International rugby union referee Nigel Owens is joining the Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras team as a Patron for the charity.

Born in Mynyddcerrig near Llanelli, Nigel was the only Welsh referee in the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups and was the first openly gay professional sportsman in rugby union.

Wales’ biggest celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities will be moving to the world famous Millennum Stadium in Cardiff on August 31st and Nigel Owens believes that this is a fantastic move for the annual event:

“LGBT Equality and Diversity is very important to me. Being a gay man myself, I know the difficulties of ‘coming out’ and how hard it is to hide away from who you are.

Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras gives the LGBT community an opportunity to be themselves and because the event is also open to the wider community, it’s a great opportunity to break down social barriers. The fact that the event is taking place at a venue as iconic as Millennum Stadium is just fantastic. It’s the best stadium in the world and will attract huge crowds to Mardi Gras this year – this will help to break down barriers even further”.

Promoting LGBT Equality and Diversity isn’t the only reason that Nigel is excited to be joining Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras. He also believes the move to the new venue shows that attitudes toward homosexuality in sport is changing for the better:

“I often feel that sport is behind the rest of society in accepting LGBT Equality, but the fact the WRU and Millennium Stadium are supporting an event like this shows how much we have moved forward. Welsh rugby is certainly breaking the boundaries more than other sport”.

This year’s Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras at Millennium Stadium will feature ten hours of music and entertainment as well as advice and support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. Highlights include:
Cabaret Garden with the very best in cabaret, drag and local acts;

  • Youth Zone specially for 11 – 25 year olds to discuss a range of issues with qualified youth workers;
  • Family Zone with entertainment for young children and their families;
  • Community and Market Zone giving visitors the opportunity to shop from local traders and obtain advice from organisations that support the LGBT community;
  • A funfair, and range of bars and catering facilities.

To show our passion for Equality and Diversity, 2013 will see the return of the inaugural Mardi Gras Parade through the city centre and into the gates of the Millennium Stadium. Organisers are encouraging festival-goers not only to have a great day out and celebrate diversity, but also to fill the streets of Cardiff with colour, floats and carnival for the occasion.

Further information can be found by visiting the website at www.cardiffmardigras.co.uk or by clicking on the Twitter page at @CWMardiGras

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