Statement from GLRL Co-Convenors: Homophobia fails to dampen Rainbow Run, shines brighter than ever

Today was always destined to be a smashing success for the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL). More than 500 people took part in Rainbow Run at Sydney Park in St Peters today, an event aimed at bringing our communities together, along with raising funds and awareness for marriage equality. To our disappointment, there were a select few who weren’t shy in trying to disrupt our event.

During the course of today’s event, the following occurred:

  • The graffiti of Sydney Park with homophobic messages
  • Damage and vandalism of organisation collateral
  • Theft of private property
  • Suspected tampering of audio equipment used during the event
  • Homophobic verbal abuse directed at two event volunteers

We want to take this opportunity to make it perfectly clear – the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will not tolerate homophobia, discrimination or vilification under any circumstances. We will not stand for it, and we will act accordingly whenever and if ever it happens.

The attempts to disrupt or dampen this event were unsuccessful. Rainbow Run continued, and it was our most successful year yet. We’re proud of what this event has achieved, and that it is able to be a part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. Attempts to disrupt our events and/or any campaigning for full equality for lesbians, gay men and their families will only increase our resilience.

With recent events in the political landscape, including heated debate around the Safe Schools Coalition, this serves as a reminder to us that support services for our LGBTI communities have never been more important. No person should ever feel that they’re alone, or that there is nowhere they can turn to for help. It’s something that we will never accept.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Lara Creber and Healthy Habit Fitness for their facilitation of their event. We would also like to acknowledge Alex Greenwich MP for officially opening proceedings, James ‘Breko’ Brechney for MC’ing today’s event, DJ Sveta for keeping the music pumping, and every volunteer who contributed. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We as an organisation are dedicated to playing a key role in working towards social and legislative equality for our LGBTI communities. We’re committed to making sure that all schools, workplaces, homes, sporting fields and public spaces are safe spaces for all. We also hope that communicating this experience contributes to making sure that our communities are protected not only during the Mardi Gras festival, but at all times.

Further comment is available upon request.

Media Release: NSW GLRL welcomes apology to the 78ers

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.