Teachers encouraged at the Mardi Gras parade

Mel Smith
Trade Union Training Officer

Mardi Gras developed from an act of political protest back in 1978 against the way in which LGBT people were treated in our society. Over the years, this protest has developed into more of a cultural celebration with this year featuring more than 90 events around Sydney from February 17 to March 5, including the iconic Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday March 4.

The photos show Federation taking part in the parade with the “Teachers Building Equality” float, the theme chosen by the LGBTIQ Special Interest Group to highlight the role teachers play in building equality in everyday work by encouraging open discussion about fairness, instilling societal values in children and creating environments where difference is valued and equality is promoted.

Federation’s float was one of 185 that captivated a crowd of about a quarter of a million people who braved the weather to celebrate LGBTIQ communities. The rain held off for most of the parade and those marching with the union’s float commented on the exhilarating feeling of being cheered along Oxford Street.

Classroom teacher Cameron Reynolds, said he was inspiried when a young person in the crowd yelled out, “You teachers rock! You did so much for me when I was at school!”

“The comment reinforced my views about why we need to be visibly supporting LGBTIQ matters and the positive difference we can make in the life of our students,” Mr Reynolds said.