For all of those who attended Saturdays Mardi Gras celebration in Sydney I'm sure you'll agree it was a spectacular display of colour, vibrancy, spirit and strength. With over 10,000 marchers, hundreds of thousands of spectators and enough sequins, feathers, beads and diamantes to fill Kalgoorlie it was without question a truly magnificent display.
The rain certainly didn't dampen any spirits and Sydney quickly came alive to the tune of glistening G-strings, rainbow glitter hats, sequined rar rar skirts and of course the obligatory gold hot pants (in honour of our national treasure, Ms Minogue).
Despite my best intentions I failed to arrive at the parade until 6:30pm when all of the sensible folk had already arrived, found a prime time viewing spot with quick access to the nearest pub and parked their portable stool (a.k.a crate). Note to oneself - stick to NY resolution, #3 and research, plan and execute in advance!. So I was resigned to clinging to the 6ft fence lining Oxford Street and peeking over in awe at the thousands of revellers adorning the streets.
My first observation was to marvel at the intricately detailed and ornate costumes and floats that had undoubtedly taken weeks if not months to plan and prepare. It can only be a probable certainty that Australia is in the midst of a chronic sequin and glitter supply shortage for the foreseeable!
Secondly, commendation has to be given to the meticulous level of planning, logistical coordination and advance preparation undertaken by the local councils, road traffic authorities, police and numerous voluntary institutions, which resulted in what was a seamless, incident-free parade.
But in clinging to that fence, what struck me most profoundly was the realisation that those who marched that night, all of whom had clearly spent weeks if not months preparing what was undoubtedly one of the most spectacular mardi-gras festivals Sydney, and indeed the world has ever seen, were not walking as Gays. Or Lesbians. Or Transgenders. Or Bixsexuals. Or Intersexuals or indeed any other label. In their conduct on Saturday they didn't try to 'poison' the minds of young children or impose sexual preference on any onlookers. They were simply fellow human beings walking together, in celebration of the core human values of love, strength, freedom of expression and affinity. Celebrating our differences and in that light bringing unity.
And to all of those who oppose such behaviour, I would say, let's focus our limited energies and redirect our efforts in this world on those that are inflicting pain, suffering, war, famine and poverty and leave be those that are standing in opposition of such evils.
As a British Citizen, but Permanent Resident of Australia I clung to that fence and felt a deep sense of pride to be part of of such a vibrant and colourful community and celebration of life.
I clung to that fence feeling proud to be nearly Australian.
And for Sydney, and indeed Australia to stand proud on the world's stage and celebrate acceptance and inclusion in such spectacular style all I can say is - you did us proud!
Proud to be nearly Australian.