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Feb 09, 2024

A dream come true, Travis’ World Pride experience!

News Sexuality and Relationship Education

Travis is a customer at Northcott and this year he got to achieve his dream and be part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade! He also attended several World Pride events and generously wrote a story for us. In this story he dives deep into all the need-to-know details of the events he went to and shares his perspective.

Introducing Travis

Hi my name is Travis. In 2022 I came out as a gay man. I got the honour to represent Northcott at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2023. When first asked if I wished to be a part of the People With Disability Australia (PWDA) float as a representative from Northcott, I jumped at the chance. Since I was a teenager, I had always wanted to experience the parade. It always looked so fun, and anybody regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race or ability could attend.

Event 1 – Bondi Beach

During the first weekend of the World Pride festival one of the things that I wanted to do was go around Sydney to see how the city was decorated. As it was the first weekend of pride, we knew the city would be busy, so we looked online to see what else was on and decided to go to Bondi. It was a hot sunny day, so I had my shirt off.

As we were looking around, we saw the pavilion had free face painting, so we got our bodies painted in pride colours to show our support for the LGBTQIAS+ community. After we took photos of ourselves in between two big pride flags we then walked down to the beach where a mural was painted on the sea wall. The mural had a sky-blue background with a big rainbow between the progress flag and the gay pride flag. It was beautiful!

Event 2 – Fair Day

The next day a Support Worker took us to Fair Day in Camperdown. Fair Day is a family event with stalls and entertainment. The stalls have everything from pride merchandise to flyers and informational packets about various services on offer for people in the LGBTQIAS+ community. I had never been to Fair Day before, so I was interested to explore it. It was very crowded and there was a lot of grass and dirt paths making it not very wheelchair friendly. After half an hour of looking we managed to find our Northcott stall and catch up with people that we knew. It was a good experience but as it was crowded, we decided to head into the city and to Circular Quay.

Event 3 – Mardi Gras

One of my dreams since I was a teenager has been to experience the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. After years of watching all the excitement on TV I couldn’t believe I was finally going to be part of it. My mother dropped my Support Worker and I at the and we headed over to Hyde Park. This is where everyone is the parade was meeting. I received my ticket via email and I feeling so excited when I saw it. While my Support Worker and I waited for the for the people we were marching with, I saw a small stall that was selling pride merchandise. In the spirit of Mardi Gras and inclusion, I bought a big pride flag which I waved proudly the whole parade. Once the other people in our PWDA float arrived, it was time to head to Oxford Street. When we started walking, I was overcome with excitement. Due to my cerebral palsy, I have spasms, especially when I get super excited. This excitement was like nothing that I had ever experienced before.

The roar from the crowd and the motors from other vehicle in various floats was so loud that it made your ears ring and your heart race! We started marching.  Halfway through the parade I had one of my spasms and accidentally kicked the break on my chair and lost one shoe. Once my Support Worker finally got my chair working again, we had to leave my shoe where it was and rush to catch up to the rest of the float.

It was soon apparent to me that I wasn’t the first person to lose something in the parade because someone from PWDA was pushing a chair with items that people had lost. As we entered Taylor square my body was covered in sweat from dancing and my arms were getting sore from waving the flag. As we approached the I started to feel sad because the amazing night I had was almost over.

If you are considering going to the Mardi Gras one year, I say just go because it is so full of fun and inclusivity!

Event 4 – Harbour Bridge Pride March

Sunday March 5 was the last day of World Pride. My Life Skills and Respite Coordinator at Northcott managed to organise two tickets for me and my friend Ellen to do the bridge walk with one of our Support Workers. We got up at 5am to be at North Sydney by 6:30am. We joined the rest of the Northcott staff and started the walk.

The Pride March was different from the parade as it was more a demonstration than a party. The March was to show support for the LGBTQIAS+ community and to farewell World Pride Sydney. We walked with thousands of people. Many were stopping to take photos and enjoy the views. We took a few photos before continuing walking. We then wandered up to Oxford Street which was turned into a pride street party. We walked around and I got some lunch. After buying lunch we went back to the park to eat and relax before heading home.

This marked the end of my World Pride experiences and I can honestly say I had an incredible time!

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