Saturday was Mardi Gras here in Sydney. It was the 42nd Mardi Gras parade that Sydney has held. Some wonder why a parade is needed at all. Why do we have to march for LGBTQ folks anyways? I mean straight folks don't need a march. Why do we need a parade?
Well one has to remember that when the first parade was held, it was illegal for men to love men, women to love women, and illegal for people top go to gay clubs. If one went to a club they could lose their family, their jobs, and their housing. Someone's life would be absolutely ruined if an accusation was raised that a person was LGBTQ. And if the person fell in love or wanted to raise children, there was no way to do it as a gay person. There were no laws that would permit that. So definitely parades such as the first Mardi Gras were needed as a protest cry for rights that were denied.
But you might say that things have certainly changed since 1978. Yes indeed they have. As gay men, Brian and I have been able to celebrate our relationship openly. We got married in one country, renewed our vows in another, and we have been able to adopt a child. These things, the marchers at the first Mardi Gras could only dream of in 1978. But now they are much more common.
So if things have changed so much, why do we still need a parade? We need a parade because in many parts of the globe it is still illegal to be LGBTQ. In Chechnya, for instance, LGBTQ people are sent to concentration camps. We need parades because in all denominations in Australia, except for the Uniting Church and the Metropolitan Community Churches, gay and lesbian people cannot have their weddings celebrated in a church. We need parades because major denominations like the United Methodist Church in the US and the presbyterian church in Ireland, have voted to exclude gay people. We need parades because politicians like Senator Fraser Anning, from Queensland, have vowed to remove all rights from gay people. Dr. Martin Luther King said that no one is free till all are freed. We will have parades until all people are free. And then all of us will have a parade together. Blessings.