To celebrate pride, diversity and the Mardi Gras season, Lifesavers with Pride have teamed up with local Surf Life Saving Clubs to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to our iconic beaches.
As part of the Rainbow Beaches celebration, surf clubs up and down the coast are getting out their rainbow best this Sunday Feb 27, with beach patrollers, nippers and swimming clubs adding colour to their equipment and fluro zinc to their sun protection. Some clubs are also planning additional activities, including “paddle outs” (conditions dependent) and have engaged with local councils and businesses to show their support.
Local Clubs hosting Rainbow Beaches celebrations include Dee Why, Bigola, Avalon and Queenscliff. There’s also Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee and Bondi in Sydney’s East; and Byron Bay, Brunswick and Yamba in regional NSW.
Taking place the weekend before the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, Rainbow Beaches is a grassroots initiative among members of Surf Life Saving that celebrates the strength and diversity of clubs and coastal communities by bringing the spirit of Mardi Gras to the beach.
Ivan Power from Lifesavers With Pride (LWP), who developed this initiative with LWP Chair Gary Driscoll, said, “Surf Life Saving has evolved to become far more diverse and inclusive since it was formed over 100 years ago to make our beaches safer. The more diverse, inclusive and welcoming we are as a community, the stronger and more effective our movement can be.
“Surf Life Saving clubs are part of communities right around our country whose culture has changed substantially in recent years, reflecting the communities and members they serve. We are so pleased to be working with Mardi Gras to empower our members and clubs to show the progressive and inclusive nature of our communities and our movement,” said Power.
Albert Kruger, CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said “It’s wonderful to see so many beaches involved in this year’s Rainbow Beaches event. Community initiatives like Rainbow Beaches are important because they let the LGBTQIA+ community know that we are welcome, we are accepted and celebrated.”
For over a decade, Lifesavers with Pride (LWP) have marched in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade to highlight the safe, proud and progressive nature of Surf Life Saving, one of Australia’s oldest and largest community movements.
Just like LWP’s annual parade entries, Rainbow Beaches is another way that Surf Life Saving is demonstrating that clubs are diverse and inclusive, and that everyone is welcome to join our great community.
What: Rainbow Beaches
When: Sunday 27 February 2022
Northern Beaches: including Dee Why, Bigola, Avalon and Queenscliff
Sydney’s East: including Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee and Bondi
Regional: including Byron Bay, Brunswick, Yamba