About 400 supporters flooded Sydney’s Town Hall on Sunday afternoon, calling for increased rights for trans people.
The large scale event celebrated the 45th anniversary of Sydney’s first Mardi Gras march on June 24, 1978, as well as the 1978 Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969 after the violent police raid of a New York gay bar.
The coalition of trans rights and community groups, including the Rainbow Rights Coalition, Safe Schools, the United Workers Union and Community Action for Rainbow Rights, Pride in Protest and the NSW Civil Liberties Council demanded tightened anti-discrimination laws to protect trans people when applying for jobs or housing, or when accessing healthcare and education.
They also called for the reinstatement of the Safe Schools program to teach students about gender diversity, and allow trans people to identify as their chosen gender without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Prior to the Trans Rights are Human Rights rally, the Rainbow Rights Coalition spokesperson Rachel Evans said the group had received threatening calls with blocked called IDs, which she believed were from right wing groups.
About 400 trans rights protesters gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall calling for more rights for trans people and tougher anti-discriminations laws on Sunday
The coalition of trans rights and community groups, including the Rainbow Rights Coalition, Safe Schools, the United Workers Union and Community Action for Rainbow Rights, Pride in Protest and the NSW Civil Liberties Council
They contained homophobic, and life-threatening taunts including messages like: ‘You’re a bunch of f*****s, we’re going to come and kill you,’ said Ms Evans.
Ms Evans said the organisation would be monitoring for further threats and had yet to contact police.
‘In my experience, I have had death threats in organising queer action, and I called police and they didn’t do anything about,’ she said.’If and when more threats come through, we as a collective will figure if we go to the police.’
Activist, and a 78er – a term given to those who marched in the original Sydney Mardi Gras parade in 1978 – Jess Hooley called for bodily autonomy.
‘Trans people claim the right to choose to live our genders by claiming ownership of our bodies,’ she said.
‘This is the same struggle feminists have. They are struggles for rational self determination and bodily autonomy.’
She called for LGBTQI+ supporters to rally together, without any ‘hierarchy or status’.
‘So my friends, what we must do is we have must have solidarity across a range of differences. We must have diverse alliances,’ she said.
Protesters and trans rights groups called for the reinstatement of the Safe Schools program and allow trans people to identify as their chosen gender without undergoing gender reassignment surgery
Activist, and a 78er Jess Hooley (pictured) called for bodily autonomy, saying, ‘Trans people claim the right to choose to live our genders by claiming ownership of our bodies’
Earlier this week, independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich announced his intention to introduce an omnibus Equality Bill which aims to ban gay conversion therapy, allow teenagers over 16 to change their sex and gender without surgery, and tighten surgery consent laws for intersex people.
Coinciding with Pride Month, Mr Greenwich said his proposed Equality Bill, which will be introduced later this year, will work to ‘make life easier for a trans person’.
‘Since discussing this legislation right across the parliament, I really welcome the open hearts and open minds that so many have expressed towards me,’ he said.
‘This is a state that really values and cares for LGBTQI+ citizens and it’s time that our state’s laws reflect that.
‘NSW currently lags behind every other state and territory and with this bill we have a chance to really lead.’
It comes as independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich (pictured) announced his intention to introduce an omnibus Equality Bill which aims to ban gay conversion therapy
NSW Premier Chris Minns said his government has yet to confirm whether it will support all aspects of the bill.
‘We’re looking at it closely. We’re not ready to announce the government’s response to all aspects of the bill, as it currently stands, but I anticipate that won’t be too far away,’ he said.
‘The reason I’m reluctant to give a blanket support to the Equality Bill is that it’s important for people to understand it involves major changes to many different parts of legislation.
‘Ordinarily those bills would be split into different components.’
However, Mr Minns has committed to banning ‘dangerous and damaging’ gay conversion therapy in the lead up to the March state election, and said there would be continued consultation and collaboration with Mr Greenwich.