It’s time to get your biodegradable glitter out and wave that rainbow flag high because we’re already in the thick of Mardi Gras 2020.
This year’s festival is bigger and better than ever with more parties, parades, plays and performances than you can poke a sequin-covered stick at. One of the best things about the 2020 Mardi Gras is how inclusive the festival is.
Not only are a lot of the events free and super accessible, but there’s renewed focus on members of the LGBTQIA community who are celebrating in regional areas.
To shed a little more light on everything Mardi Gras we spoke to Kat Dopper, who is the festival’s creative director and the director and founder of Heaps Gay on the latest ep of It’s Been A Big Day For..
The regional focus of Mardi Gras 2020 is something that is particularly close to Dopper’s heart considering she comes from the rural town of Condobolin – most famous for being Shannon Noll’s hometown. “For me, I’m so passionate about regional community towns. This year, for the first time ever, we are working with regional organisations. There’s Wagga, Broken Hill, Dubbo, Lismore, Adelaide – they’re throwing big events in their towns and we’re doing live crosses onto the broadcast.”
“It’s about how we think about elevating those smaller voices, elevating and activating regional towns, and making sure every single person that is LGBTQIA feels comfy, expresses themselves and sees themselves in our festival in some way.”
The theme for Mardi Gras 2020 is ‘What Matters,’ which Dopper says is all about “stopping as a community and checking in on everybody.”
Dopper said that since the same-sex marriage plebiscite of 2017, “everybody has been splintering off, and there’s still things still matter to us. Whether it’s trans rights, family values, the religious freedom bill.”
“‘What Matters’ is about saying, ‘hold on, we need you to tell us what matters to you.’ It’s your turn to stand up.”
“It’s about having that legacy of where we’ve come from, and looking after that, but thinking about the organisation in a monumental way. How are we going to move this organisation forward, connect to young people, connect to young voices that may not necessarily feel represented currently.”
During our chat with Dopper, she also spoke about how Mardi Gras has changed over the years, all of the incredible events happening during the festival, how to feel included in the festival if you’re an introverted member of the LGBTQIA community, how to be a good ally and how Mardi Gras – and individuals – can help people around Australia all year round.
Mardi Gras 2020 which is running from February 14th to March 1st, and head to the official website to get involved.