Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras considering ‘inclusive’ name change


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is seeking community views on a potential name change for the festival in a bid to be more inclusive.

The Mardi Gras team told members on Tuesday they had often heard feedback from the LGBTIQ community about the organisation’s name only specifying “gay” and “lesbian” with no mention of transgender, bisexual, intersex, or any other sexuality or gender identity.

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The team said that members, community groups, event organisers, patrons and visitors had questioned them on how to make the festival more inclusive and how the name could reflect the community and its diversity more accurately.

Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu said the consultation was a bid to ensure the annual festival was as inclusive as possible.

“We feel it’s an important step to take in talking to the community to see what can be done to be more inclusive and reflect all the vibrant colours of everyone under and over the rainbow,” she said.

Mardi Gras co-chair Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco said the decision would not be taken lightly and a name change can only happen by a vote of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras members at a General Meeting.

“With our Strategic Plan and commitment to Social Justice, the Board feel the time is right to engage our communities on how inclusion can better reflect who we are and what we do,” he said.

“Our members will have the ultimate say, but we want to live up to our commitment for inclusion. That’s what the proposed name change is for: supporting members of our community who feel excluded.”

It’s not the first time a change of name has been considered for the annual festival: in 2011, a name change to Sydney Mardi Gras prompted community backlash.

Earlier this month, an estimated 500,000 spectators lined Oxford Street to cheer the more than 12,500 marchers in this year’s Mardi Gras parade, which also featured an appearance from Kylie Minogue.

A community consultation event on Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ name will be held at Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Eternity Playhouse on Sunday, April 7 at 4pm. Those interested can RSVP to the event here.
 

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