As we announced months ago, Cher headlined the 40th anniversary celebration of Australia’s gay and lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney this weekend. But Cher got some flack from Twitter users for taking a picture with Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Fans quickly spoke out about the Cher Malcolm Turnbull photo, accusing Turnbull of harming the country’s LGBTQ community.
Turnbull’s photo with Cher also included his wife Lucy and the News South Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. Turnbull then posted the image on Twitter with the following message: “Welcome to Sydney, Cher! @GladysB Lucy and I and all your fans thrilled to be with you at the 40th Mardi Gras & first since Australia achieved marriage equality.”
You may recall that Australia only recently legalized marriage equality in December 2017 after a non-binding nationwide mail-in plebiscite asked voters whether the country should legalize same-sex marriage.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 3, 2018
Many LGBTQ Australians saw the $100 million plebiscite as a cowardly political move that took an unnecessary emotional toll on the country’s LGBTQ population. Australian LGBTQ and HIV activist Nic Holas said that the marriage plebiscite forced Australians to have a public debate on same-sex relationships with a “really ugly ‘No’ campaign running … lots of misinformation and lies.”
A joint study between The Australia Institute and the National LGBTI Health Alliance found a majority of queer respondents said the negative campaigning against marriage equality increased their stress.
Seeing the Cher Malcolm Turnbull photo, one Twitter user named Kirsty Webeck wrote, “Look, I hate to hold a grudge, Malc, but you subjected LGBTIQ communities to a horror period of public homophobia, vitriol and trauma last year. I don’t know that our Mardi Gras is *for* you.”
Another named Mattie Love wrote, “Hey @cher, I love you but, did @TurnbullMalcolm tell you he has a whole review being held to enshrine discrimination again the LGBTIQ community???” This comment might refer to Turnbull’s de-funding of his country’s anti-LGBTQ safe school programs.
Cher initially responded:
I’m not sure what you mean.
The Man I Talked To Seemed PROUD OF EVERYONE AT THE PARADE. Am I Missing. Something⁉
The Man I TALKED Could Be Reasoned With,The Man I Talked TO Believes In Equal Rights for ALL OF HIS PPL.THE MAN I TAKED TO WILL LISTEN &
After fans told her about the plebiscite, she wrote:
School me….. I have a little fight Left. I told him how I detest trump….trump values NOTHING & NO ONE‼ Can your prime minister LEARN Your Value⁉Can He Minister To you⁉If He Cant,you owe him No Allegiance,If He Can Be turned around,TRY
It’s cool that Cher listened to her LGBTQ fans and also encouraged them to do what they needed. Now, in case you missed it, here’s footage of Cher’s performance at the Sydney Mardi Gras.