Thursday is the day where I start my volunteering for Cardiff – Wales Mardi Gras, which is held on the Saturday 3rd September,the biggest LGBT event in Wales and I think to myself, is what happens during Mardi Gras, a protest or has it become commercialised like so many across the UK.
Well, let’s look at the facts shall we;
Cardiff-Wales Mardi Gras is an event held in Coopers Field, a very central location to the City Centre of Cardiff and is free to enter (however the organisers ask for donations as it has to be paid for somehow) and anyone can go, it isn’t an exclusive LGBT only event, it is built so that it accommodates for families, young and older people, it isn’t only for those who can afford it, anyone can enter the park, no matter who you are so this surely argues that it is not worked towards commercialisation.
What defines a protest? Do you need a Parade and screaming in the streets to make a mark? For me, a protest comes in many forms and from my experience of Cardiff-Wales Mardi Gras, yes, businesses may see it as a chance to make money, and yes people may turn it into to another chance to get drunk however for me you enter Cardiff early on that Saturday morning from the time you get off the train and Cardiff is filled with the diverse community that is the LGBT community and yes it may only be one day but this one day is a protest because Cardiff see for themselves, that we do exist and that we can live our lives exactly like they do.
The Arts festival, launched last year by the committee for Mardi Gras happens all over the city centre and the aim is to incorporate LGBT culture into different shows and it is going from strength to strength – so again is this a protest or is it just an excuse for a party? I’ll let you be the judge of that one!
So to round this up no matter how controversial this may be for some people, I think what the point of it is, is to highlight that maybe for you Cardiff-Wales Mardi Gras may not be a protest but for me it is just that.
NUS Wales LGBT Officer