A strong contingent of the Northern Territory’s LGBTIQ community and allies will proudly march in the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade next month.
Over 85 people will participate in the “Northern Territory Stars” float at this year’s parade on Saturday, March 4. Organisers say the float is themed to represent the “Shining night sky of the NT and all the uniqueness we have to offer”.
It’s being organised by Darwin-born theatre makers Daniel Cunningham and Ben Graetz, the creators of the NT capital’s “Departure Lounge” parties, in partnership with the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC).
Daniel and Ben are also known across the country as their drag identities Marzi Panne and Miss Ellaneous (both pictured, left).
“All the stars in the sky are special and unique, just like the LGBTIQ community in the NT,” Cunningham said.
“We’re over the moon that such a large contingent of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous community are able to attend.
“Some of them have never left the NT before, and here we are getting them to walk proud and strong in front of thousands in the parade.”
The float’s centrepiece is a huge, inflatable star, which will illuminate the float amidst hundreds of fairy lights adorning participants as they march.
Cunningham said he and the other organisers were overjoyed to announce that Territory-born actress Miranda Tapsell – from “Newton’s Law”, “The Sapphires”, “Love Child”, “Black Comedy”, and “Play School” – will be marching again this year with her mum and aunt.
“We’re also honoured to have leading Aboriginal model and youth and family advocate Casey Conway (pictured, below) with us,” he said.
“Casey is the face of NTAHC’s ‘Drama Down Under’ sexual health awareness campaign and we’re really excited to have him join the float.”
Another highlight of the NT’s 2017 Mardi Gras presence will be the attendance of more than two dozen “sistergirls” who are travelling from the remote Tiwi Islands to Mardi Gras.
The girls started a crowdfunding campaign last September to raise money to travel to Sydney to march in their first ever Mardi Gras parade.
“The Sista Gals stand strong in their traditional dances and songs and continue to share their culture and stories for all of the LGBTIQ community. They have worked hard to raise their own money to get them to the parade.
The float this year has been funded through various fundraising activities by throughout Sydney and the Northern Territory, and also from the generous donations of local individuals and Top End businesses.
This year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will be held on March 4, streamed live on the SBS website on the night and televised on SBS on March 5.