Mardi Gras float for Carmen as icon remembered in NZ
A ‘Carmen Sea Of Love’ float in honour of the late trans-Tasman transgender icon, Carmen Rupe, will take part in this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade, with members of the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust (CRMT) to be joined by up to 100 marchers including the likes of diva queen Christy McNicol.
It comes as Rupe was honoured last weekend at a special remembrance ceremony in Auckland having died in Sydney, aged 75, following months of poor health.
A New Zealand ceremony was held as many of Rupe’s family, friends, and supporters could not make the earlier funeral service in Sydney.
About 250 people including gay NZ politicians like Labour MP Charles Chauvel, Maori kaumātua (elders) as well old friends from the LGBT community gathered at Auckland’s St Matthews Church on Saturday, February 11 to pay their respects and offer their tributes.
New Zealand Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley echoed the thoughts of many when he praised Carmen for the courage to fight for her convictions.
“Before Stonewall, before law reform, before human rights legislation, before prostitution law reform there was Carmen,” Tankersley said.
During the event, Chauvel urged people to remember Carmen’s bold and vivacious personality, GayNZ.com reports.
“Celebrate the joy she brought into our lives. Carmen embodied dignity, equality and a little bit of glamour ... let’s continue to strive for those things,” he said.
While celebrity journalist and gossip columnist David Hartnell brought the crowd to its feet for one more “final standing ovation” for the much-loved entertainer and entrepreneur.
“Let me tell you there are some people who would have been a star no matter what – and Carmen was one of those people,” he said.
“Carmen was a Diva - a Style Icon – and Artist - and a very generous giving soul.”
A float to celebrate Rupe’s life will be entered into this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade, with CRMT spokesperson Kelly Glanney thanking the assistance of a number of businesses, including Reverse Garbage, Bunnings, Coates Hire and Brightwell & Sons for making it possible in such a short space of time.
“Our next step is recruiting energetic people whose passion for celebrating Carmen’s legacy will help us reflect the fabulous diversity of the many communities which Carmen loved and found love in over the course of her lifetime.
“We’re looking for people of all sexual preferences and gender expressions, as well as from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds who are willing to dress to impress and shake their booty all the way up the parade route in celebration of our dearly departed Diva’s remarkable life,” Glanney said.
“Our hope is that this trans-Tasman 'Sea of Love' will commemorate, celebrate and pay homage to the remarkable life of Carmen Rupe amidst a cavalcade of sound, colour and movement.”
- Tags: Auckland, Australia, Carmen Rupe, Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust, Charles Chauvel, Christy McNicol, Drag, Icon, Kelly Glanney, New Zealand, Richard Tankersley, SX, Sydney, Sydney Mardi Gras, Transgender