Joel Creasey, Em Rusciano join SBS Mardi Gras coverage.

Joel Creasey and breakfast radio host Em Rusciano are joining Faustina Agolley and The Feed’s Patrick Abboud for commentary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on Sunday March 5 at 8.30pm.

The 90 minute broadcast, airing the night after its staging, with celebrity guests and stories behind the floats, sexuality, equality and discrimination that affect the LGBTQI community.

A Live Stream will also be available Saturday 4 March at 7pm on SBS On Demand, but without hosts or packages.

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a very important celebration and social event on the LGBTQI calendar. It is also a significant event for Australia – as the parade celebrates and promotes social cohesion within Australia – and hundreds and thousands of spectators line the streets of Sydney in support of equality, pride and self-expression.

“SBS is incredibly proud to be broadcasting the parade yet again – as it provides a front row seat to the whole of Australia, offering them the opportunity to join into and be a part of this inclusive and spectacular celebration.”

SBS also has LGBTI-themed programming on its multichannels and SBS On Demand including the premiere of new US drama When We Rise, during Mardi Gras.

SBS will also get in on the festivities with its very own float and SBS Radio 3 will join forces with Australia’s only gay & lesbian radio station, JOY 94.9 for a Mardi Gras weekend simulcast on digital radio and digital television around Australia – including a live broadcast of the parade, which is also available worldwide at sbs.com.au/mardigras.

In the lead up and after the parade, SBS will air multi-award winning film Brokeback Mountain (Friday 3 March at 8.30pm), which stars the late and great Australian actor Heath Ledger. On Sunday 5 March at 10pm, SBS will bring audiences the much-loved Australian classic, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, which also features a stellar line up of Australian actors, including Guy Pearce and the late Bill Hunter.

SBS VICELAND will play host to a Monday night movies season in February. The Feed’s Patrick Abboud will present a series of home-grown and international queer screen highlights along with interviews with creators and actors from these movies. Films included in the season are: 52 Tuesdays (Monday, 13 February at 9.30pm), The Chambermaid Lynn (Monday, 13 February at 11pm), Head On (Monday, 20 February at 9.30pm), 54: The Directors Cut (Monday, 20 February at 11pm), Teenage Kicks (Monday 27 February at 9.30pm) and Gerontophilia (Monday, 27 February at 11.30pm).

NITV celebrates Mardi Gras with a host of programming that recognises the LGBTQI community. Starting on Wednesday, February 22 at 9.30pm, is the Australian premiere of MAJOR! This documentary explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated Black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of transgender women of colour for over 40 years. Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word (Wednesday, 1 March at 8.00pm) which follows the lives of seven transgender youths hailing from New York, New Orleans and Baltimore and ranging in age, but they share common obstacles and joys. Kumu Hina follows Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word at 11pm and is a about a transgender Native Hawaiian teacher who inspires a young girl to fulfil her destiny of leading the school’s male hula troupe even as she struggles to find love and a committed relationship of her own. Then wrapping up NITV’s programming is Fire Song (Thursday 2 March at 9.30pm) a thoughtful and moving debut feature by Adam Garnet Jones that focuses on a young Anishinaabe man at a crossroads.

From 15 February, SBS On Demand’s exclusive collection The Queer Binge will showcase some of the best LGBTQI themed programs from around the world, available to all Australians to watch anytime, anywhere and for free. The collection includes hit UK drama Hit & Miss starring Chloë Sevigny, Swedish crime thriller Eyewitness, and SBS VICELAND’s Gaycation with Ellen Page. Award-winning global films will also be featured, including Carmin Tropical (2014), That’s Not Us (2015), Four Moons (2014), Daddy (2015), Beginners (2011), and Head On (1998), while Irish film Viva (2015) will be available from 17 February, Lovesong (2016) from 21 February and Teenage Kicks (2016) from 23 February.

Starting on March 1, SBS On Demand will bring audiences the highly anticipated U.S. drama, When We Rise. Written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk), When We Rise chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. The series features Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffins, Mary-Louise, Michael Kenneth Williams Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg.

After airing on SBS On Demand, When We Rise will make its Australian T.V. debut on SBS starting Saturday 11 March from 8.30pm with encores on SBS VICELAND from Thursdays at 9pm from March 16.

SBS Sexuality will feature behind-the-scenes exclusives of Mardi Gras, festival highlights, interviews, and personal stories surrounding Pride. For everything else LGBT+, you can check out the Sexuality site year-round, at www.sbs.com.au/sexuality.

SBS VR will release an exclusive 360° video inviting viewers to join iconic Australian drag performer Maxi Shield for a unique experience of the 2016 Mardi Gras. The VR experience will be available on the SBS VR app – free to download for Apple iOS and Google Android – from Monday, 27 February, 2017.

Viewer tweets will be displayed on screen throughout the television broadcasts, using the official event hashtag #sydneymardigras.

For more on The Queer Binge visit: sbs.com.au/ondemand/programs/the-queer-binge from February 15.

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