Police will march in Mardi Gras parade but out of uniform

Police will march in Mardi Gras parade but out of uniform
Image: Sydney Gay And Lesbian Mardi Gras On March 5, 2022

NSW Police and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Board have reached an agreement that will allow police officers to march in this year’s parade, but not in uniform. 

“The Mardi Gras Board has reached an agreement with us that will allow NSW Police to march in this year’s parade. Police have agreed not to march in uniform, in consideration of current sensitivities,” NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said in a statement. 

“I am delighted that our LGBTQIA+ officers, as well as our other police who are allies and supporters, will be allowed to march this year as they have done for the past 20 years,” said Webb. 

Out gay Sydney MP Alex Greenwich welcomed the agreement between the Board and NSW Police. “This outcome is a significant step in the importance of the LGBTQ community and police working together towards community safety,” Greenwich said in a statement.

“Having the focus on gay and lesbian liaison police officers, and not in uniform, is an appropriate compromise to address community concerns about the police needing to improve their approach to the LGBTQ community and our events,” the MP said.

Board  Requests Police Not To March

Earlier this week, the board said it had requested the police not to march in this year’s parade that will take place on March 3, 2024. This followed NSW Senior Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon brunch charged with the murders of former TV presenter Jesse Baird and his boyfriend Qantas flight attendant Luke Davies last week.

“In recent days many have voiced their concerns to us, particularly regarding feelings of unease at the Parade. Their concerns centre on whether it can still be a space to protest, celebrate, and advocate for equality, as well as to honour and grieve for those we’ve lost, given the NSW Police’s participation in this year’s event,” the board said in a statement on Monday. 

“Our community needs space to grieve the loss of Jesse and Luke who, before this tragedy, would have been here celebrating with us at the Festival,” the board added. 

Out Of Uniform

Following the board’s request, police Minister Yasmin Catley MP and Police Commissioner Webb held discussions with the board.

“As a result of the discussions, and police commitment to actions, an agreement was reached that LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officers (GLLO) will participate in this year’s parade in a reduced capacity to the originally-planned NSW Police float. To address concerns from the community the GLLO participants will march in the 2024 Parade out of uniform,” the board said in a statement provided to Star Observer.

“This weekend’s Parade is a beacon of hope, pride, celebration and inclusivity – this outcome allows for GLLO’s who volunteer their time and service to the community to participate in the event in a considered and respectful way as we navigate this tragedy together.”

The Board said it has also discussed “the Police commitment to and implementation of an external strategic LGBTQIA+ advisory panel working with the NSW Police following the recommendations of the Inquiry into LGBTQ Hate Crimes.”

“Ensuring the advancement of representation and that the Commissioner is adequately informed on issues impacting the community, including LGBTQIA+ domestic violence,” the Board said.

“It was also recognised in the discussion that greater communication and understanding is needed between the Police, NSW Government, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the broader LGBTQIA+ community. Police and LGBTQIA+ communities have shared a difficult history, which must inform the continued development of communication and collaboration,” the Board added.

Greenwich said that the focus must now shift to “what support, funding and resources the LGBTIQA+ community need from the NSW Government and the police to improve the wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people in NSW.”



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