Corporate Sanitised Sexuality Parade
Others complained about being unable to videophone their friends because Foxtel was protecting its exclusive live telecast rights.
And others suspected corporate pressure in what amounted to admittedly mild censorhip of youthful expression, but to fair the Amnesty International organisers agreed with the suggestion from Mardi Gras that a noose shouldn’t be used. The noose was proposed to represent the death penalty (in 7 countries, for being gay), but organisers decided it was too suggestive of suicide, which was counter-productive.
I used the Amnesty float change as one element of a cartoon depicting some questionable aspects of the parade. It is in no way meant as a slur against the commited and caring people who put this entry together, just a light hearted asking of a question.
There's also a suggestion in the cartoon of the couple in the Love Underwear float being not at all gay, as they are a male and female model. After the cartoon was published, I met a couple of heterosexually-identifying people who revealed they had been paid to model on a commercial float. I am personally very fond of heterosexuals (it's a transsexual thing that some gays don't quite get), and am always glad to see the divisions of gay/straight/male/female subverted to make room for us messy humans. Yet this shows how corporate interests may dilute the point of this parade. I say let freedom ring, and not make way for people flogging ringtones!
The Mardi Gras Parade does a lot of good, but concerns about corporate interference should be taken seriously, or it will be irrelevant to more and more young people disenchanted with corporate control.
The most good the parade does is in the visibility of human diversity, and it would achieve this better if if were broadcast free to air on ABC, as once happened before the commercial interests were contracted with. Now it makes Foxtel a tidy $25 per pay-per-viewer, it may be missing the isolated young genderfluid person in Wagga for whom it could have been a lifeline.
What can’t Mardi Gras just be a demonstration of diversity, a celebration of human sexuality, love, sassiness, and creative expression? Let the companies and governments donate money, but let’s reject all corporate control of the parade. It’s not for the corporations, it’s for the people.