Hay hosts its first Mardi Gras, teaches the Riverina about acceptance

The Hay Plains has a distinct colour scheme – browns, oranges, reds and a little bit of green.

That was all changed at the weekend when the outback, country town hosted its first Mardi Gras.

The area was awash with rainbows flags, decorations and outfits for the event, bringing some colour, and a very important message, to the town.

And what a turnout it received.

You often hear stories about growing up gay in the bush, how hard it is to come out, the criticism received and the backlash received from the community.

But not in Hay.

This event said it loud and proud – Hay is here for you.

Businesses decorated their windows and residents lined the street for the parade in support of the LGBTQI community in a show of unity that can be quite rare in country towns.

People dressed in their best and quirkiest rainbow outfits and weren’t afraid to get a little bit creative with their transportation in the parade.

The rest of the Riverina could learn a lesson about tolerance and acceptance from Hay.

This was the first Mardi Gras, and the 40th anniversary of the inaugural event in Sydney, since the same-sex marriage law was passed late last year.

The new law gives this Mardi Gras a special meaning, a new level of acceptance and recognition for the LGBTQI community.

It was not only members of that community that attended, either.

People of all ages, sexualities and Riverina towns and cities threw their support behind the event.

It says a lot about us as a region when we are willing to support an inaugural event, especially one with as much significance as this one.

From all photos and reports, it seems as though everyone had a genuinely fun time and it really paves the way for future events, not just in Hay but perhaps in other towns in the Riverina.

Should Wagga host its own version of Mardi Gras in 2019?

The city has already hosted same-sex marriages and welcome the law changes with open arms.

Should we take our celebrations to the next level and paint the streets rainbow in support of all things LGBTQI?


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