THE NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) has described its Rainbow Run fundraising event as a “smashing success” despite it being a target for homophobic acts.

An annual event held as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, more than 500 people descended upon Sydney Park in St Peters on Saturday to raise money and awareness for the NSW GLRL.

However, the mood was dampened when a small group of people attempted to disrupt the fun run with homophobic acts including graffiting Sydney Park with homophobic slurs, damaging NSW GLRL signage, theft, alleged tampering of audio equipment, and verbal abuse of two Rainbow Run volunteers.

NSW GLRL co-convenors Lauren Foy and Chris Pycroft said in a statement that they would not tolerate homophobia or vilification and the attempts to affect the mood of participants were not successful.

“Rainbow Run continued, and it was our most successful year yet,” they said.

“We’re proud of what this event has achieved, and that it is able to be a part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. Attempts to disrupt our events and/or any campaigning for full equality for lesbians, gay men and their families will only increase our resilience.”

Disappointing that homophobia still exists. It shouldn’t ever be tolerated under any circumstance. #rainbowrunsydney

— Chris Pycroft (@chrispytweets) February 27, 2016

 The NSW GLRL decided to release a statement after the event to ensure the LGBTI communities were protected at all times and to reassert its commitment to making sure that all schools, workplaces, homes, sporting fields and public spaces are safe spaces.

“With recent events in the political landscape, including heated debate around the Safe Schools Coalition, this serves as  a reminder to us that support services for our LGBTI communities have never been more important,” Foy and Pycroft said.

“We as an organisation are dedicated to playing a key role in working towards social and legislative equality for our LGBTI communities.”

Pycroft said NSW Police had also been helpful and were investigating the incidents.

“NSW Police have been incredibly supportive and expressed their disappointment when notified of events at Rainbow Run,” he said.

“An investigation has been opened, and the inclusion of Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers at next year’s event is currently being considered”.

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