If you don't celebrate yourself, the fight can feel too much, too hard.

There are a lot of people out there that don't even want you to exist, let alone be happy.. So many of our movements take the fight for justice and equity and meld it with a celebration of self, and moving that celebration of self into the public sphere.  Saying, “my happiness is valid and is not for your consumption. Your discomfort in my happiness is irrelevant”.

To me, Mardi Gras is, and should remain the embodiment of those two things.

The original Mardi Gras march was a protest against police brutality and against the oppression of LGBTQIA+ people, which continues to this day. We need to ensure that the protest, our fight continues with it and is not forgotten.  

We don't have the rights, the respect and  the understanding that those outside our community have.  That's what Mardi Gras stood for, should continue to stand for.

It is also that wonderful celebration of self. The time of Mardi Gras is a time to celebrate ourselves, our communities and our love – our right to love. I had my first ‘out’ Mardi Gras at the beginning of last year, and I was with my partner.  It was the first time that I have been in a queer relationship with somebody and able to celebrate that love publicly surrounded by my own community.  We went to this really beautiful party. It was by and for us.  It was inclusive. It was fun. The music was ridiculous.  It was lovely.

I think the difference between this party and those events that piggyback off the original protest in 1978 without paying homage or respect, is the celebration of self for ourselves not just some corporate sponsor. Celebrating and uplifting queer joy is an act of rebellion, an act of community care.

We need to celebrate ourselves.  So that we're not always fighting.