Statement from the Community 

In 1984 our love was finally decriminalised. Our brave elders walked out of the bars and into the streets to make this possible.  

Ten years on, in 1994, we were mourning a generation, many of them young gay men, lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  

But our community organisations grew, and we learnt to work together for our own safety, health and happiness, particularly as those who were supposed to protect us let us down (as a Special Commission of Inquiry would much later find).  

We carried whistles to ward off attackers and the Dykes on Bikes kept us safe as we learnt to celebrate our resilience and pride through the grief and fear marking the times. 

The 90s would mark the beginnings of significant law reform – the first recognition of trans gender identities and later all our relationships.  

Within twenty years, by 2004, too many same sex partners being ignored by hospital bedsides had led to our relationships finally being recognised by law, and an equal age of consent.  

Three decades later, by 2014, many of our kids were legally recognised as part of our families and a scheme was introduced to wipe old criminal records that should never have been crimes. 

Now, in 2024, so much has changed. 

We can marry thanks to the millions who stood with us, having come with us on the journey of acceptance and understanding for over forty years. 

And earlier this year - with welcome bipartisanship across our NSW Parliament - those who seek to harm us, by attempting to change or suppress who we are, were the ones finally outlawed.  

But many would be surprised to know that gay and trans teachers and students can still be legally fired or expelled from private schools. Trans people are denied ID that matches their identity unless they have invasive surgery that many can’t access or may not want. And not all of our families are recognised.  

These issues are among the unfinished business of our times.  

On this historic fortieth anniversary, on behalf of the communities we are proud to call our own, we thank those who have marched with us, voted for us and stood up for us.  

As you deliver this historic and gracious apology, we now call on the NSW Parliament to honour the bravery of our rainbow elders and make it better for the next generation by also finishing the unfinished business of 1984.   

Let’s make 2024 the year that NSW finally removes all the remaining discrimination facing LGBTIQ+ people in our laws.