The ongoing role of the 78ers

Mardi Gras has, at its roots, the social and political struggle by early lesbian and gay activists and their supporters against oppression and discrimination. We believe our history is important because our comparative freedoms today rest on the efforts and personal sacrifices of those who were brave enough to confront a hostile society and work for change.

Many 78ers continue to carry trauma from the Police abuse on the night of the first Parade. Since the first Parade, many 78ers have also passed away but through our ongoing involvement in Mardi Gras, we continue to commemorate their contribution to the history of lesbian and gay activism in Australia.

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celebrating our history

Our history reminds us that while much has been achieved since 1978, there is still a long way to go.  It was only in 2016, 38 years after the events of 1978 that a public apology was made by the NSW Parliament and the Sydney Morning Herald. And while an apology was also made by a NSW Police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Officer, no apology by the NSW Police Commissioner has ever been received.

UPDATE: On Thursday August 9, 2018 NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller gave an official apology of behalf of the Police Force for the actions of police during the events of 1978. In addition to an unreserved apology, Commissioner Fuller committed the Police Force to never repeating the abuse suffered by 78ers. 


While marriage equality has finally been achieved, this victory has come too late for some members of our community. And while homophobia, harassment and discrimination may appear to have declined, it has not disappeared. Young lesbians and gays continue to be forced out of home and bullied at school, sometimes to the point of suicide. In some Australian States, adoption by same sex couples is still not permitted or is subject to discriminatory provisions.

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As an organisation, we remain committed to increasing public understanding of human rights issues affecting LGBTIQ communities and to advocating for protection of these rights.  We have a particular focus on raising awareness of the general inappropriateness of aged care services for our ageing community.  We are also committed to protecting the civil right to peaceful public protest and to standing vigilant against the institutional abuse of power.