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.

Come join us for Rainbow Run in 2016!

It’s become a key event on the Mardi Gras calendar, and it’s back again for 2016!

Join us on Saturday February 27 when we take over Sydney Park for a great day out and help us raise funds for our campaigns this year. We’ve got performers, DJs, the works.

It’s a big year for the GLRL this year, with the continued momentum for marriage equality as well as this year being an election year (to name just two!)

Bring your friends. Bring your family. Bring your team mates. It’s going to be a great event and not worth missing.

Tickets are just $45 for an individual or $150 ($30 each) for a group of 5.

Buy your tickets now!

See you there!

We’re inviting you to have your say on a marriage plebiscite


27 August 2015

The New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (NSW GLRL) and Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) firmly believe marriage equality should be achieved through a vote of the Parliament.

“The High Court has made it clear that it is within the power of Parliament to legislate for marriage equality. A plebiscite is a costly way of resolving a matter that should be the responsibility of Parliament. Estimates have placed the cost of holding a plebiscite at over $120 million,” said NSW GLRL Co-Convenor, Justin Koonin.

Nevertheless, the political risk of the Government independently setting the terms for a plebiscite is real. The NSW GLRL and VGLRL therefore welcome the Senate’s move to establish an inquiry into a national vote on marriage equality, which will provide an opportunity for the community to be heard on the terms of any plebiscite including whether there should be one.

“We are aware of concerns about the impacts a protracted public debate on young or vulnerable LGBTI people and their families. What we have seen in recent weeks is no matter what kind of a debate occurs it will be divisive and may impact on the mental health of LGBTI people,” said VGLRL Co-Convenor, Sean Mulcahy.

The NSW GLRL and VGLRL have partnered in developing a short survey to gain the views of the LGBTI community on whether there should be a public vote on marriage equality and, if there is a vote, when and how it should be held and what can be done to protect vulnerable LGBTI people.

LGBTI community members can have their say in the online survey here by 3 September.

The NSW GLRL and VGLRL will be making a submission to the inquiry and will include the views of the LGBTI community within their submissions.

Announcing our new campaign: Nation of Hearts

NSW GLRL Launches ‘Nation of Hearts’ Campaign to Mark 10th Anniversary of Iconic ‘Sea of Hearts’

Ten years ago today, on Saturday August 13, 2005, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby launched its iconic ‘Sea of Hearts’ campaign at Victoria Park, Camperdown, in protest against the Howard Government’s 2004 ban on marriage equality.

According to the co-convenor of the time, Julie McConnell, “Last year’s marriage ban was a statement based on discrimination and prejudice against lesbians and gay men; it was a statement which said that our Love is not equal. We will be planting pink hearts to show that our relationships with each other, and with our children, are equal and deserve full legal equality.”

Those words ring as true today as they did exactly ten years ago. Current GLRL convenor Dr Justin Koonin says, “We are deeply disappointed with the decision of the Coalition party room to deny its members a free vote on marriage equality, to deny the will of the vast majority of Australians, and to deny LGBTI Australians their right to equality, dignity and respect.”

In the past ten years, the landscape of rights and social attitudes to LGBTI people in Australia has shifted markedly, with upwards of 70% of Australians now supporting marriage equality. Technology has changed too, and today the ‘Sea of Hearts’ becomes a ‘Nation of Hearts’.

All Australians, as well as our friends around the world, are invited to participate in our ‘Nation of Hearts’ campaign. This can be done by downloading our Nation of Hearts image and following the instructions on the sheet. Once planted, take a photo of your heart with its individual message of love and upload to the ‘Nation of Hearts’ Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter or email us your photo and we will upload it to our cyberspace garden (which can be viewed using the hashtag #nationofhearts).

Dr Koonin says, “We hope that this campaign will celebrate the diversity of which we can be so proud, united behind the idea that our love is more important than our differences.”

Download the Nation of Hearts image.

Where you can upload your images and take part:

Facebook: Nation of Hearts

Instagram: @nationofhearts

Twitter: @NSWGLRL


A new GLRL website is on its way!

We’re currently in the process of developing and publishing content on our brand new website (we hope you like our makeover!)

Once we’re done, you’ll be able to navigate our website more easily, find out in our new campaigns section what lies ahead to have social and legal equality for gay men, lesbians and their families, and also provide more opportunities to interact with our members and the greater community.

If there’s something in particular that you’re after and can’t find on our website while we re-build it, send us an e-mail through our Contact Us page, and we’ll respond to you as soon as we can.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

The GLRL team.