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We rose for equality and look what we achieved!

This time last year, we pledged to Rise for Equality, and ensure that the legacy of the 78ers continues to live on. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have been proud to support Equality Australia’s campaigns and together, our community has taken huge strides in protecting and progressing LGBTQI+ rights.

Our community has stopped the Religious Discrimination bill becoming law, called on the Federal Government to “Count Us In” the 2026 census, and fended off One Nation’s attacks on our communities in NSW – we’ve shown that United We Shine.

But there is so much more work to be done to ensure that all of us can live with dignity and respect, no matter who we are, whom we love, or what we believe.

If enough of us come together to call on the NSW Parliament to act for equality, we can ensure that all LGBTQI+ people in NSW live free from discrimination and harm.

Will you call on the Parliament to Act for Equality today?

It’s been another challenging year for many in our community, but we’ve achieved so much. Together, we’ve…


As census night approached, you joined health experts and community organisations across the country to call on the government to #CountUsIn!
 
Census data is vital to making decisions about what services are available, where, and how much funding they need, but the census still doesn’t include questions about sexual orientation, gender and variations of sex characteristics.
 
Over 30,000 of us worked together to put the issue on the national agenda, calling on our leaders to commit to counting our communities properly next census, and sharing a video featuring Equality Australia patron, Courtney Act, that made national headlines.
 
In encouraging news, the Labor party responded by agreeing that questions that accurately count our communities should have been included in the census. But we must continue to work together in the lead up to the election to ensure that whichever party forms government has committed to counting us properly.


When our community started talking about the impacts of the Religious Discrimination bill back in 2019, it sometimes felt like no one was listening.
 
Together, we put these issues on the national agenda, and built a powerful movement united by a simple principle – that our laws must protect all of us, equally.
 
The Mardi Gras community swung its support behind Equality Australia’s campaign against laws that would take us backwards.
 
We signed petitions, wrote to our MPs, marched in protest and chipped in to support hard-hitting advertising campaigns and a delegation of affected communities to visit Canberra to put our issues front and centre of the national debate.  
 
And after a majority of Parliament responded by expressing their support for protections for LGBTQ+ students in religious schools, the government pulled the bill, shelving it indefinitely.
 
It’s uncertain what the future of the bill will be, but for now our community should take heart from this incredible result.


Just last week, One Nation’s Religion bill was resoundingly rejected by the NSW parliament, after the Government, Labor, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party joined together to vote the bill down.
 
It’s encouraging news, and the result of the incredible work of many since the bill was first announced in 2020. Equality Australia brought together 110 faith-based organisations, unions, and community groups – including Mardi Gras – that stood together to call for laws that protect all of us, equally.
 
The Government has previously said it will produce its own bill after an inquiry tasked with considering the One Nation bill endorsed many of its worst provisions, despite the hard work of Alex Greenwich and Jenny Leong.
 
If the government decides to legislate, it must deliver laws that protect all of us, equally, including removing carve-outs that currently allow private schools and religious organisations to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.


While we’ve sunk One Nation’s Religion bill, the NSW Government is yet to deliver its response to the party’s Education bill, which threatens the inclusion of trans and gender diverse students at school.
 
That’s why our community mobilised, marching in protest and writing over 30,000 letters to NSW politicians, calling on them to stand against One Nation’s attack on trans children. We were joined by a group of NSW politicians from all sides of politics who wrote to Education Minister Sarah Mitchell to call on the Government to reject One Nation’s bill.
 
It’s confirmation that community’s concerns are being heard in the NSW Parliament – and an extraordinary demonstration of politicians reaching across the aisle to stand up for equality and inclusion in schools.
 
We’ll know the result soon, but whatever the outcome, we must ensure the movement for equality in NSW is stronger than ever.  


That’s why Equality Australia brought together Mardi Gras and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby to defend and advance our rights, demanding our state leaders act for equality, by:

  • Ensuring our communities have a seat at the table, by appointing a Minister for Equality
  • Ensuring all LGBTQ+ people are protected under anti-discrimination laws, including by removing carve-outs that allow religious organisations to sack, expel or deny service to LGBTQ+ people
  • Ending harmful conversion practices and ensuring support for survivors
  • Removing legal barriers to ensure trans and gender diverse people can access ID that aligns with their gender
  • Ending unnecessary medical procedures on people with intersex variations without their consent
  • Developing a comprehensive whole-of-government strategy on LGBTQI+ inclusion, health and wellbeing
  • Providing additional funding for LGBTQI+ community support services

NSW has a special place in the history of LGBTQI+ equality. It’s where the trailblazing 78ers bravely stepped out of the bars and into the streets in protest for the first Sydney Mardi Gras. 

But the state is falling behind. While together we’ve been successful in sinking One Nation’s religion bill, the Parliament is failing to progress full equality for our communities and One Nation’s Education Bill still threatens the inclusion of trans and gender diverse students across the state.

Will you call on the Parliament to Act for Equality today?

Thank you for supporting us and remember that United We Shine. 

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Acknowledgement

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we celebrate and work.

We pay our respects to Elders past and present and recognise the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.

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Acknowledgement of country

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras acknowledges that our events take place on Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the Gadigal, Cammeraygal, Bidigal, Darug and Dharawal people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Sydney Basin.

We pay our Respects to their Elders past and present. Always was Always will be Aboriginal Land.