ACTRESS Miranda Tapsell is thrilled to be taking part in the Northern Territory float at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the second year running.

And the float, organised by Tapsell’s cousin Ben Graetz and her friend Daniel Cunningham, will be even more inclusive this year.

“This year the theme for the float is ‘Territory Stars’ and we’re making it about the Territory, not just Darwin,” Tapsell explains to the Star Observer.

“The Sista Gals from the Tiwi Islands have been raising money to help them fly down, I’m excited to be walking alongside them in the float this year.”

Born and raised in the Northern Territory, Tapsell is best known for her roles in the film The Sapphires and hit television series Love Child.

While Tapsell says the Northern Territory isn’t particularly known for celebrating differences in sexuality, she believes it is vitally important to show people down south that there’s a huge, thriving and diverse LGBTI community.

And just as important for people to realise that someone’s race intertwines with their sexuality and gender – especially in Aboriginal communities.

“Being gay and being Aboriginal is very much a part of their life,” she says.

“The great thing about the float is there is a non-Aboriginal people taking part in the float, who grew up in Darwin, with the Aboriginal community, so it’s nice to see how fully multifaceted it is.”

Former footy player and current model Casey Conway will also be taking part in the float as the ambassador for the Northern Territory AIDS & Hepatitis Council (NTAHC).

“NTAHC provides a range of programs that focus on the prevention of the transfer of blood borne viruses, which is really important isolated communities like North Queensland and the Northern Territory,” Tapsell says.

The LGBTI community in Darwin is thriving, Tapsell says. And she loves that despite the occasional homophobia that exists in the Northern Territory, it hasn’t stopped her family from being themselves.

“I see them and feel inspired to support them because I believe that we still have a long way to go,” she says.

“Attitudes need to change. The institution of marriage deserves to be equal.”

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