Mardi Gras, mannequins and what matters
“What matters to me is for everyone – no matter who they are or where they come from – to be included. Everyone is beautiful and, as they say, love is love!”
Cassie, our customer from Tamworth, could not have summed up the theme of the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras any better.
Last Saturday night Cassie joined more than 100 customers, staff and friends of Northcott, Creativity Inc and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) to march with our Mardi Gras float and promote the sexuality needs and rights of people with disability.
“This is my second year. The first time I came with Northcott it was a fabulous experience. This year I’m hoping to get a lot more out of it, to see more and experience the fun. I wanted to bring [fellow Northcott Tamworth customer] Jessica because I wanted a group of people to share the experience with,” Cassie said.
Rachel, one of our Taree Everyday Life Skills customers who also attended, said she was excited to be in Sydney for the iconic event.
“Six customers and staff came from Taree. I’ve never been [to the Mardi Gras] before. I have two gay uncles and a gay great uncle. I came because I wanted to be supportive of them. I’m looking forward to seeing all the costumes and floats,” Rachel said.
This year was also the first time customers from Creativity Inc – a new division of Northcott – joined in the parade. Creativity Inc’s Day Program Coordinator, Andrew Cahill, and Support Worker, Oscar Rosenberg, came with customers Vitor and Michaela, and Michaela’s mother, Victoria.
“For years we’ve been fighting for inclusion – as everybody from different walks of life do. This is a day where everyone can be whoever they want to be. I enjoy the atmosphere, the inclusiveness, and the accessibility,” Victoria explained.
“When I heard about the Northcott float, we jumped at the chance to join. I just knew Michaela would want to be included.”
Northcott has been participating in the Mardi Gras parade since 2014, providing LGBTQI+ customers and their friends with the chance to feel included, while also highlighting the sexuality needs of people with disability. This year, we supported Northcott customers from throughout metropolitan Sydney, Wollongong, Taree, Mt Hutton (near Newcastle) and Tamworth to attend.
Our float, which received assistance from a Google Mardi Gras Parade Grant, featured six brightly coloured mannequins representing six important rights for people with disability: the right to make choices; the right to enjoy sex; the right to learn about sex; the right to be visible; the right to learn about our body; and the right to be free from abuse.
Impressed by the mannequins on our float? Read about our float build day.
In 2019, our float was the ‘Fearless Express’. In that year, we used the Mardi Gras parade to raise awareness of public transport accessibility issues.