators were scattered throughout the parade trying to find a good view , I was able to roam around and check out all of the floats before they went off. Every float was filled with lively people just wanting to dance and sing to a good time. The group I paraded with was the Shellharbour Shag-Harders "Breaking the Ice," a group of young free-spirited LBGTQI members from Shellharbour-Wollongong regions. Entering the parade , I knew absolutely nobody but throughout the night I met and made friends with amazing individuals.
Moral of the story, take a risk. Even if that means creating an outfit last minute, learning a dance or dancing in a parade for two miles dripping in glitter. This has been the highlight of my adventures in the land down under so far and I was happy to be a part of making history for the 40th anniversary of Mardis Gras!!!