The gay and lesbian schism behind the Mardi Gras
The new Mardi Gras Parade Entry Kit carries a great number of warnings, the most important of which is “never to go backwards.”
But back-pedalling at a great rate was the order of the day when the Mardi Gras management committee heard that The Punch was chasing a story on discriminatory behaviour towards Mardi Gras stalwarts Gretal Pininger, aka Madam Lash, and Scott Ashton.
The parade veterans were advised that their entry to take part in the parade – entitled ‘Art Attack’ - was unsuccessful because the pair were not gay enough.
“The exact words were that Gretal and I were not exclusively gay,” Ashton told me, ‘…and that they knew exactly who we were, and we could not reapply under category three’.
According to the rules in the entry kit, category three entrants are supporters of “GLBTQ” - Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer.
I’ve never had even the mildest inclination to go to the parade, maybe because my first husband dragged me along to ‘Pokies’ at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda in the late 70’s. In my defence, according to media reports this week, at only 20, my brain was not yet developed. Swooning blokes in frocks with too much mascara miming to Gladys Night and her Pips don’t float my boat.
But Mardi Gras is all that and more, writ large across three lanes of traffic. It’s unthinkable that one would want to stand on a crowded street for hours without the comfort of a lounge chair and a Grey Goose Martini for that. Breeders everywhere ogling the spectacle, some with babies in papooses. Erky perky.
I am reliably advised by blokes who know a great set of knockers when they see them that the parade begins with women riding motorbikes. I’m warned some are hideously unattractive and should be asked to leave their tops on at any cost.
When I heard Pininger and Ashton were not allowed in the parade on the basis that they were not “exclusively gay’, I sniffed a whiff of exclusion and even a hint of discrimination.
“How ridiculous, how do they know what I do and who I do it with?” Gretel exclaimed at her fabulous Palm Beach Play Girl Mansion (replete with dungeons.)
I wondered whether Mardi Gras Committee – being earnest, youthful and so grateful to the 78ers for the rights they now enjoy – would be deploying sex police to inspect the under-sheet activity of parade entrants?
They have sanitized the whole thing,” Pininger said. ‘There’s not one gay man in leather chaps anywhere, I’m an art and a fun- lover and a live and let liver by religion and a friend of the Mardi Gras from the word go, I have been in the parade lots of times. Clover Moore can have a float, the ANZ bank can have float, but I can’t have a float.”
An original Mardi Gras Parade ‘78’er’ and MGP archivist revealed the MGP is run by young, urban, professional, conservative, gays and lesbians. Missing from the list is god bothering, churchgoing, flat earther, climate sceptics.
When Madam Lash ran for NSW Parliament in 1996, her motto was: “I may have beaten arse, but I’ve never licked it’.
Fred Nile preferenced Pininger 63rd out of 63.
At the time Lash warned Nile: “Beware Armageddon Fred, because the last will be first and Madam Lash will get in”.
Fred warned us that Lash represented “the single most dangerous threat to Australians.
Paradoxically, Fred and the new parade management have a lot in common with their own exclusionary views. The parade manager wanted to exclude women who have sex with men, and the men who sex with women.
It’s hard to work out why. Don’t lesbians like bisexual women? Are they perceived to be sleeping with the enemy?
Parade Kit doctrine explains that the parade is about visibility and inclusivity. But it was only with the intervention of the CEO that Pininger and Ashton could take part in the parade.
The entry rules explain that the parade is about ‘a proud and determined demonstration for civil and human rights, the objective being inclusive of the many segments of our diverse community’ and that ‘it is not a vehicle for the promotion of business or products’.
Newsflash to the committee. The ANZ bank is a business with products.
How will spectators know which category the parade participants represent? Should entrants hold up a banner explaining what they do under the sheets?
The kit carries helpful reminders about pumping the tyres with air before you leave home, putting petrol into the vehicle and carrying a spare key. The kit reminds us the parade is about passion, politics and humour and ‘to leave the audience gasping’.
Too much gasping can lead to dangerously elevated levels of Co2 in the brain casing one to faint. Spectators should try to limit themselves to one gasp per entry.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…