Mardi Gras is upon us and once again, I am begging every ally to behave.
Every year, I see a handful of cis and straight allies turning up to Mardi Gras and making an absolute fool of themselves. But worry not, 5Why’s resident queero is here to guide you on the straight and narrow, if you’ll excuse my phrasing.
Learn Queer Australian History
The first Mardi Gras was a protest. People were beaten by the police, arrested, and outed for their involvement, with some people even committing suicide afterwards. This isn’t just something we do every year for fun, it’s celebrating queer survival and remembering the people who have come before us.
Don’t Touch Anyone Without Their Permission
Look, I know that everyone looks amazing, but don’t fucking touch them. Touching people without asking is just rude. Every Mardi Gras my friends and I have stories about people getting too enthusiastic and grabbing our outfits or bodies. This applies to drag acts too. They’re lovely and glittery but they will hit you with the wrong end of a stiletto.
PLEASE Don’t Post Photos Of You Kissing Your Friends On The Lips
Straight girls, I’m looking at you. This isn’t to say that you’re not allowed to kiss your other girl friends on the lips- far be it from me to tell girls not to kiss each other. But posting it on Instagram just feels performative. I can guarantee that every queer person following you online would assume that you’re dating, only to feel disappointed and ashamed when everyone’s laughing in the comments.
Don’t Idolise Drag Queens For Looking FABULOUS But Laugh At How Other People Look
Some people put a lot of work and thought into their Mardi Gras outfit. There’s a more freedom to dress in the way that best reflects your gender and sexuality, and everyone has a right to that. Regardless of their body size, age, body hair, or perceived gender identity, let people dress the way that they want to without making a fuss over it. On the flipside, don’t go up to every guy in a pair of heels all “YAAAAS queen, absolutely SLAYING it, W I G.” They’re people, not spectacles.
Stand With Us The Rest Of The Year
Marriage equality was only the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got the everyday queerphobia we have to deal with, as well as the government being dicks with the Religious Freedoms bill, locking up queer refugees, making it expensive and difficult for people to transition, and more. It’s not fair to cover yourself in glitter and watch the parade when you remain silent about queer issues the other 364 days of the year. I can’t even begin to put into words how it feels to see someone I know voted no in the plebiscite at Mardi Gras. Please don’t be the person who makes your queer friends feel that way.
So there you go! Head forth into the weekend with Certified Lesbian Knowledge and feel confident in the fact that you’re going to be the best ally you can be.
All in all, be respectful. Be mindful of the space you’re taking up as a cisgender, straight person and prioritise queer people’s experiences, especially queer people of colour. This is our show, be thankful you’re invited.
Drink water, don’t take drugs from strangers, and have a happy Mardi Gras!
Image Sources: GIPHY