• Casey Conway is set to show a bit of skin at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
As a young boy growing up in Queensland, Casey Conway only dreamed about becoming a role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. But now his nomination for LGBTI Celebrity of the Year has made dreams become a reality.
1 Mar 2017 - 1:13 PM  UPDATED 1 Mar 2017 - 3:02 PM

NITV: You’ve been nominated for LGBTI Celebrity of the Year: what does this mean for you and how will you represent the LGBTI community in Australia?

CC: The title of ‘Celebrity’ doesn’t sit well with me but it’s nice to be recognised as someone with influence in our very dynamic LGBTI community.

I aspire to make a positive difference to our community and those who are on the fringes not knowing how to navigate that part of their life. It’s also important to me to project a positive image to the wider community that LGBTI are everyday people that can and do achieve in every field, whether it be sport, arts, culture or business. Our community should be embraced, not feared.

NITV: You have spoken about the struggles faced every day by LGBTI people – could you describe some of these struggles you’ve faced

CC: A constant struggle LGBTI people face is the stereotypes that come with their sexuality or gender identity. In many ways, I don’t fit these stereotypes so sometimes it’s challenging for me to come out over and over again. Usually the responses are positive, but sometimes they aren’t. I’m strong enough to deal with this as it comes; my concerns are for the ones that can’t cope with the negatives constantly thrown at them, especially young people.

Casey sums up Sydney Mardi Gras in one word... #PRIDE

NITV: Being a gay Aboriginal man, have you ever dealt with racism?

CC: Unfortunately in Australia, racism is a daily part of most Indigenous people’s lives. Unfortunately in Australia, homophobia and transphobia is a part of life for most LGBTI people. When these two intersect, it can be really damaging for a person living their life authentically. For me, I can deal with it, I’m strong enough to call it out when I see it, whether it be in person or online.

Through my work in community services, I often see the result of racism and/or homophobia and it is devastating. Everyone has their tipping point and all too often it’s too late. I strive to build resilience in our young people, Indigenous, LGBTI or both, for them to treat racism and homophobia the same way I do.

NITV: All eyes will be on you at Sydney Mardi Gras! However, you’ll be marching along several people on the Northern Star… some of those include the likes of the Tiwi Island Sistagirls – how do you feel representing Mardi Gras next to this group?

CC: I’m so proud to be the Ambassador for the Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council and be a part of the Northern Star float! I can’t wait to meet the Sista Girls, their journey to get all the way from the Tiwi Islands is so inspiration. I’m sure all eyes will be on them!

NITV: If you could sum up Sydney Mardi Gras with one hashtag – what would yours be?

CC: #PRIDE

NITV: Can you give us any hints about what you will be wearing on the float?

CC: Haha there may or may not be some skin on show… 

Northern Territory stars to shine bright at Mardi Gras
Get ready for glam, gals and glitter as the Northern Territory float for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is racy, roaring and ready to go!

Join NITV LIVE at the Mardi Gras Parade on the NT Float with Casey Conway, Miranda Tapsall, Tiwi Island Sistagirls and fierce drag act, Miss Ellaneous, Saturday, 4 March @ 6pm on Facebook.