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South Asian queer support group Trikone marched in this year’s Mardi Gras parade held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and honey, it was fabulous.
It was the first time that the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade was not marching down Oxford Street since it began in 1978.
“I was a bit apprehensive before the Parade, as this was the first time we were marching in a stadium setting. Marching on the streets had a protest-like significance, where we were showing the world that we’re queer and we’re here,” Kunal Mirchandani, Chairperson of Trikone, revealed. “But to me, a ticketed event meant that we were preaching to the converted.”
CEO of the Mardi Gras festival, Albert Kruger had announced that this year’s parade would not have the usual large floats, rather it would be focusing on “the outlandish pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props” that make the parade worthy of witnessing.
Kunal was happy to report that the novel experience was an unforgettable one. Not only did the group feel the true meaning of pride, but they also felt validated for who they were by allies in the audience.
“As I was walking up the entrance to the stadium, I felt a thrill of energy. It was a jolt of electricity that I hadn’t felt before – similar to the one portrayed in sports films just before their big game. It was an experience that I wouldn’t readily forget.
“Watching rows upon rows of LGBTIQ+ supporters felt like vintage Mardi Gras, where we felt validated for who we are; not just showing off for folks who were there to watch the freak show,” he expressed.
WATCH ALSO: South Asians talking about Mardi Gras
The theme of this year’s Mardi Gras parade was ‘Rise‘, pertaining to overcoming the challenges of last year (droughts, bushfires, floods, and the COVID-19 pandemic) and rising together “through love, compassion, respect and understanding”.
Trikone’s parade entry had 40 marchers and inspired by the ‘Rise’ theme they were all dressed in bright blue and yellow. The vibrant contingent delivered an energetic performance at the parade, they danced to a remix of ‘Chhamma Chhamma’ from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.
“It’s a distinctly Bollywood song used by an Australian director in a film that has now become a cult classic among LGBTIQ people around the world,” he explained.
23,000 tickets went up on sale to watch the 2021 Mardi Gras parade at the SCG Stadium.
“Everyone who watched the parade has said that our performance was full of vibrancy and energy, which is to be expected, considering we represent South Asia’s beautiful colours,” Kunal mentioned.
South Asians talking about Mardi Gras
Wondering why Pride is called Mardi Gras in Sydney? Find out here.
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