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New Mardi Gras, Anti-Community?

A sponsorship deal signed between Mardi Gras and Gaydar has meant rivals such as Pink Sofa will not be allowed to participate in Sydney’s upcoming fairday or the parade down Oxford Street for the first time.

Gaydar has sponsored the event for a three-year period to the value of $1.5 million. Chair of New Mardi Gras, Marcus Bourget, told the Sydney Star Observer, “As gaydar.com.au has the presentation rights to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, it precludes us from allowing competing websites to have that presence.”

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Pink Sofa is in direct commercial competition with Gaydar. Mr Bourget went on to say that Pink Sofa members and any other representatives of online competitors to Gaydar.com.au were welcome to participate in the festivities as individuals. Chief executive officer for Pink Sofa, Liz James of Adelaide, said that organisers were jeopardising the spirit of Mardi Gras and that by opting for the immediate cash injection from Gaydar they were putting its financial future at risk. “It”s a sad day when the little gay and lesbian businesses can”t participate on the biggest day of the year,” James told the Star.

Bourget rejected claims that Mardi Gras was anti-community citing the 1,300 volunteers who donate their time to make Mardi Gras happen. “Mardi Gras is put on by the community”, he said.

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