Gold Coast LGBTIQ aged care home throws big Mardi Gras party

arcare parkwood mardi gras party 2022 gold coast lgbtiq accredited aged care
Images: Arcare Parkwood

LGBTIQ-accredited aged care facility Arcare Parkwood helped its Gold Coast residents join last weekend’s Mardi Gras celebrations with a colourful and camp party.

Residents, staff and family were all invited to the Mardi Gras bash at the residence, coinciding with last weekend’s Parade.

Staff covered the facility in rainbow as guests wore colourful feather boas, diamantes and wigs, including 96-year-old resident Mary Johnson (above right).

But it was Arcare Parkwood’s Lifestyle Coordinator Gary Barrett who was the main event on the day.

Barrett moonlights as Coast drag queen Tia Maria. On the weekend, he put on a dazzling frock and belted out big songs from Shirley Bassey to Cher for the residents.

Gary started lip-sync performing in 1997. At a major competition, he met two other drag queens who invited him to join their show.

Now, Gary regularly performs as Tia Maria at The Chameleon Lounge on the Gold Coast.

“The best thing about doing drag is meeting wonderful people, no matter who and where they are,” he said.

“I decided to perform at Arcare Parkwood’s Mardi Gras because the residents enjoy seeing the performances. I want to put a huge smile on their faces.

“It’s also about celebrating diversity and being inclusive.”

LGBTIQ elders fear discrimination in aged care

Sadly, on entering aged care, LGBTIQ elders often feel forced “go back into the closet” out of fear of discrimination on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.

Aged care provider Arcare’s Parkwood community opened its doors in late 2019.

The residence has Rainbow Tick Accreditation and an aim of providing a groundbreaking level of support to Queensland’s LGBTIQ elders.

Located in Parkwood in the Gold Coast hinterland, the residence offers 91 five-star suites. Other facilities also include a wellbeing centre, theatre, hair salon, private dining, activity and entertaining areas, and 24/7 nursing care.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. julain Gallimore
    11 March 2022

    Absolutely Fabulous
    Wish I was there vodka or warm milk Milo, lol
    Hope they didn’t have the Police coursing a RIOT like they did in 1978 MARDI GRASS.

  2. Adele
    12 March 2022

    This put a huge smile on my face it makes me so happy we have a wonderful facility like this to care for our senior LGBTIQ family. Keep up the wonderful work, this is where I want to be when I retire ❣️

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