The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby are encouraged by the multi-partisan support from the NSW Parliamentary LGBTI working group, who have come together to actualise the long term effects of ill treatment and abuse endured by our trailblazers, the 78ers, and offer to them an apology.
Following the Rainbow Votes state election forum in February 2015, Steve Warren, one of the original Mardi Gras revellers from 1978, and current Coordinator and Co-Chair of the 78ers group, asked the panel whether they would support an apology to the LGBTI people who were arrested, assaulted and publicly outed. The cross-party panel, including representatives from all major political parties and key independent members of parliament, unanimously supported an apology to the LGBTI community for police activity at the first Mardi Gras in 1978.
We welcome the leadership shown by the NSW Parliamentary LGBTI Working Group chaired by Bruce Notley-Smith (Liberal), Trevor Khan (Nationals), Penny Sharpe (Labor), Jenny Leong (Greens) and Alex Greenwich (Independent).
It is with the strength and bravery of those people who, on June 24, 1978, had the courage and conviction to stand up and challenge the ongoing moral and physical persecution of gays and lesbians bound by unjust law and social attitudes.
Female Co-Convenor Lauren Foy welcomed the apology and said “We hope that this apology serves as a concrete stepping stone in which our communities will see past actions of Governments, legislators, the police and those involved in exposing so many of our community that night to violence and brutality, to account.”
Male Co-Convenor Chris Pycroft echoed the sentiments and added “We will continue to work with Government on addressing and redressing law reforms that continue to impinge on the everyday rights and exclusions that LGBTI communities still face. We know that there is still work to be done.”
We, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, are inspired by the 78ers, their perseverance and activism spanning almost four decades. For without you, our voices now might not be so free.
Further comment is available upon request.