PWDA Call for Choice and Control Over Our Bodies, Identities and Sexualities During Mard Gras

People with Disability Australia (PWDA), a longstanding advocate for the intersectional community of LGBTQIA+ individuals with disability, proudly announces its participation in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade for another year.

As a proud community partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, PWDA will be representing and celebrating people with disability who identify as LGBTQIA+ and calling for a future where this community has choice and control over their bodies, identities and sexualities.

PWDA CEO Sebastian Zagarella said, “With nearly a third of our membership identifying as LGBTQIA+, PWDA looks forward to having a loud and proud presence at this year’s Mardi Gras. We’ll be sending an important message to all of Australia – the rights of LGBTQIA+ people with disability must be upheld and immediate action taken to address the challenges we face.”

PWDA will be marching with 80 of its members, people from the disability community, in the parade on March 2, Mardi Gras’ biggest night.

Former President, Mardi Gras veteran and 78’er, David Abello said, “The LGBTQIA+ disability community has been present and represented at Mardi Gras’s since its inception. PWDA’s participation is a powerful tool to unite, connect and celebrate the intersectional identities within our queer community.

“After the disappointment of Fair Day’s cancellation, we can’t wait to return to Oxford Street to remind everyone that people with disability have agency over their bodies, their identity and their sexuality. Our achievements over the last fifty years have been extensive. But too often our rights are denied, our needs ignored, or new opponents appear to challenge us – we want change now.”

PWDA President Marayke Jonkers said, “LGBTQIA+ people with disability are nearly twice as likely to have experienced violence as their heterosexual peers. We want change now to end the violence. Change that ensures LGBTQIA+ disabled people have safe spaces for disability support and are included in all social spaces.”

“We look forward to asserting our rights and watching our LGBTQIA+ community shine at Mardi Gras.”

PWDA CEO Sebastian Zagarella said, “Until the rights of all members of the LGBTQIA+ disability community are recognised and realised it’s critical we remain a part of events like Mardi Gras. Change is overdue for LGBTQIA+ people with disability and we plan to march up Oxford Street claiming a fully inclusive future is NOW.”

/Public Release. View in full here.