In the week leading into the parade, my son Patrick has Year 1 class news. The topic is “Superpowers – what are your powers and why?” He has painted nails, blue and red spray in his hair and rainbow sweat bands on his wrists.
His decided talent is having two mums and being able to march in Mardi Gras which, in his own words, “makes people happy”.
His self confidence instills in me so much gratitude, knowing IGS is exactly the right school for him.
As I look around our city, I have to pinch myself with just how far attitudes have changed.
In the early ’90s, my own school would suspend students for having any sort of colour in their hair, and further, did in fact segregate me when they suspected I might be gay.
But today, the usually blue government bus Patrick rides to school has turned rainbow, Broadway Shopping Centre has displays on every floor with drag queens marshaling multiple events, and my three beautiful sons attend a school that will never make them feel anything but boringly normal. How utterly divine.
Mardi Gras is such a special time. Many of us have fought so hard for acceptance; where once we hid our true identities, they are now openly celebrated and embraced. Our lives matter, our families matter, and few work harder to bring that message together on the night than our very own IGS parent, Bern Foley.
Bern (along with her partner Ms Jessica Slater) is an enthusiastic committee member for community group Rainbow Families. She also runs the IGS Rainbow Connections social group. Bern put countless hours into the float application, the t-shirt designs, banners, ticket allocations, coordination and collaboration. It’s an enormous undertaking for anyone, let alone an already busy parent. I have to take a moment to acknowledge all her hard work, it certainly deserves our recognition – thank you, Bern!
On the grand night itself, being involved in the parade was so much fun. Hearts so full of pride, our IGS families proudly walked side by side as our beautiful children high-fived strangers, laughed and skipped right down Oxford Street. We were dressed in every colour of the rainbow.
Our hearts were so full of pride. We could hear the crowd audibly melt as we walked by. It was an electric feeling.
On a very personal note, thank you IGS for providing our families with a utopia of diversity. Our children will never have to experience the hardships their parents did at school because of who they are. And that, to me, to us, is worth celebrating.
Happy Mardi Gras!