NITV is celebrating this year's Sydney Mardi Gras online with live segments from our LGBTIQ+ community streaming as the excitement builds up to the parade on this weekend.
Our coverage kicks off at 12.30pm with Matty Webb's exclusive access to the rehearsals of the First Nation Queens as they fine-tune their sublime moves. Many of these Queens will be parading on either, the First Nations float which leads the parade, or the Red Hot & Wild float from the Northern Territory.
As Matty has been practicing his moves with Electric Fields who now call him "Conchita!", he promises to bring out all the juicy dramas, dynamism and the love — so keep your notifications on for this pop-up.
Also on our online programming is Ella Noah Bancroft who at 2:30pm will cruise through the Boomalli Art Gallery which is showing their 25th Anniversary Mardi Gras exhibition Original Box. The exhibition features her own art alongside artists such as, Arone Meekes, Jeffery Samuals, Jenny Fraser, Hayley Pigram and many more. Ella will get the grand tour from Kyra Kum-Sing, artist and curator of last years art exhibition Luscious All Sorts: Love Won and is not to be missed.
Both Matty and Ella will be bringing their best selves to the job of hosting NITV's coverage in the spirit of this year's Mardi Gras theme, Fearless.
Q: What does being Fearless mean to you?
Matty: It's about being brave enough to love yourself, no matter what. Guilt and shame will always be present, but love is a choice, you can choose to love in times when you feel guilt or shame and you can still love yourself.
Ella: And people need to embody being fearless, don’t give a f**k about what anyone thinks of you. If you have challenges and you think you're gonna fail, do it anyway and fall forward, then get up and learn how to walk again.
Q: Did you have to be fearless to come out?
E: I’ve had 100,000 lives in the last few years. I have been challenged about my identity as a fair-skinned Aboriginal women who happens to also be gay.
I came out when I was 20. I went to all girls boarding school but I didn’t know I was into women until I kissed a girl at 20. She was my boyfriend’s flatmate. *laughs*
My old boyfriend is still so supportive and only wants me to be happy. And my family are super accepting; my Mum is a beautiful artist and supports me in everything I do and my Dad was super supportive.
But recently I have had a few situations with my race and sexuality being challenged. And all through my appearance.
I am a Bundjalung woman from the Djanbun clan and today I live and work on my country.
I want to be strong advocate for Indigenous women and lesbians. We don’t need to fit into stereotypes or fit in with other peoples expectations. Humans are multi-faceted. I wish people would let go of limitations. My passion points are women’s issues and the environment.
Now I am single and super transparent. I am being in my freedom and loving without expectations.
Q: How did you discover your truth?
M: I am so excited but humble about hosting this years' Mardi Gras for NITV Online.
In my mind, I want to inspire all the people who might be watching the parade in secret and are not yet able to live authentically.
I want to connect with people like that because I was that person. I am from Tamworth but I grew up in Claymore, in the western suburbs of outer Sydney.
I went through the care system. I have nine brothers and sisters. I moved in with my Dad when I was 10-years-old and that's when I discovered my Kamilaroi heritage.
We lived in Tamworth, but I always dreamed of bigger things so I wrote to a particularly prestigious school in Sydney and asked if they'd accept me.
Representatives from the school came to Tamworth and told us about Sydney. My school has 80 per cent Blackfellas and you need a boxing degree to survive, so I asked a Christian friend named Pip to help me write a letter. The school said "no" originally, but then 3 months later they called Pip and said, 'we want to meet this boy'. I ended up being first ever Indigenous student to go to there.
During school, I had a girlfriend and I loved her. But a few years after graduating, I decided that I needed to be myself.
I came out to my Dad and it was the best response I could have asked for. I was 19 and my Dad said I can't wait to, one day meet the man who loves my son. I was like…what! It was so comforting, he confirmed he was looking forward to my journey.
Now I'm 23, working in television. I met my partner Paul at Mardi Gras two years ago and we now have a dog and a little family. Life is amazing.
Where to watch the online stream of the Parade?
For all the people who can't be at the 41st Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, NITV will bring you a live stream at 7:30pm starting with the First Nations Float in acknowledgement of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, the traditional owners of the land where the celebration takes place.
Join NITV in the lead up to the Sydney Mardi Gras parade from 12.30pm on Facebook Live.
A live stream of the entire parade will be available on SBS On Demand and the SBS Twitter account on Saturday 2 March. And SBS will be broadcasting the parade on Sunday 3 March at 8.35pm.
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