Remember how I wondered about the symbolism of removing ‘gay and lesbian‘ from the name of Sydney Mardi Gras? I wondered if love is really such a universal virtue that we can all gather under its banner. Well, it now seems we can’t.
From today’s poly mardi gras float list:
**IMPORTANT PLEASE READ AND PASS ON**
I have just got off the phone from Victor from the Sydney Mardi Gras about our entry.
Victor was very clear that Sydney Mardi Gras does are not include us as part of the LGBTIQ community. He said that while we can express our support for the LGBTIQ community, we cannot have any signs that talk about polyamory or say things like “polyamory is ethical/natural etc”.
I have also had no reply to my email asking them exactly what the definition of queer is, and was told that we are not considered LGBTIQ even though our group is primarily composed of LGBTIQ members. When I pointed this out, he offered to “help me understand” the new Mardi Gras categories.
I am pretty angry and insulted about this, and let him know that we were already not considering participating because a large number of community members were upset at not being considered part of the LGBTIQ community.
I am inclined not to participate because of this. However, I obviously I need to represent the community on this, and I don’t know how everyone else feels. I have told him I will consult with other community members and touch base with him on Friday. We will need to have an entry form submitted by Monday if we are going to be in it, stating that we will not have messages about what polyamory is as part of our float.
It isn’t new to point out that what many gay marriage activists want is not just equality with heterosexuals, but sameness with them. They claim to be fighting for ‘Equal Love’ but in fact they are fighting for one very specific configuration of love: the monogamous couple, married in the eyes of the law, promising forever together. There is nothing queer or progressive or radical about it.
Poly relationships aren’t of necessity more equal, radical or progressive either, but as a practice they are unquestionably queer, mounting an embedded and practical critique of heterosexist norms of monogamous, dyadic romance. It is profound hypocrisy for Mardi Gras to think it can police what kinds of consensual, adult, non-violent expressions of love are acceptable in its parade.
Update: HipPOLYta comments below that Mardi Gras didn’t recognise the poly group as queer and have allowed them into the parade on the condition their banners specify they are queer polyamorists.