Photo: supplied.
New South Wales

Non-binary drag queen running for Mardi Gras board

An LGBTIQA+ activist and social media personality hopes to become the first non-binary drag queen on the board of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Thomas Grainger, known as Tomi to their many TikTok fans, is currently running in the board’s elections for 2022. 

As well as being a drag queen for six years, Grainger is TikTok’s Community Marketing Manager. 

“In my current role, I work with our LGBTIQA+ creators to ensure they are seen and heard on TikTok, and this has a very special place in my heart as I know firsthand how difficult it can be for LGBTIQA+ youth – and people of any age for that matter – to feel accepted and loved,” Grainger told Pink Advocate.

Having participated in Mardi Gras for 10 years, Grainger hopes to apply their experience in digital and social media to amplify the international presence of one of the world’s biggest LGBTIQA+ celebrations.

Grainger said they want to increase the appeal of Mardi Gras to young people and help them see it as not just a party but a year-round celebration of diversity and inclusion. 

“Mardi Gras has a very special place in my coming-out experience and affirming my identity,” said Grainger. 

“The parade was the event that signified my sense of belonging as a non-binary gay man, who struggled accepting themselves throughout their adolescence.” 

Grainger appeared in drag for the first time at their first Mardi Gras.

They hope that they can be appointed to the board to inspire other young Australians to play an active role in the future of key LGBTIQA+ events such as Mardi Gras. 

“I am deeply passionate about Mardi Gras’ legacy and role in being a beacon of hope in our continual fight for equality for all LGBTIQA+ Australians and beyond,” said Grainger. 

They said that they want to see more inclusion of trans and non-binary people in Mardi Gras.

Also nominated for the board are Jan Hutton, Yvette Sraga, Mikhael Burnard, Philip Archer, William Trewlynn, Scott Blakeman, Louis Hudson, Jelena Rudd, Darwyn Jolly, John Blythe, Liza-Mare Syron, Katherine Maver, Gerard Smith, Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco, Federica Pastorino, Imogen Rees, and Wei Thai-Haynes.

Voting for the board is open to Mardi Gras members until next Thursday 23 December.

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