Siri Kommedahl
Siri Kommedahl, SGLMG Co-Chair

LGBTIQ community members will finally get to have their say on Mardi Gras’ name change.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has announced the timeline of a formal community consultation process to gather feedback on the name change announced last year. The process will reach completion at the end of May 2013.

In November 2011, two name changes were announced: the organisation would change its name from New Mardi Gras to Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the Festival event, including the Parade, would be called Sydney Mardi Gras, in an effort to better reflect the diversity of the multi-faceted LGBTQI community.

To give the community the chance to have formal input into the name-change decision, the organisation has drawn together a plan for a formal community consultation process. The Board last night ratified a six-step process to implement this community consultation.

SGLMG Co-Chair Peter Urmson said: ‘I am happy that we can now begin the formal process of community consultation on the name-change issue to allow people from our community to express their views. Whatever your views are on the name change, you will have the chance to have your say and have the Board consider your views. You’ll also have the chance to be fully informed on the process that led to the name-change decision before you give your feedback.’

SGLMG Co-Chair Siri Kommedahl added: ‘The process will be led by a fully independent and qualified consultant, and will give everybody enough time to have their say. We look forward to hearing your feedback in the community forums.’

1st step – engage expert resource to manage the consultation.

The organisation has already commenced a search for a qualified independent consultant who will be hired on a pro-bono basis to manage the community consultation process. The consultant will be selected and engaged by 8 December 2012. They will begin by developing and documenting a history of the process and information that supported the 2011 name-change decision. This information will then be made available for the community to consider, before the second step is implemented.

2nd step – have your say.

Two community feedback forum sessions will be held on 30 January and 2 February 2013, to give the community the chance to voice their opinions on the name changes and what they would like to see happen with this moving forward. These forums will be facilitated by the independent consultant. The community will have all the background facts to help inform their point of view before the first of these forum sessions. The sessions will be recorded and made available online to enable the broader community to have input. The community will also be able to make submissions in writing as well as in person at the forums.

3rd step – merits of options considered.

During February/March 2013, the consultant will consolidate the feedback from the forums, and will develop a benefits case analysis of any potential future name changes. This analysis will examine the pros and cons of any future changes, with reference to the objectives of the organisation – taking into account all implications, including relationships with the community as well as financial and operational issues that would need to be considered. The consultant will present this benefits case analysis along with the feedback from community forums to the Board at the end of this step.

4th step – community feedback on options.

In late March to early April 2013, the results of the benefits case analysis will be published and then presented and discussed at a further community forum. All feedback from this forum will be considered by the independent consultant, before the fifth step.

5th step – final recommendation to Board.

In April/May 2013, the consultant will make a final recommendation, based on community input, to the Board.

6th and final step – decision.

The Board will make its decision, and communicate this decision to members at the end of May 2013. This decision will put in place the name that will be used in the following season in 2014.