The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney is outraged. And, the cause of their fury are photos shared by NSW Police on Instagram that showed their officers posing with Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day attendees dressed as “nuns.” 

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Sydney told Star Observer in a statement that the photos posted on social media were “extremely disappointing.”

Trigger Warning: This story has details of comments against LGBTQI community and Blak deaths in custody, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

NSW Police Delete Photos

 

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A post shared by NSW Police Force (@nswpolice)

“It’s sad to see an event created more than forty years ago to promote equality and end discrimination now evolve into something that celebrates and promotes the mockery of others,” the spokesperson said. 

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“Our Church, as articulated by Pope Francis, believes that gay and lesbian people should never be marginalised, but respected and welcomed at all times. – It is upsetting that as Catholics we are not afforded the same respect.” 

Read: CHRISTIAN WILKINS SLAMS HOMOPHOBIC MEDIA COVERAGE OF MARDI GRAS FAIR DAY DRESS

 “The NSW Police have been trusted with the responsibility of safeguarding our entire community. It’s extremely disappointing to see them promoting disparaging acts of any group, regardless of their values or beliefs,” the spokesperson added. 

The police took down the images following the objections. They posted another batch of photos and wrote: “Had so much fun at today’s Mardi Gras 2022 Fair Day – thanks for coming down and saying hello!” 

Police Proud To Support LGBTQI Community

NSW police mardi gras

File picture: Assistant Commissioner Gelina Talbot (centre) launches Operation Mardi Gras 2021 at the Sydney Police Centre on March 5, 2021.

Star Observer contacted the NSW Police’s media unit about the deletion of the photos.  In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Gelina Talbot, NSW Police Force Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex, said that the NSW Police Force was “proud to support the LGBTIQA+ community and remains committed to building and strengthening relationships through continuous engagement.”

 “The attendance of police at the Mardi Gras Festival Fair Day on Sunday (20 February 2022) is part of the ongoing commitment of officers to support our own LGBTIQA+ identifying employees, as well as the broader LGBTIQA+ community, and aims to reduce barriers to reporting crime.”

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Talbot added that “involvement in these events provides crucial visibility for our Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLO), which offers significant benefits in responding to crime experienced by the LGBTIQA+ community, and providing the highest standard of support services to those within the community.” 

Police At Pride

 

The police presence at Pride events has divided the LGBTQI community, with calls every year to not allow the police to march in uniform in Pride parades. 

Pride In Protest protested the police presence at Fair Day and drew attention to the recent death of 16-year-old Dunghutti Jai Wright on February 19. “Queer cultural events should not be pinkwashing Blak death. Our glitter and rainbows shouldn’t be on the cops’ bloody boots,” Pride in Protest posted on Facebook.

In January, a group of LGBTQI activists in Melbourne wrote an open letter to the Victoria Police asking its officers not to march in the annual Midsumma March.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

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