Over the last few days there has been a concerted campaign waged upon the Mardi Gras offices and staff to reverse a decision made by the organisation to allow a photographer to access all areas freely on the parade route.
This campaign has sadly descended to the point where our staff and volunteers are being regularly harassed and bullied.
The Mardi Gras organisation is made up of people. Of thousands of very committed people. Some are staff and the vast majority are volunteers. All of whom are working extremely hard to produce the Parade so that our community can come together to protest and celebrate.
The wellbeing of these people is of huge importance to us as an organisation. They do not deserve the vitriol that has been thrown their way over the last few days.
We welcome respectful discussion, argument and difference of opinion. Our community represents every wonderful colour of the rainbow, so of course there will always be times where things are not exactly seen eye to eye. However we cannot accept bullying or harassment. Not only is it inappropriate, it goes against everything Mardi Gras stands for.
We have over 300 media accredited to cover the parade and 12,500 people marching this year. With this number of people, we have to maintain a level of order along the parade route to ensure the safety of both the marchers and media.
We feel great privilege to be a part of an event that helps support and draw attention to so many issues important to our community. We hope that those in the position of covering the event would also feel this privilege.
No single person is entitled to the Parade more than anyone else. The Parade is for everyone. Equally. We all have equal claim on it and what it represents to us as individuals. That is what makes it such an amazing global beacon of diversity.
We will not be reversing this decision. We will continue to give each and every person equal opportunity to support our community and spread our message of love and acceptance around the world.
We hope in future to have respectful discussions around this matter. We wish everyone a Happy Mardi Gras.
The Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras