Thirty years ago six women on motorbikes joined the Sydney Mardi Gras parade for the first time.
The Dykes on Bikes were in it for the fun of it, but they had an important role – they provided safety at a time when many in the community were being harassed, beaten, and even murdered.
For Illawarra couple Deni Murray and Rylee Cole, the ride is about standing strong and proud.
“We’ve been together 12 years and this will be our fifth time in Dykes on Bikes,” Deni said.
“We’ve got photos of our first time in 2007 on a sport bike as a sexy cop and pilot, then in 2010 on an orange Sportster Harley dressed as Grand Prix flag girls.”
It’s a bit of fun for the couple, Saturday night will mean a whole lot more than a wild night out.
“It’s the one day when everyone comes together to celebrate love and equality,” Deni said.
“The parade is full of diverse people, stories and creativity. The streets are lined with thousands of people, some from all over the world, smiling, waving and showing their support of acceptance.
Read more: Mardi Gras feels the love as it turns 40
“Acceptance was once never ever experienced in our day-to-day lives. We didn’t feel comfortable going out and the Mardi Gras was the safe place you could be just for one day.
“Now is so different, it is safer to be yourself - so now it is more a celebration to share with the community because everyone knows we sure know how to throw a good party.”
Deni and Rylee will be part of a 200-plus team of Dykes on Bikes proud to take the lead in Saturday’s parade.
The story Illawarra couple ready to party at Mardi Gras 2018 first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.