The Australian Foundation for Disability (Afford), Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), and Northcott are proud to announce their collaboration on a vibrant float in the highly anticipated 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) Festival and Parade on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

This marks a historic moment as it will represent the inaugural partnership of these three leading disability service providers. The decision to come together underscores a collective commitment to celebrating the rights, love, and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community, aligning with the spirit of the SGLMG Festival and Parade.

Named ‘OURtopia,’ the float aims to inspire everyone to envision a fully inclusive future, encouraging them to imagine “OUR utopia.” Themed to look like a time machine, the float promises a joyous display with participants dancing along Oxford Street to the beat of the music.

The Parade will see clients and employees from Afford, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and Northcott marching proudly alongside the ‘OURtopia’ float. Volunteers from each organisation are also coming together to contribute costume materials and float supplies. Their commitment extends to volunteering time and skills at dedicated costume-making and float-building days.

Client ambassadors from each organisation play a key role in bringing this float to life, contributing to every stage of planning and design.

“I am happy for Afford in Mardi Gras. I go to meetings and say what I think for the parade. I like walking in Mardi Gras. I meet more gay friends and they talk to me and ask me my name. It’s good fun and all the people are together,” said Afford client ambassador, Andrew Bryson.

“Having a disability doesn’t define me as a person and it doesn’t have to clash with my sexuality. I’m proud to be a part of CPA and represent the diverse community at Mardi Gras to demonstrate that people with disability are gender and sexually diverse too. I’m proud to now be comfortable with who I am and celebrate that!”, said Declan Lee, CPA client ambassador.

Travis, a Northcott customer ambassador, said “I’m excited to march in the parade because I believe that Mardi Gras is a celebration of inclusion, no matter who people are.”

“I’m excited to be involved in the parade because I can show people in the community that people with disabilities can get married. It means to me that people are equal, no matter if you are disabled or in the LGBTQIA+ community”, said Sevinc, Northcott customer ambassador.

Media opportunities

  1. Client Ambassador Interviews: Interview opportunities with client ambassadors from Afford, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and Northcott offer a firsthand perspective on the significance of their participation.
  2. Costume Making Day (Friday, February 9): Journalists and photographers are invited to attend the costume-making day for engaging interviews and captivating visuals.
  3. Parade-Float Building Day (Friday, February 16): Journalists and photographers are invited to witness the creative process behind ‘OURtopia’ and capture memorable moments during the float-building day. Liz Forsyth, Managing Director and CEO at Northcott will be raising the rainbow flag on this day (see below for opportunities to meet the leaders).
  4. Meet the leaders who stand as allies: Liz Forsyth, Managing Director and CEO at Northcott will be raising the rainbow flag on Friday 16 February at Northcott head office – located in Parramatta. Afford Chief Executive Officer, Jo Toohey and Chief Operations Officer, Peter Orr will be marching with the float on the night of the Mardi Gras parade. Media are welcome to interview our leaders.

For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Lyndal Stuart
Head of Engagement and Public Affairs at Afford
0410 850 642

Join us as we make history, celebrating diversity, inclusion, and belonging at the 2024 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade!

About Afford: Afford is one of Australia’s largest and most established disability service providers, more than 70 years of experience working with clients, their families, and carers to achieve their goals and dreams in life and work.

About Cerebral Palsy Alliance: Cerebral Palsy Alliance is a ground-breaking, global centre of expertise for cerebral palsy services and support, research, technology and innovation, and advocacy. We embrace diversity and value our extraordinary people, who unite under our shared vision of creating hope for the future.

About Northcott: Northcott is a disability service provider that works with customers to realise their potential. As one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit disability service organisations, we provide services throughout NSW, QLD and the ACT. Northcott provides a range of services to people with disability including Sexuality and Relationship Education, Support Coordination, Therapy and Specialist Disability Accommodation.

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