Mardi Gras Parade Opened With Minute Of Silence In Honour Of Jesse Baird And Luke Davies

As Sydney’s annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade kicked off on Saturday evening, the colourful and joyous festivities began with a touching sombre note, as the community paid tribute to the late Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

In honour of Baird and Davies — a young couple who made headlines the week before Mardi Gras when they were allegedly murdered by NSW officer Beau Lamarre-Condon — before any of the floats made their across Oxford Street, a tribute was held for the two men.

After the lesbian motorcycle club Dykes On Bikes rode down the route to symbol the beginning of the proceedings, before getting the party started they stopped at Taylor Square.

While there, they held a moment of silence for Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

‘Dykes on Bikes’ start off the parade. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

The Dykes On Bikes then completed their lap, and a welcome to country was made by Miss Nana Koori, an Indigenous drag queen, who also paid tribute to Baird and Davies.

“I’d like to offer my condolences to the families of two brothers who were taken away tragically from us,” shared the drag queen.

As the iconic queer event began with a float by the First Nations Community to kick it off, more and more made their way down the parade’s route, with many continuing to pay tribute to the couple in various ways.

“As we come together to celebrate love, diversity, and acceptance at this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, we also take a moment to reflect, remember, and pay our respects,” read a statement from Mardi Gras organisers.

Jesse Baird, who worked both as a former presenter for Network 10 and as an umpire for the AFL, was given a special tribute by one of his former companies.

AFL team the Sydney Swans commemorated the former umpire by having its parade members wear black arm bands in tribute.

Additionally, in memory of its former employee Qantas included Luke Davies’ name on the side of its float, as he was a flight attendant up until his premature death.

Sydney’s 46th Mardi Gras parade heavily featured in headlines this week due to controversies around the inclusion/exclusion of NSW Police in the parade.

Calls were made for NSW Police to sit out of the parade this year, due the alleged murderer of Baird and Davies being a member of the state’s police force.

Despite originally being asked not to take part, police commissioner Karen Webb met with organisers and eventually agreed that cops could attend, but not in uniform.