On Saturday 25 February over 60 people from the LIS community came together to march and dance in the 2023 Sydney Mardi Gras parade. We asked ALIA's Learning Services Coordinator (and participant in the parade) Jacqui Lucas to tell us about her experience of this wonderful occasion.
Participating in ‘The Librarians’ float for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was an unparalleled joyous experience. The float was almost a year in preparation, with applications to be presented, music to be mixed, designs to be realised, props and costumes created, choreography planned, and dance moves perfected. It all culminated in an incredibly successful entry on Saturday night.
ALIA Rainbow Convenor and Waverly Library Manager, Library and Learning Futures, Corinna Pierce, was the powerhouse behind the organisation of the float and led 60 queer library people and allies from around the country and from all different kinds of libraries, in the parade. Meeting other librarians, collaborating, and sharing ideas, skills and resources was a lovely aspect of participating in the lead up to the big day but nothing could have prepared us for the reception we received from the public during the parade.
We started out dancing to a remix of Bjork’s “It’s oh so quiet” and the crowds were engaging with shushing , laughing and calling out “I love libraries!”. Auslan “thank you’s” were seen amongst the overwhelming sea of smiling faces. And then as we broke into our wild, techno, and very camp dance, huge joyous roars arose from the crowd in support. It was utterly, utterly amazing. Libraries do indeed change lives!
Libraries and librarians have such a significant role to play for diverse communities. For LGBTIQIA+ communities we aim to provide collections where people can see themselves represented; programs and services that help community flourish; freedom of access to accurate information; and spaces that are safe and welcoming. For neurodiverse and queer communities in particular, libraries can provide a sanctuary and sense of belonging.
It was an absolute privilege to be part of this very special WorldPride Mardi Gras and to remind everyone that libraries are places that elevate our humanity. They are places where people can gather, to dream and to have their voices not “shushed” but amplified.