For The First Time, Mardi Gras Will Be Accessible For Those With Vision Impairments

Absolutely fabulous.

Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has announced that for the first time, the parade will be accessible to those who are blind or have vision impairments, which is simply excellent news.


Writing on their Facebook page, SGLMG explained:

“For the first time, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will provide people with sight loss the opportunity to experience this iconic event through professional audio description. Guide Dogs will make the Mardi Gras accessible and inclusive for its clients with vision impairment – who will have the parade and surroundings described to them via headsets at the event’s nominated accessibility viewing areas.”

They added that mobility specialists will be on hand to “offer assistance to clients, including getting to and from the nominated accessibility viewing areas ?”.

This is welcome news, especially considering how audio descriptions aren’t normalised the way captioning is (and while captioning isn’t universal, it is available on all free-to-air channels in Australia).

Discussing audio descriptions on TV, Chris Edwards, the manager of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives at Vision Australia, said, “It comes down to a basic right – I should be able to, as a blind person, have the same access to television as the rest of my family.”

And the same goes for Mardi Gras. A parade that’s all about including those who have traditionally been ignored by society should be accessible to as many people as possible.

For this year’s parade, all of the accessible viewing locations have been consolidated into one ‘premium location’ in between Linden and Patterson Lanes. This area is flat and accessible, has accessible amenities, and has volunteers available to assist patrons throughout the evening.

So whether you’re participating in the parade, watching from the sidelines, partying elsewhere, or staying home, I hope you have an unforgettable Mardi Gras weekend!

Selma Blair Wants To Design Fashionable Clothing For Disabled People And We're Totally On Board

Can someone make this happen?

In an interview for Vanity Fair’s March issue, Selma Blair spoke candidly about her MS diagnosis, and only offered one complaint throughout: the lack of fashionable clothing for people with disabilities.

It’s not something people who haven’t had to think about it would ever really think about, the fact that some disabilities might make certain clothes harder to put on, or might change the way an item of clothing sits on the body. But the reality is they do, and there aren’t that many designers in the adaptive clothing market.

In her first post about her diagnosis back in October, Blair talked about the costume designer on her show helping her get dressed:

“The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself.”

In the Vanity Fair interview, she describes dressing as a “shit show”, so it’s no wonder she’s had dreams of working with a designer to produce fashionable clothing for people with different needs.

“I would like to partner with someone like Christian Siriano on a line for everyone—not just people who necessarily need adaptive clothing, but for those who want comfort, too. It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style. Like, let’s get elastic waistbands to look a little bit better.”

While designers like Tommy Hilfiger have released lines for people with disabilities, as well as retailers like Target, it’s still uncommon for higher-end designers to consider the needs of a wide range of people when designing clothing (a rare exception is British designer Lucy Jones, who’s won awards for her ‘Seated Design’ collections). A lot of people end up making their own, or adapting clothes they already own to suit their needs, but not everyone is gifted with a needle and thread.

And let’s be frank – a lot of the adaptive clothing out there isn’t exactly red-carpet ready. While they may be great options for people who aren’t particularly concerned with fashion, why shouldn’t people with disabilities have a range of options to choose from?

I would love to see a collaboration between Blair and Christian Siriano, personally. Siriano has a fantastic history of dressing a variety of people, particularly people outside of Hollywood’s ‘norm’.

Fashion gods, please hear our prayer. Thank you. ?

9 LGBT History Facts You Should Know Before Mardi Gras, Just In Case There's A Pop Quiz

It's time to get schooled.

How good are you with LGBT+ history? What if a drag queen offers you $50 if you can name 5 important historical LGBT+ figures, but you can only think of RuPaul and Elton John?

Don’t stress, we got you, with some help from Twitter user @selfishfeminist.


Pride in the US is a little different to Mardi Gras in Australia, but both have their roots in the Stonewall riots of 1969. The riots were a response to a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York, and activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Stormé DeLarverie became iconic figures in the LGBT rights movement as a result of their involvement in the events at Stonewall.


While the 78ers can be credited with establishing Mardi Gras in Australia, Brenda Howard was one of the organisers of the first Pride in New York, the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, which commemorated the first anniversary of Stonewall.


South Australia was the first Australian state to decriminalise male homosexuality in 1975, and Tasmania was the last to do so, holding out until 1997.


Gilbert Baker created the first rainbow flag in 1978, and it was first debuted at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade.


Denmark became the first country to legally recognise relationships between gay couples in 1989, and in 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage. Australia, as pretty much everyone knows, didn’t do so until after a non-binding plebiscite was held in 2017. Twenty-six countries around the world have now legalised same-sex marriage.


In October 1973, the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Federal Council became the first body in the world to declare that homosexuality was not an illness, and in December of that year, the American Psychiatric Association removed it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


The first gay political group in Australia was the Australian offshoot of the US-based Daughters of Bilitis, which eventually became known as the Australasian Lesbian Movement.


Lilli Elbe is known as the first woman to undergo gender confirmation surgery in 1930 in Germany (Germany, particularly Berlin, before the Nazis rose to power was pretty progressive when it came to LGBT+ people). The movie The Danish Girl was made about her life, but many trans people had concerns with the film’s portrayal.


While @selfishfeminist suggests that drag is an acronym, standing for ‘Dressed Like A Girl’, there’s no legitimate source for this claim. Drag dates back centuries, so it’s likely we’ll never know the origins of the word. Some have suggested that it comes from theatre slang for long skirts dragging on the floor.

This means that yes, drag does pre-date RuPaul, although he can be credited with introducing it to the mainstream.

For more LGBT+ history, check out the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives. You can also listen to the podcast Making Gay History for interviews with important LGBT+ figures about the historical events they lived through and contributed to.


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