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DAYENU

Mardi Gras question mark

"How are members of the Jewish community expected to feel welcome and safe to march in Sydney Mardi Gras 2024, as they have done for many years?" Julie McCrossin.

Dayenu is reconsidering taking part in Mardi Gras. Photo: Julie McCrossin/X
Dayenu is reconsidering taking part in Mardi Gras. Photo: Julie McCrossin/X

Gay rights activist Julie McCrossin has joined Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker-Phelps in expressing her disappointment following the release of an open letter by Sydney Mardi Gras chief executive Gil Beckwith to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The letter calls for “an immediate and enduring ceasefire in Gaza”, with no mention of the Hamas attacks on October 7. Furthermore, Mardi Gras offshoot group Pride in Protest – which has members on the Mardi Gras board – recently announced that it will be marching with a “Trans Pride, Not Genocide” float at the March 2 parade.

“I am deeply disappointed that Sydney Mardi Gras has called for a ceasefire in Gaza while making no reference to the murder and sadistic sexual violence on October 7 by Hamas,” McCrossin wrote on X.

“How are members of the Jewish community expected to feel welcome and safe to march in Sydney Mardi Gras 2024, as they have done for many years?”

McCrossin added that the Sydney Mardi Gras failed to mention the persecution of gay people within Gaza and the West Bank, who flee to Israel seeking asylum.

“Raising awareness of discrimination and advocating for the rights of LGBT+ people is core business of Mardi Gras,” she said.

Phelps and her wife Jackie told The Australian the conduct of the Mardi Gras leadership has left them feeling marginalised, while Sydney’s Jewish LGBTQIA+ group Dayenu is reconsidering its involvement in this year’s Mardi Gras for the first time in 24 years.

“We are concerned for the safety of our members in Sydney’s Queer spaces,” Dayenu said.

“At a time when our members are reporting feelings of distress and a sense of isolation from the LGBTQIA+ community and the wider community it is disappointing that Mardi Gras did not reach out to Dayenu prior to posting an open letter to the Prime Minister.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said it was “heartbreaking to see Jewish members of the LGBTQIA+ community feeling afraid and marginalised”.

“They have overcome immense challenges because of their LGBTQIA+ identities and now they are facing exclusion because of their Jewish identities. This cannot be allowed to happen,” Ryvchin said.

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