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  • Writer's pictureCarrick Ryan

Why Straight people should celebrate Gay Pride

It's that time of year again when non-homophobic straight people across Australia post their well wishes to their LGBT friends as we afford them a temporary monopoly over Oxford St and it's surrounds whilst we retreat to a safe distance, watching on as voyeurs to the spectacle of Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. But as I took pause to consider what this date must mean to a gay person, I couldn't help but consider what the rest of us could learn from this celebration, if there was anything to learn at all. To start with with consider this. When the first Mardi Gras was held in 1978 (an event met with unprecedented violence by police) homosexuality was illegal in NSW. Let that sink in. All your gay friends would have been criminals for obliging to their "sexual destiny" as Stephen Fry so eleqountly puts it. For centuries homosexuals have been ostracised, beaten, and murdered with the legitimised hatred from almost every organised religion. Even once it was legalised (6 years later) anyone with homosexual instincts have persistently heeded a self preserving inclination to suppress or obfuscate their sexuality lest they face unhindered professional and social discrimination that pushed many to suicide. The very fact this parade now includes within its ranks Police Officers, Teachers, and Politicians advertising their sexual identity on national T.V. is truly a remarkable progression that is easy to understate. The story of LGBT rights teaches us that progress is stoic and boundless, but in no way inevitable. All that we think might be impossible today will most likely be normalised within our lifetime, but it unavoidably requires the sweat and tears of martyrs to the cause. Mardi Gras is a collection of ordinary people celebrating an inert element of their nature that society had for centuries demanded be cloaked in shame. However it must be remembered, this celebration is peculiar to only recent years and to limited corners on the earth. So we all should celebrate Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras even if we have no direct association with its theme. We celebrate the triumph of love over fear, of reason over ignorance, and acceptance over prejudice. In a time where so many in the West blindly yearn for the past, we celebrate the victory of progress over history, all the while gaining inspiration for the unavoidable battles that lay ahead. To all my LGBT friends, we may not be able to empathise with your experience but we can be inspired by your example. The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a victory parade, a commemoration of the fallen, and a celebration of life all rolled into one. Enjoy, may your night be the stuff of Mike Pence's nightmares... (...or dreams who knows)  

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