I’ve  never  been  to  Mardi  Gras.   I’ve  watched  it  many  times  on  TV  and  had many  friends  who  have  marched.   For  me  it  comes  back  to  the  origins  of Mardi Gras, about supporting inclusion and diversity, being present, having a voice and being seen.

As  a  lesbian  with  children,  I  am very  aware  of  what  people  have  done before me to make my life a lot easier.

I  think  that  the  visibility  of  gay  people  in  the  community  is  stronger  in  certain areas.  I  live  in  a  regional  community  where  there  are  a  lot  of  gay,  lesbian, transgender  and  queer  people  around.   There  are  young  people  emerging, and  I  see  more  of  that  in  public  now.  It  fills  me  with  a  lot  of  love,  heart  and joy.  

For  me  Mardi  Gras  is  about  people  reflecting  and  saying  we have  a strong place in our community like everyone else.  

A  few  friends  were  strongly  campaigning  for  the  Yes  campaign  for  marriage equality in  our  area.  I  didn’t realise at  the  time  how  significant  it  would  be  for my family, and for my kids.  

When the Yes vote came in, they were beside themselves with joy.  

My  partner  and  I  are  not  married  and  we  don’t  intend  to  get  married,  but  to know that it is now an option fills me with joy.   The vote has put the word out in  the  community  that  there  is  no  difference to my  relationship  of  26  years, and someone else’s relationship of 26 years. That felt good.

All  relationships  have  their  joys,  their  passions  and  their  excitements, but they can also be tricky and messy, and you need to negotiate.

In terms of Mardi Gras, it’s big, it’s bold, it’s colourful! It’s a really important reminder of where we’ve come over the years since it began.