(Community Recognition Statement, 17 February 2021, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
On behalf of the Sydney Electorate, and in the lead up to the Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras 2021, I want to acknowledge amazing legacy of the 78ers.
This year marks the 43rd anniversary of those who gathered in 1978 at Taylor Square Darlinghurst, in defiance of discrimination, abuse and unfair laws. The 78ers paved the way for Sydney's iconic Mardi Gras festival as we know it today. That 1978 gathering started as a peaceful and unifying event reclaiming public space for people who had been kept silent and hidden. Despite issuing a permit for the march, police met protesters with brutality and arrested a staggering 57 people. Those arrested then suffered the public humiliation of having their names and addresses published in the Sydney Morning Herald, leading to job losses, exclusion from family and social ostracism. Despite this, the 78ers continued to spearhead ongoing political and legal advocacy. I thank the 78ers for trailblazing what we now consider as normal legal and social rights. We must continue to be inspired by their action and keep up the campaign for equality.