Statement from the Board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

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

David Watson

221 Sydney Park Road, Erskineville NSW 2043, Australia

Chief Strategist David Watson is a 20+ year sales and marketing veteran that has worked across different industries with a diverse range of businesses. Prior to launching Strategy Point, David was employed by photo print retailer Momento for over 7 years and in that time was instrumental in growing Momento from startup into a successful brand and service with millions of dollars of annual revenue. This experience provides his clients with unique insights and an unparalleled perspective of photographic consumers, sales and marketing, and maximising business opportunities. David has a Diploma in Strategic Marketing and is currently undertaking an Advanced Diploma of Marketing course. He is an associate member of the Australian Marketing Institute, a member of the National Board for the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and is a member of the advisory board for the Head On Photo Festival. In his spare time David walks his pooch Rosie around Sydney Park, hones his photography, cheers for the Sydney Swans, indulges in reality TV and dreams of overseas holidays. He also supports two organizations that are close to his heart - Twenty10 who provide support for homeless gay and lesbian youth, and Assistance Dogs Australia who provide freedom and independence to people with physical disabilities.