American Express launches My First Mardi Gras Community Program

American Express launches My First Mardi Gras Community Program, giving LGBTQIA+ people the opportunity to experience their first Mardi Gras.

The announcement:

American Express, principal partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG), today announces the inaugural American Express My First Mardi Gras Community Program, in partnership with LGBTQIA+ community organisations, Minus18 and Rainbow Families.

Designed to build connections for more isolated members of the LGBTQIA+ community and provide a platform for them to express their true selves, the program will see three individuals and one family travel to Sydney to experience, for the first time, all the glitter and glam of the SGLMG Parade.

Each My First Mardi Gras recipient will be supported in their journey by LGBTQIA+ activist and fashion stylist, Deni Todorovič, the official ambassador of the program.  

Beyond the SGLMG, American Express will provide financial backing and the support of its national Pride+ colleague network to help bolster the outstanding work of Minus18 and Rainbow Families to improve education and tolerance within the wider Australian community in support of LGBTQIA+ youth and families.

My First Mardi Gras Community Program ambassador, Deni Todorovič says, “As a full-time advocate for the entire community alphabet, having the opportunity to work with American Express to bring this community program to life is something I’m so grateful for. If this kind of program had been around when little Deni was growing up, I can only imagine how different my experience as part of the community would have been. I’m so excited to support the My First Mardi Gras recipients as a mentor and be a part of their first Mardi Gras journey.”

Identified through Minus18 and Rainbow Families’ networks, and travelling to Sydney from across the country, the My First Mardi Gras recipients: Felicity, Noah, Sabrina, partners Tammy and Karen and their child Archie, will receive a fun-filled itinerary, to ensure their first Mardi Gras is an experience of a lifetime.

The itinerary will see them receive a golden ticket to some of the best seats in the house where they’ll take in the parade spectacular, including a showstopping performance by Australian music icon Vanessa Amorosi, who will take centre stage on the American Express float. Each My First Mardi Gras recipient will also get to connect with original Mardi Gras participants, the 78ers.

Corrina Davison, Managing Director, American Express Australia says, “For our first year as Principal Partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras we wanted to give LGBTQIA+ people, who would not have otherwise had the opportunity, the chance to have an incredible first time Mardi Gras experience.

“As an organisation that strongly values and embraces differences and unique perspectives, we hope that this program supports LGBTQIA+ people to express their true selves, while fostering deep long-lasting connections with the wider LGBTQIA+ community. Beyond Mardi Gras, we look forward to partnering with Minus18 and Rainbow Families to create greater understanding and acceptance.”

Minus18 CEO, Micah Scott says, “For LGBTQIA+ youth, the first time connecting with their community is life-changing. Giving this opportunity to young people from outside of Sydney and to hear their stories is incredibly special. Mardi Gras is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQIA+ pride, and to reflect on what we can do to ensure no one in our community is left behind in our journey towards equality.”

Rainbow Families Executive Officer, Ashley Scott says, “Mardi Gras is such a fun and significant time of the year. For LGBTQIA+ parents it is so important to be proud of who we are, and for our kids to see that they are part of a diverse and accepting community. The My First Mardi Gras Community Program will not only help create lasting memories for families, it will also shine a light on the experience of more isolated LGBTQIA+ parents as well as their children.”

To follow along with the My First Mardi Gras recipients’ journeys and keep across all activity, head to the AmexAU Instagram account. To learn more about American Express’ involvement in Mardi Gras visit www.americanexpress.com.au.

Source: Ogilvy media release


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