LGBTI people with disability will show their pride and raise awareness of public transport accessibility on the ‘Fearless Express’ at Mardi Gras this year.

The Fearless Express float will bring attention to the issue of public transport accessibility and allow LGBTI Australians with disability to fearlessly express their pride.

The Fearless Express will bring together five disability organisations – Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA), National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Women with Disability Australia (WWDA), Northcott, and People with Disability Australia.

PWDA President Dr David Abello said that people with disability being able to access public transport is essential, and that PWDA is thrilled to be highlighting this vital issue at Mardi Gras 2019.

“Many people with disability find public transport difficult to access,” said Abello.

“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 are 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 it makes it hard for some of us to make friends, find partners, have relationships and celebrate disability LGBTIQA+ pride!” Abello said.

The five organisations collaborated on the theme, which will highlight barriers to full participation in community life frequently encountered by people with disability.

The Fearless Express, which will be led by social agitator, poet and artist with disability Georgia Cranko, will also help raise awareness of the right to inclusion and sexual expression for people with disability.

Following the record participation of LGBTI people with disability in 2017’s Mardi Gras, it’s another chance for the broader community to celebrate the ongoing involvement of people with disability in Mardi Gras, as well as the LGBTI community around Australia.

A La Trobe University study released in 2018 showed that “LGBTI people with disability experience discrimination from within both LGBTI and disability communities” which compounds the “sense of social marginality and isolation” they experience.

“LGBTI people with disability experience higher rates of crime and victimisation than LGBTI people without disability,” researchers said.

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