Negotiating difference across time: The temporal meanings of the Sydney mardi gras in lesbian and gay life narratives
This paper examines the temporal meanings of the annual LGBTI pride event, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Drawing on findings from a large-scale oral history project, the paper explores ways in which Australian lesbians and gay men place Mardi Gras within life narratives. Three temporal frameworks were commonly used by our interviewees. First, Mardi Gras acted as an annual temporal marker through which to plan a year. Second, changing personal understandings of Mardi Gras were used by interviewees to position themselves within the life course. Third, the shifting meanings of Mardi Gras were deployed as a means of narrating broader historical changes in the LGBTI community. We argue that, although lesbian and gay identities might now be considered increasingly mainstream and even "ordinary", each of these temporal frameworks represents the continued differing experiences of time and space between homosexual and heterosexual lives.