Skip to content

Mar 12, 2024

Travis shines a light on LGBTQIA+ disability inclusion

News Sexuality and Relationship Education

The 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras OURtopia parade float was a glittering success as 80 eager allies from Northcott, Afford and Cerebral Palsy Alliance danced, wheeled and marched down Oxford Street to cheering crowds to celebrate LGBTQIA+ diversity.

Find out first hand from Travis, our Northcott Mardi Gras customer ambassador, about what participating in the Mardi Gras parade was like, and what it meant to him personally.

Northcott returns to Mardi Gras

My name is Travis and I was Northcott ambassador for the 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. As one of the ambassadors in the float, I had a lot of input on various aspects concerning Northcott’s participation in this year’s parade.

In 2023 Northcott was approached by PWDA who offered ten spots in their float as Northcott missed out. I enjoyed the parade so much that when I heard that Northcott was marching this year, I wanted to be involved.

In early November, I was offered the position of Northcott’s Mardi Gras ambassador, which sounded like an important role. After I got more information about it, I officially accepted the job. As part of my role, I had to attend an online meeting between Northcott, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and Afford on an app called Teams to discuss people’s ideas for the float.

The feeling that I got from other members of the team was good because I could tell that any ideas people had were welcome to be discussed. But I also liked that each company had a customer on the team which helped make the float about the customers.

Costume build day

To kick off our Mardi Gras celebrations, Northcott’s sexuality and relationships team joined forces with Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Afford to march under the banner ‘OURtopia’, which is a title that is open to interpretation.

Our 2024 Mardi Gras celebrations started on the 9th of February with a costume build day where customers from the three organisations, marching or not, were invited to come along with their ideas for costume designs. Customers were asked to be creative and design a costume that reflected each person individually.

I bought an old singlet I could turn into a silver vest with an R on it in Pride colours. I also designed a pair of silver shorts which unfortunately, were unsuitable, but still looked good. While the volunteers were making the costumes it was time for lunch, which was a great opportunity to meet and interact with other people in the float before going home.

Float build day

On Friday the 16th of February my friend Ellen and I, along with a support worker, attended a float build day, where people and their art skills were invited back to make things for the float. This was also the first official day of the 2024 Mardi Gras festival. Unlike the week before, it was an extremely busy day for the ambassadors from all three organisations.

To mark the first day of the festival, Northcott had a flag-raising ceremony. For many people in the LBGTQIA+ community, the pride flag is a symbol of the fight that gay people had to have to be seen as equals, but for me, it’s about inclusion and that’s why I felt honoured doing it.

One of my roles as ambassador was to speak to press. The media department from the NDIA was invited to interview all of the ambassadors about our preparations for this year’s festival and how the NDIS has enabled me to participate in the parade.

I think that this was the most important thing that I’ve done as an ambassador because the three organisations and their ambassadors got to showcase the hard work that they had put into this year’s float. After a quick lunch, I had to do some last touches on my costume before rushing home.

Parade day

After months of hard work and preparation, it was time to showcase all the hard work and dedication that we had put in. After getting our names marked off, it was time for us to make our way down to the marshalling area. When you are standing and waiting, the excitement you feel is indescribable.

Last year I enjoyed marching with PWDA, but this year because I had a hand in building OURtopia and when we started moving I felt so much pride, not just in myself, but in everybody that was involved in the entire process because together we got to showcase an inclusive world for people with disability, whether they are a part of the LBGTQIA+ community or not.


As we made our way down Oxford Street, the heavens opened up and it started to rain, but that didn’t dampen the mood. As the night came to an end our spirits didn’t waver because we knew we did a great job.

I’d like to finish by thanking Northcott for the great honour of being their ambassador, I hope I have been a good representative for them at this year’s parade.

Travis Bellamy, Northcott 2024 Mardi Gras ambassador.

OURtopia in action at the 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

We respect and honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on this land and commit to building a brighter future together.

Read more about our commitment to reconciliation

Montrose is now part of Northcott!

Welcome to our new website.

If you have any questions, please speak to your Service Manager, Service Coordinator or call us on 1800 818 286.