The Sydney Mardi Gras festival began in 1978 as a struggle for civil rights, with people taking to the streets demanding legal equality and social justice for sexual and gender minorities.

While the Mardi Gras season is now seen as predominantly a celebration of sexual and gender diversity, at the heart of the festivities remains the ongoing political struggle for legal recognition and equal treatment of sex, sexuality and gender diverse people.

During the 2011 Mardi Gras season the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) will be both celebrate and educate people about our achievements to date, including equal age of consent in NSW, the recognition of lesbian co-mothers, the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in NSW and federally, and most recently, same-sex adoption.

While we have made significant gains, we must also address the remaining inequalities, such as the lack of federal anti-discrimination protections for sex, sexuality and gender diverse people and the heterosexist language in the Marriage Act, and continue to push for necessary reform.

To do this, the GLRL, as a predominantly volunteer-based organisation, relies on the generosity of community members to fund our work, without which we could not continue to lobbyfor equality and social justice for lesbians, gay men and their families.

You can support the GLRL in a number of ways.

To join the GLRL, complete and send in a form from our website at www.glrl.org.au Annual membership is only $25 or $10 for concessions and entitles you to discounts to GLRL events, such as our regular Rights Nights, our Mardi Gras

Float, and our exciting new event, ‘Politicians Say Something’, happening tomorrow night.

Buying tickets to Politicians Say Something will not only give you the opportunity to quiz a panel of NSW MPs from all major parties, just a month before the state election, about issues important to you, but a portion of the proceeds raised from ticket sales will also go to fund GLRL’s work. Visit www.glrl.org.au now to buy tickets.

You can also donate money to the GLRL by visiting www.givenow.com.au

From all of us at the GLRL, have a fabulous Mardi Gras, and please take time out from partying to support an organisation that supports you.

By KELLIE MCDONALD, GLRL

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