Omitting the words “gay and lesbian” from the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival’s name was highly controversial in the latest season – and now the festival’s crew want to canvass widely for views on it.
In November 2011, there were actually two name changes that took place, explains the event’s crew. “The organisation changed its name from New Mardi Gras back to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – changing from almost ten years as New Mardi Gras,” says spokesperson James Rongen-Hall.
“The return to the old title is recognition that the event remains owned by the city’s gay and lesbian community, even as it embraces involvement from the wider community.
“The other change was that the annual festival was renamed Sydney Mardi Gras. Community reaction was divided with some people thinking that the name was more inclusive and forward-thinking, whilst others were upset that the words gay and lesbian did not appear in the festival name,” he sums up.
“Now that the 2012 season has been delivered under the new name structure, we are seeking feedback in order to inform future planning. We’re really keen to get as many responses as possible so we have an accurate picture of what people think.”
Here at Same Same, we certainly received many impassioned opinions on this topic, with many disgusted that Mardi Gras hadn’t consulted the community before making a fundamental change. The Mardi Gras Board later apologised for that lack of consultation.
An online survey has now been launched to enable the LGBTQI communities to have their say about the naming of the organisation and its events, following the recommendation of the newly established Members and Community Advisory Group. All members of the community are encouraged to take part.
The survey will be open until close of business on Friday 6th July, and the results will be compiled in a report that will be published prior to Mardi Gras’ Annual General Meeting in August. Then at the AGM, members will be able to vote on a motion regarding what names will be used in future.