The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mardi Gras Parade 2010

After the whole Mardi Gras debacle (check out in the GLBSGDQ section for details), my partner Tracie and I met up with Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) on their marriage equality float as they’d invited excluded groups to join them and despite being told by Mardi Gras that no ‘unauthorised material’ must be displayed, CAAH encouraged people to display just such material.

We went into the section where you wait until it’s time to set off. There were a couple of other animal libbers but T and I had our big placards, so they targeted us. One side of our placards said ‘Animal lib for marriage equality’ (as a courtesy to CAAH), the other side said ‘Free the battery hens’ (as a up yours to Mardi Gras and to help the chickens!).

A female official came up and said according to her list it was a marriage equality float and we may not be able to have our placards. Tracie told her the placards would be in the parade but that she was welcome to get Michael Rolik the CEO of Mardi Gras to come down and try to take the placards away himself. Rachel Evans from CAAH was lovely and explained to the official that animal libbers had been invited to take part in the float, so off the official went to get someone else.

A bit later on a male official came back with the female official and I recorded the whole thing on my iPhone. He said the placards had nothing to do with CAAH’s float that they originally booked. Rachel explained that they’d invited excluded groups and that one side of the placard referred to marriage equality. He asked who the animal libbers were and Rachel told him my name.

He said the command may come down that we’d have to give up the placards or leave the parade and not be allowed to march. I said ‘So you’re going to physically remove us?’ and he said ‘No, you’ll be asked to leave’ and I said, ‘We won’t leave voluntarily so are you going to physically remove us?’ He said he’d have to refer to a more ‘senior level’.

Anyway the upshot is that nothing else happened after that and we marched. We had our large placards on a really long pole which we twirled around to show both messages.

It was a wise decision by MG to let us march though, as we planned to jump the fence at Taylor Square and hijack the media if they didn’t. We were so up for it (and we’ve scaled higher fences than the piddly things they have around the parade!).

The good thing was a lot of people in the parade area were really nice and said they were so glad we’d got in to march and weren’t happy with MG’s decision to exclude AL. At Taylor Square, I got the placard in front of the TV cameras but of course when we skipped through the coverage on Arena (which we recorded), it was a sanitised version of the parade and we’d been cut out! As Foxtel is a sponsor of MG, they’d have been told not to screen anything controversial.

So, a small victory in that we got to march with a ‘free the battery hens’ placard each for people watching the parade live, and gave MG something to think about. Let's see what comes of the community consultation they have planned.


  • At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You rock! Thankyou.

  • At 10:46 PM, Blogger James_Eade said…

    Actually I watched the coverage on Arena, and the Sign WAS seen! I was thrilled to see it! Great work.

  • At 6:45 AM, Blogger DARIAN ZAM said…

    The whole Mardi Gras thing is so INSANE, I haven't had anything to do with it for years. It sounds more like going through customs at the airport, than any kind of celebration.


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