Each year there is some kind of bitching and moaning about the parade from within the gay community. People cry that it unfairly portrays us as promiscuous, drug taking party people who will never be accepted by the straight world. The parade will never ever represent everyone in the LGBT community completely. Never. Because there are a hundred or so floats and there are way more diverse groups in any community than one hundred. Sure, some floats are a bit sexy and slutty but that’s what Mardi Gras has been about for DECADES!

Before I came out I went to see the parade and I saw men in leather sitting astride a 20 foot long giant pink penis. To me the parade is nowhere near as edgy or in-your-face as it used to be and that’s both good and bad. Good because it shows how far we’ve come that we are so embraced and we don’t have to fight so hard. Bad because it’s possibly outshining how far we have left yet to fight.

Each year the 78-ers go past and I get emotional. Those are the camp old gays and tough old lesbians that marched up Oxford Street as a protest when being gay was illegal. They got arrested and possibly roughed up a bit. They had their names published in newspapers and lost their jobs and possibly families for the fight for the rights that the young gay people take for granted while bitching and moaning that the parade doesn’t represent them. No it doesn’t. It represents people willing to put themselves out there, even in times of acceptance, and say this is who I am and fuck it if you don’t like it.