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Glitter banned from Sydney Mardi Gras, Australia’s biggest Pride celebration

Nick Duffy February 20, 2019
People participate in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney on March 3, 2018.

People participate in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney on March 3, 2018.(SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty)

Glitter has been banned from Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia’s biggest Pride celebration.

Ahead of this year’s Mardi Gras celebration, the event organisers have launched a push to make the event glitter-free.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday (February 17) Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras chief executive Terese Casu said: “We used to bring in about three tonnes of glitter from China.

“That goes in the gutter, it ends up in our oceans, our fish eat it, you find it in crab shells and oysters. We must be responsible and make really urgent changes.”

Casu added: “It does make such a difference and the amount of waste we use at festivals, it’s got to stop.”

People participate in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney on March 3, 2018.
People participate in the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney on March 3, 2018.(SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty)

Though it is still often associated with LGBT+ events and festivals in general, glitter has fallen out of fashion after coming under fire from anti-plastic campaigners.

Glitter is made from thin sheets of plastic that are hard to recycle, and green campaigners have warned that they cause harm to the environment.

Pride floats can sparkle without glitter, Mardi Gras leaders say

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras workshop production manager Liz Carter is working with participants to make floats glitter-free and fabulous, using fluorescent lighting and LEDs instead of glitter to sparkle.

She told the Sydney Morning Herald: “There are cleverer ways of achieving something that sparkles and shines without the glitter.

“I do secretly quite like glitter, but you have to think about the environment. Every festival has a carbon footprint and everyone has to think about that.”

A parade goer celebrates during the 2018 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 3, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.
A parade goer celebrates during the 2018 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 3, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Maree Williams/Getty)

Queer activists have frequently used glitter in the past as part of non-violent ‘glitter bomb’ protests, throwing glitter over opponents of LGBT+ rights.

Rick Santorum, an anti-LGBT politician in the US, was glitter bombed no fewer than five times while running for president in 2012.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is Australia’s biggest Pride celebration

The 41st annual Sydney Mardi Gras Parade is set to take place on March 2.

In 2018, the Mardi Gras celebrations featured a headline spot from Cher, who headed down under just weeks after Australia’s first same-sex weddings.

This year, Final Fantasy XIV will be the first video game to have a float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida said in a statement released on February 15: “This collaboration could never have been realised without the efforts of our community.

“When FFXIV took part in PAX Australia, it was the FFXIV players in Australia who offered us the greatest welcome and utmost support.”

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