Mardi Gras 2014We teach the world about equality for all people and demonstrate the importance of loving and accepting each other regardless of race or religion.

Hello Sydney, happy Mardi Gras 2014. Yay!!! Here we are again enjoying all the incredible events that lead up to the big parade on the 1 March.

My name is Louise Fisher, and I am proud to say I’m gay. I came out to my parents at age 17 (still at school) but was fully aware of my “sexual orientation” from the young age of 9.

Whilst looking back on my many Mardi Gras experiences, I can’t help but reminisce of those incredible memories of years gone by. Still totally looking forward to the great things installed for our future. However, I will never lose sight of what continuously brings the gay community together yearly, rain, hail or shine, to celebrate and strengthen our cause and right to love.

Every year this particular time reminds us of our history and just how far we’ve come since that very first Gay March in 1978. It’s hard to imagine being a part of that very first protest. Not so long ago. I have a friend who rallied that night and once shared the horror stories. Her physical and emotional scars remind her of the terrible war against gay love. They are bashing, cuffing, arresting and caging by police under instruction by our government. These people were laying their lives out to fight for the community, their future, and you and me today. A huge thank you goes out to those who fought for us.

We have reason to celebrate how far we’ve come in the last 35 years. To think that now, the police that once used force to wipe us from existence work with us to protect us from harm. They rostered off that night and polished their shoes for a different reason. 100’s of uniformed police now proudly march along with us in the parade, holding their heads high. I don’t know about you, but this always brings a tear to my eye.

The excitement builds even further for our community as we get closer every day to have the right to marry like “normal” people. Just watch our city explode with joy on that day. A day that should have been granted to us so long ago. This year’s parade has registered at least 15 floats lobbying for same-sex marriage. Equality Weddings are not too far away. Just stay tuned to one of the hottest topics in the media today.

As a community, we are strong and never give in. We will not stop till we win what is rightfully ours. We share a camaraderie that can only be found within our community, and millions of onlookers worldwide watch us in ore.  Flaunt it, get it out there, and be proud of it no matter what colour, shape or size. Our parade never ceases to amaze me, pulling a crowd of thousands from every state of Australia and worldwide. We generate a tremendous amount of income for our government through tourism.

In 1991, an economic study found the impact on the Australian economy was around $38 million. Does it deserve recognition? Yes, it does.

We are smart. We have integrity. We do not endorse violence but promote only love. We empathise with minority groups and welcome them into our family. We do not discriminate and teach others to do the same by setting an example. We teach the world about equality for all people and demonstrate the importance of loving and accepting each other regardless of race or religion. We hold our heads high and pride ourselves on our appearance. We are noticed, and our message will be heard.