This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Lifesavers with Pride’s involvement in the world famous Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney.
The group are always a crowd favourite and are well known for their athletic performances promoting surf lifesaving as an inclusive community organisation.
This year’s theme is Momentum and the Lifesavers with Pride will celebrate by sending a wave of colour down Oxford street flying their rainbow towels and performing their well-rehearsed routine.
Approximately 100 surf lifesavers will travel from surf clubs all around the country to march in this year’s parade.
The Lifesavers with Pride are always one of the favourite floats in the parade, so if you make it down make sure you show your support by giving them an extra cheer.
We interviewed some of the lifesavers marching this weekend, this is what they said when we asked them why they were involved:
Wayne, Coogee SLSC – Surf lifesaving for five years
I had such a ball last year that I had to come back and do it all again. Lifesaving is about community and the one thing about community that should never be forgotten is inclusiveness. Society needs to include people from all walks of life whether that be religious, cultural or sexual. That’s my reasoning.
Ronan, Tamarama SLSC – Surf lifesaving for 13 years (Co-founder of Lifesavers with Pride)
I helped start the group because I knew a lot of gay people who were involved in surf lifesaving particularly in the Eastern suburbs and thought that we should be celebrating diversity and acceptance within lifesaving. The inclusive nature of surf life saving in Australia, as evidenced by Life Savers with Pride, is actually something that draws younger members into surf life saving. The main message we want to share is that everyone is equal on the beach in Australia.
Julie Hodges, Burning Palms and North Bondi SLSC – Surf Life Saving for seven years
It’s a really progressive movement and I think Surf Life Saving Australia has really embraced the clubs involvement. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s just a really great thing to be involved in. It’s great fun, it keeps us fit and healthy and we make amazing friendships out of it.
Drew, North Bondi SLSC – Surf lifesaving for 11 years (Co-founder of Lifesavers with Pride)
When I joined lifesaving I thought, this is the best experience, why aren’t more of my gay friends part of this so I gradually started recruiting more and more people to join. This is one of the great things that Surf Life Saving does that shows off its diversity and for that I’m really proud.
Dave, North Bondi SLSC, Surf lifesaving for 18 months
I think it’s important to give back to the community no matter what community you are part of. Through the Mardi Gras we can give back to the gay and the lifesaving community at the same time.
Jake, Wanda SLSC – Surf lifesaving for 12 years (since he was 14)
Will, Elouera SLSC – Surf lifesaving since he was in Under 9’s
There is always a lot of members from the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore and we thought we would try and bring it down to the Shire. Traditionally lifesaving was seen to be a very heterosexual thing to be involved in and sometimes when we told people we were gay they seemed a bit shocked because we were also surf lifesavers. For us Mardi Gras is a way to promote that you can be gay and be a surf lifesaver. We both love surf lifesaving!
Karen, North Bondi SLSC, Surf lifesaving for a year
To support diversity and be part of something bigger than myself. I’m so excited. It’s a great and diverse community and it’s great to see so many people coming together from so many clubs.
Wallace, North Bondi SLSC, Surf lifesaving for ten years
It’s about equality and I think this is a really good opportunity to represent sports and lifesaving in Australia as it’s a huge part of Australian culture. Part of the reason we do the Mardi Gras is to get people involved in the local clubs by showing how fun and inclusive lifesaving is.
Kane, North Bondi SLSC – started Surf lifesaving this year
North Bondi is a really inclusive club, I’ve made a great bunch of new friends, and straight or gay everyone is welcome. I’m marching in the Mardi Gras to have fun and raise awareness about the inclusiveness of surf life saving.
Anthony, Coogee SLSC – Surf Lifesaving for three years
I decided to do the Mardi Gras because it was fun, my friends are here and its a great way to promote surf life saving as an inclusive organisation. We get such a big turnout with so many people yelling and cheering support for us.
Bastien, Bondi SLSC – Surf lifesaving for 11 years
Because surf life saving should be about all the values we practice on the beach, we would never discriminate about who we save and it’s really important that we stand up and make sure everyone is getting a fair go.
Linzi, Coogee SLSC, Surf lifesaving for six years
One of my friends is gay and I just think that it should be something we celebrate. Surf life saving is definitely an inclusive organisation everyone should be involved in.