By Ashmita Rijal
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) is one of the oldest continuously operating LGBTQI organizations in Australia. SGLMG was built on the foundations laid by early community activists who fought for LGBTQI rights in a time of wide-spread, institutionalized oppression and discrimination.
Every year, SGLMG draws attendees from not only Australia but also from across the globe.
This year, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) opted for an innovative approach to support the festival. AFP posted a video on its official Facebook page that showed its officers responding to derogatory comments made by social media users for supporting the Mardi Gras event.
With the video, AFP wrote, “Every year, the AFP marches in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. We march in support of our colleagues, family and friends. We march in support of the whole community. We march because it matters. But our social media followers don’t always agree. Every year our accounts become a magnet for negative comments like the ones in this video. We hope this year, we see more positive comments as we march on.”
The video, uploaded some eight hours ago, has received more than 400 replies that are mostly in support of AFP. One user wrote, “We all need to learn to have more tolerance way to go AFP.”
However, some users continued to slam the police department for not supporting the parade in the past. A user wrote, “Police were there at the very first Mardi Gras. Bashing and arresting participants. Such a long proud history they have.”
In its reply to the user, AFP said, “2020 marks the 21st year of the AFP marching in the Mardi Gras. The AFP Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer network was established in 1996. The history may not always have been proud, but we are proud of our commitment to supporting the LGBTQI community.”
Welcoming the positive as well as negative comments with some wit can be termed as a progressive stride on the part of AFP.