proudly diverse

proudly diverse

June is Pride Month! A time to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community. 

This year’s theme is “Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You” which is about empowering each other. 

While the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held in the warmer months of February and March, the origins of the gay rights movement begin in June in Sydney too. 

On 24 June in 1978 saw Sydney's first Mardi Gras when more than 500 people gathered to march down Oxford Street in commemoration of the Stonewall riots, calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, which was still illegal in NSW. Police broke up the march and arrested 53 people. Those first protesters came to be known as the ‘78ers’ 

Following the arrests, many of the 78ers had their names published on the front page of a local newspaper, some lost their jobs, homes, were shunned by loved ones and some were even forced to leave the country. 

LGBTIQ+ rights has come a long way since then in Australia with marriage equality in place and bans across nearly all states on dangerous LGBTIQ+ conversion practices. 

Despite the significant progress, there is still work to do, which is why Pride month is important. 

Currently there is a significant gap between LGBTIQ+ mental health outcomes in comparison to the general population. 

LGBTIQ+ Australians continue to experience higher psychological distress and significant levels of anxiety as a result of prejudice and discrimination. Research from LGBTIQ+ Australia found 5.2% of LGBT people aged 18 and over reported having attempted suicide in the past 12 months, compared to 1.1% of the general population. 

While Pride offers us all a chance to celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community, it’s also a time to reflect on what more must be done.