The streets of Sydney have been splashed with all the colours of the rainbow at this year’s Mardi Gras as people with disability boarded the Fearless Express on Friday night.
The train-themed float was created to highlight the barriers LGBTIQA+ people with disability face in accessing their communities, with a particular focus on public transport.
President of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) Dr David Abello was pleased to have brought this issue to attention at this year’s Mardi Gras.
“Many people with disability find public transport difficult to access. This is a huge barrier to their participation in work, recreation and other activities that non-disabled people take for granted.
“Many buses are inaccessible, the majority of train stations don’t have lifts and mobility parking spaces and often unavailable.
“People with disability living in remote, rural and regional communities are also increasingly isolated and can’t access essential services due to the lack of regular and reliable public and community transport.
“Inaccessible public transport isolates us, it cuts us off from LGBTIQA+ communities and makes it hard for some of us to make friends, find partners, have relationships and celebrate disability LGBTIQA+ pride,” he says.
Fearless Express float ambassador Georgia Cranko says access to public transport is essential for people with disability to be able to work, study, socialise and do everyday things.
“If society made a small effort to increase accessibility, there would be a lot more opportunities for people with disability to work and contribute to the world.”
Ms Cranko is thrilled to have participated in this year’s event.
“Mardi Gras is such a pivotal event in the LGBTIQA+ movement because it is about combating the social prejudice that we face. We can all come together, be proud of who we are and just have a great time.
“To be able to march in the Madri Gras Parade, celebrate our differences and be visible offers a rare opportunity to connect and to feel like we belong,” she says.
Representatives from People with Disability Australia, Northcott, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Woman with Disabilities Australia and the National Disability Insurance Scheme joined together to create the Fearless Express float and march in this year’s event.