Forty five years ago today on a chilly Spring morning in England my brother aged five and I aged eight pulled on purple velvet trousers. Long sleeved shirts featuring a small floral motif in shades of purple, lilac and lavender against a white background and cravats completed the outfit. Later that day in 1972 we would parade down the aisle of the Church of the Redeemer in Birmingham with our mother as she took the hand of my first step father. This was the beginning of a decade and a half of an abusive relationship that at its lowest point saw us experience the despair of living in a ‘battered wives home’. Marriage vows didn’t hold much weight with this step father.
Seventeen years ago today on a chilly Autumn day in Australia my partner aged thirty seven and I aged thirty six stood in our underwear as our torsos were smeared in Vaseline and glitter. White faux fur boots, shorts and polar bear heads and arms completed the outfit. Later that day we would parade up Oxford Street onboard the Noah’s Ark float with hundreds of other people celebrating diversity and calling for equality as part of Sydney Mardi Gras 2000.
Under UK law and being British subjects we were able to marry at the Consulate in Sydney in 2014. Our non-abusive marriage is not recognised in Australia. The choice of entering a loving same sex marriage is not available to our Australian friends.
Happy Mardi Gras 2017.