Hi folks,

For those I haven’t met, my name is Gil (she/her) and I’m Mardi Gras’ Finance Manager.

I’ve taken a small break from crunching numbers to takeover Albert’s monthly update, so that I could wish you all a very happy Lesbian Visibility Day.

To all the lesbians, today we celebrate you and your contribution to our community and society. Being seen for who we are is such a simple and precious thing but is also challenging, and that at times has felt insurmountable and one that is shared by everyone in the LGBTQI+ community. However, we have all made so much progress in the past few decades, which has been in no small part due to the hard work of the lesbian community.

As a group, we have often been challenged with leading a conversation on queer rights, while also fighting for the equal status of women. From the earliest queer rights group in Australia (the Daughters of Bilitis), we have worked to lay the foundations and drive progress toward that simple goal of being seen and valued.

To celebrate today, we’ve put up a little surprise on our Instagram. We spoke to many lesbians about what visibility means and how it has changed over the decades. You’ll quickly see that the concept of ‘being seen’ is as meaningful today as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

I have few other updates that I want to share with you as lot has happened since our last update.

First Nations Advisory Committee

I’m delighted to let you all know that Sydney WorldPride and Mardi Gras have appointed a First Nations Advisory Committee. I believe it’s the first formal committee we have had in our history to give us guidance on how to celebrate and elevate First Nations LGBTQI+ people, as well as Sistergirl and Brotherboy culture. It’s truly an exciting development.

The official role of the FNAC will be to advise and make recommendations to Sydney WorldPride and the Mardi Gras on all matters relating to First Nations programming, which could range from organising Welcome to Country events to setting the agenda for our First Nations pride events through the years.

Members were all appointed through an EOI and interview process and you can check them out on our website HERE.

We are looking for a First Nations & Community Engagement Officer

In more exciting news, we are currently recruiting for a First Nations & Community Engagement Officer. This is another first for the organisation.

This role will be key in helping us to design and activate our First Nations Engagement Program throughout the year. This role will work closely with the FNAC to set the agenda, help implement it and be a voice connecting Mardi Gras to First Nations communities in Sydney and beyond.

If you’re interested – or know someone who might be – I encourage you to apply! You can check out all the details here.

Our partnership results

I’m delighted to let you know today that through this year’s festival season, we delivered close to $250,000 to the LGBTQI+ community. These funds, from the ANZ Community Grants, Google Parade Grants, Facebook Australia’s Parade Viewing Event Grants and our own surplus supported countless people and elevated the LGBTQI+ people nationally.

Here’s a few highlights:

And, in case you didn’t know, since 2016, Mardi Gras and its partners have delivered over $1.2 million in funds to support the LGBTQI+ community.

Even though Mardi Gras was just last month, we have already starting to whiteboard what the 2022 Festival will look like!

Pride month is also just around the corner, and I know we have an exciting update to share soon about the events we have planned for June.

That’s all from me! Again, Happy Lesbian Visibility Day. If your day allows, check out our Instagram and join the conversation on what visibility means to you – and why it’s as important today as it was at the beginning of our movement.

Yours sincerely,
Gil Beckwith,
Mardi Gras Finance Manager