Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Members statements

Sydney WorldPride

Sydney WorldPride

Aiv PUGLIELLI (North-Eastern Metropolitan) (09:45): I rise today to add my voice to the scores of proud queer people celebrating WorldPride in Sydney. Among the festivities and celebrations it is also important to remember the history and the legacy Pride carries. While there have always been queer people living and resisting in Australia, we often think of the birth of the LGBTIQA+ rights movement as the inaugural Mardi Gras in Sydney on 24 June 1978. A demonstration that started in the morning turned into a raucous protest turned street party down Oxford Street. Protesters chanted ‘Out of the bars and into the streets’, encouraging queer people everywhere to come out, be proud and prove that every single person on the planet knows someone queer.

Of course that is not the end of the story. As the crowd tried to leave the police began to arrest and brutalise them, viciously beating them. Fifty-three were arrested, and the beatings continued after they arrived at Darlinghurst police station. On the following Monday, 26 June, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names, addresses and occupations of those arrested. Many were fired or evicted, and some were driven to suicide. That brutal repression, police violence and public vitriol continued for decades more. But through it all we survived, we resisted and we continue to resist.

We have a responsibility to honour and respect those that fought and died for us to walk down the street, let alone march in gold booty shorts. To the 78ers, the fierce advocates, the staunch survivors through the years who delivered us the freedoms we enjoy and the lessons we need to carry on the fight, I say happy Pride and thank you for everything.