What does Mardi Gras mean to you in 2021?
Mardi Gras has come a long way since its inception in 1978 as a local civil rights protest that resulted in police arrests and violence against protestors. It’s since evolved into a festival celebrating gender identity and sexuality-based minorities, where everyone is invited to the party. This year, I want people to remember how Mardi Gras started and celebrate how far we’ve come. We’ve now eliminated a lot of the inequalities that were originally being fought for, at least in Australia, so I would like us to focus on love – loving ourselves, loving each other, loving diversity and loving the planet. Because while it seems inconsequential, feeling loved and loving other beings changes us as individuals, both in thoughts and in actions… therefore changing the world.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’ve spent many years moving around the world, trying to be the best version of myself… and I’ve learned a lot. To be honest, I don’t think my younger self would really comprehend my advice… I think he needs to learn things for himself. What I’ve learned though, is that sometimes the things you spend so long looking for were right under your nose all along. We never really see things as they truly are, we see them as *we* are, with clouded perception and interpretation. In the most simple terms, my advice to my younger self would be: accept yourself, live fearlessly and try to see things as they really are.
Love to you is…?
Love to me is loving yourself. Our relationship with ourselves is the one we’re really stuck with, and it dictates how we interact with the world and interact with others. In the words of Ru Paul, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else”.