24 February 2023 – On the eve of Mardi Gras and a month out from the NSW election, national LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia has been joined by Mardi Gras and ACON in launching Act for Equality, a campaign calling on all NSW parliamentarians to commit to action on outstanding LGBTIQ+ human rights issues. 

“Today, on the eve of Sydney’s iconic Mardi Gras, we’re launching Act for Equality, calling on all NSW parliamentarians to commit to ensuring all LGBTIQ+ people can live free from discrimination and harm”, said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia 

“NSW has a special place in the history of LGBTIQ+ 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 job is not finished, and the state is falling behind, failing to progress full equality for LGBTIQ+ people.” 

“We welcome the newly formed multi-partisan commitment to end LGBTQA+ conversion practices in NSW, but we have a long way to go. Not only do conversion practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s who we are remain legal in this state, religious schools and other organisations can still discriminate against LGBTQ+ students, teachers and people accessing services.  

“Intersex people still don’t have a say about medical procedures performed on their bodies.” 

“And NSW is one of the last remaining states where trans and gender diverse people still face cruel and unnecessary barriers when accessing ID documents that recognise them for who they are. 

The groups launched Act for Equality at a press event the day before Sydney’s famous Mardi Gras parade, referring to the parades origins as a protest for LGBTIQ+ rights.   

“This Mardi Gras is special. After 2 long years and through the pandemic, the Mardi Gras Parade will finally be coming home to Oxford Street. 

“If it wasn’t for the bravery of the 78ers who marched in defence of their rights 45 years ago, we wouldn’t be here today.  

“Amid the glitz, glam and confetti, let’s not forget that as the host of Sydney WorldPride this year, the world’s eyes are focussed on NSW, and it’s record on the rights of LGBTIQ+ people.  

The campaign coalition urged parliament to address the social stigma and legal discrimination that drives the disadvantage, distress and disproportionately poor health outcomes.  

“NSW has a much to be proud of. With the support of the governments of the day, our community led the world in our response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and continue to make progress towards the goal of ending HIV in our state”, said Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of LGBTQ+ health group ACON 

“Government has also supported the development of an excellent LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy. We hope to see bi-partisan commitment to continuing funding for that strategy and for the next Parliament to ensure it tackles the structural causes of disadvantage and distress for our communities, by protecting them from discrimination and harm.”  

Media contact: Matthew Phillips, media@equalityaustralia.org.au, 0408 541 717 

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