However I knew this would not be another one of those disappointing holidays or festivals because I have signed up to march in the Mardi Gras parade and this is the first time I am doing it. I must feel young and crazy again somehow and was desperately hoping the parade would do the trick.
I registered to march with ACON (AIDS Council of New South Wales), which is a huge non-government organisation that promotes the health and well-being of New South Wales’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Before the start of the march, we were thrown a free barbeque to allow us to stock up energy for the 2.4-km march. We could hear the Mardi Gras storm brewing all around us as we prepped ourselves on ACON’s roof before the big event. It was there and then that I finally felt the electricity in the air and I was beginning to feel that the march could very well be one of the high points in my life.
After a long wait, we finally got to move as a contingent to the starting point. Although the march has not officially started, we already felt like celebrities with passers-by constantly snapping pictures of us. At the muster point, it was time to really explore the parade as we started to mingle with other contingents. Policemen, bears, mothers and their children, high-schoolers, dungeon masters, the handicapped, trannies, the religious and the atheists, young and old were all out in force, united with a common purpose and it was a truly humbling experience. There were lots of really fabulous costumes out there that night and it made me feel so naked even though I was simply clad in a pair of hot shorts. The irony gave birth to my resolution to make a kick-ass costume next year to further accentuate my musculature and of course to garner more attention. It was really the season to grab attention, with overflowing buckets!
The music got louder as the sky got darker and just when we could not hold our passion still any longer, we were off with a bang. Oh I tell you, it was like sex except it was SOOOO much better.
ACON was the 40th contingent out of a total of 135 (with a float each) and according to reports, there were about 400,000 spectators lining the streets watching the parade. Can you imagine that? If you have never marched in a parade, folks I tell you–you MUST do it at least once before you die! It is like being in a club with the perfect setting, perfect music and a perfect crowd, except that this club is in the open and you are treated to hordes of screaming fans dying for you to tap their reaching hands as you go past them. If you ever wanted to feel like a star, this is the place where all your dreams come true.
On and on and on I danced and howled, casting every shred of inhibition into orgasmic oblivion as the beat of the blasting music blended with the deafening shrieks from a crowd gone berserk. Everything was a swirling blur yet every second was filled with raw tingling clarity. Heaven on earth was a gross understatement as pride, camaraderie and the strength of the human spirit melded into an orgy of celebration and ecstasy. If only time could stand still for all of us there on Oxford Street.
The march (and climax) lasted for about two hours and when I reached the end point of the parade, my voice was surprisingly not hoarse and I was not the least bit tired. I could so do it all over again from the start. But alas, I would have to patiently wait till next year with bated breath. However this will give me time to devise the perfect idea for my first Mardi Gras parade costume and subsequently to create it.
I did not feel pride from being gay that night. Instead for the first time in my life, I felt proud to be human.