Outback town with MP who said he’d ‘walk backwards’ to avoid gays hosts first-ever Mardi Gras

outback town Mardi gras

A tiny outback town in Queensland, Australia, will hold its first Mardi Gras party this weekend, despite being in a federal electorate held by an MP who said LGBT+ rights were a “waste of time”.

Cloncurry has fewer than 3,000 residents, of which more than half voted “no” in the same-sex marriage plebiscite, and is in the federal electorate of MP Bob Katter.

Katter is notoriously anti-LGBT+. The federal MP once claimed that there were “no homosexuals in North Queensland”, and said in 1989 that he would “walk to Bourke backwards if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001 per cent”.

In 2011, he said that same-sex marriage “‘deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed – it doesn’t deserve any serious treatment”.

According to the Star Observer, last year in a radio interview Katter, who has a gay brother, said: “In my whole life up to 50, I had never seen or heard of a homosexual person.

“Now it’s fashionable, it’s just like a fashion trend — tomorrow there’ll be another fashion. I just don’t want to waste any time on it.”

But now, 42 years after the first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Cloncurry will hold its own celebration for the first time.

outback town Mardi gras

The Post Office Hotel pub in Cloncurry will host the town’s first-ever Mardi Gras party. (kemiimaguire/ Twitter)

According to Brisbane Times, the Mardi Gras party will include drag queen bingo, costume competitions and a live-stream of Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade.

Trevor Jones, who manages the pub where the party will be held, said there had been “a bit of negative talk around town but nothing too major”.

He continued: “The response has been very positive and the majority of the town is excited to take part in something they haven’t witnessed before.

“Some mothers have been ringing up saying they are coming along to represent their kids who are away at college.

“For me, being raised in the outback, I like to promote alternative ideas to the community so they can experience what is out there.”