LGBTQIA+ flags waving against a blue sky

5 Ways to Be an LGBTQIA+ Ally this Sydney Mardi Gras

With the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras just around the corner you may be wondering how you can support the LGBTQIA+ people in your community.

1. Learn about the history of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

The first Mardi Gras occurred on 24th June 1978, as an event to celebrate gay and lesbian culture and to protest the discrimination they faced everyday. However, the march down Oxford Street ended with police arrests and violence against the protestors.

The following months saw many wins and losses for LGBTQA+ rights, but by April 1979 the NSW Summary Offences Act legislation, which had allowed the arrests, was repealed. From then on Mardi Gras gained momentum as a symbol of hard won civil rights for the LGBTQA+ community. The event was moved to Summer and now includes a number of community events as well as the annual protest and parade.

You can learn more about the history of Mardi Gras here.

2. Support the LGBTQIA+ people in your life

Send a text message or call the LGBTQIA+ people in your life to let them know you’re thinking of them as they celebrate their identity. It can mean so much to your friends, family and co-workers to know you’re supporting them.

You can also attend events to show your support for the community, or support local LGBTQIA+ businesses or safe spaces.

3. Start conversations with your co-workers, family or friends about LGBTQIA+ rights

Conversations can help to raise awareness, address misconceptions and motivate the people around us to learn more about allyship. Starting conversations about LGBTQIA+ rights can be scary, but know that your voice is powerful. The support you show for the LGBQTIA+ community will encourage others to do the same – and its these daily interactions which make positive change possible.

You can start off these conversations by talking about the history of Mardi Gras, or discussing your plans for the weekend or even inviting people to come along to the march. Everyone is on a different stage of their allyship journey and even a casual conversation can be a big step to learning more about human rights.

4. Take action

Together we can challenge injustice against the LGBTQIA+ community.

In February 2021, survivor advocates alongside over 35,000 Amnesty supporters took action calling for legislation to ban harmful conversion practices. Hundreds reached out directly to Members of the Legislative Council.

On 4 February 2021 the Victoria’s Legislative Council passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill (2020). The Bill puts in place new measures and penalties to protect LGBTQA+ Victorians from conversion practices, and makes it clear that LGBTQA+ people aren’t ‘broken’ and don’t need to be ‘fixed.’

This was a huge win for the LGBTQA+ community. Together we can continue to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights.

Learn more about our campaign for LGBTQIA+ rights here.

5. Sign up for updates about our upcoming LGBTQIA+ Ally Guide

Alongside our Anti-Racism Ally Guide, Amnesty will be releasing an LGBTQIA+ Guide this year to support your journey becoming an active ally for the LGBTQIA+ community. You can sign up below for updates about the Guide.

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Amnesty International