Performer Trevor Ashley believes it's time to stop and celebrate both the achievement of marriage equality and the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

9 Feb 2018 - 9:44 AM  UPDATED 9 Feb 2018 - 9:44 AM

If Trevor Ashley wasn't camp enough already, his upcoming Mardi Gras Gala at the Sydney Opera House promises not to leave a scrap of rainbow confetti un-flung. In fact, the "Diamonds Are For Trevor" star is bringing along backup, in the form of show-man Tod McKenney, diva Paul Capsis, the legendary Carlotta, comedian Joel Creasey, and songstress Casey Donovan. 

"Look, it's the biggest hoot. The show is going to be a real variety, opening with a Latino party medley," Ashley tells SBS Sexuality, laughing with his big, brash laugh.

"To be honest, I had to justify the Carmen Miranda outfit I'm wearing on the promotional poster, so now we're doing the most ridiculous number. It's so fun."

It's set to be a poignant evening for the seasoned performer, whose previous gala effort, "From Sydney, With Love", raised funds for those impacted by the massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in 2016. Back then, Ashley rallied his extensive list of entertainment industry contacts and pulled off an elaborate evening of catharsis for mourning members of the local LGBTIQ+ community.

Now, 18 months later, Ashley believes it's time to stop and celebrate both the achievement of marriage equality and the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

"On the day of the survey results, I felt relief more than anything," Ashley recalls. "After a few bottles of wine, I eventually moved onto celebration, but when it was first announced at Prince Alfred Park, I just cried from the immense relief of it all."

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He continues: "It was such a pressure cooker in the lead-up, it was so awful to deal with. We’ve all gone through enough in our respective lives, so to go through that process on a collective level was harrowing."

Ashley says the upcoming Mardi Gras festivities will offer members of the community a chance to exhale. Together with a 14-piece orchestra, Ashley's gala follows a string of sold-out concerts last year and kicks off this year's festival a night of laughs, music and frivolity, celebrating 40 years of Mardi Gras.

"For Mardi Gras this year, I think it’ll be a nice opportunity to reflect on the moments we’ve struggled through together, but it'll also be a big celebration. The positivity of so many people getting married already, it's joyous, it’s just so wonderful."

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Brides and grooms-to-be take note: "If anyone has ever dreamed of getting married on stage at the Sydney Opera House, please get in touch," Ashley says.

"I'd love to be their wedding singer on the night."

Trevor Ashley's Mardi Gala is being held on Saturday February 18th, with tickets available here. $5.00 from every ticket purchased will go back to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, helping to fund their outreach and community grant programs.

The 40th Annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will air on Sunday, March 4 at 8:30pm on SBS.