This was the first time in history that we officially participated in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, which was marched by 12,500 people and attended by an estimated 500,000 spectators
Fifty of us, including partners and friends, marched the 10K-long route proudly under the theme ‘Love Your Nature’, wearing amazing botanical costumes or hats behind our truck covered with flowers (made of recycled fabric) and greens donated by our horticultural teams.
Significantly, the Parade appeared to have a record number of government organizations
among the 197 floats who participated.
This year was also marked by the participation of several other scientific organizations, including UNSW, University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, Taronga Zoo, and CSIRO.
All who marched, LGBTQI-identifying staff and allies, talked of an incredible experience, with a very positive and contagious energy throughout the night. This was our first (but definitely not last) time for most of us.
The preparations in the months and weeks leading up to the event also proved a remarkable ‘team-building’ experience, allowing many of us from very different sections of the organization to get to know each other much better and work together towards the same goal.
We were also very lucky to have our own DJ and own choreographer, who had us repeat our dance steps fearlessly (well, actually, it was terrifying at first) over and over until we got it almost right.