78ers march at the Sydney gay and lesbian mardi gras

The first Mardi Gras participants finally receive an apology for the abuse they experienced 38 years ago.

The New South Wales Government has officially apologised to the demonstrators of the first Mardi Gras in 1978.

Introduced by Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith, the apology addressed “the harm and distress the events of 1978 have had on them, and their families, and for the past discrimination and persecution of the LGBTIQ community.”

More than thirty years after the arrest and abuse of many people, Notley-Smith apologised to a packed public gallery on behalf of the Government.

In the apology Notley-Smith said,

“We recognise that you were ill-treated; you were mistreated; you were embarrassed and shamed, and it was wrong. I hope it’s not too late that you can accept an apology, but also, we want to recognise that for all of that pain that you went through, you brought about fundamental change in this society and fundamental change for the many gay and lesbian people like myself, who can be open and relaxed about ourselves.”

He called the group of courageous men and women “game changers” and added, “For the mistreatment you suffered that evening, as a member of this Parliament, who oversaw the events of that night, I apologise, and I say sorry. As a member of a parliament that dragged its feet on the decriminalisation of homosexual acts, I apologise.”

The apology was met with loud cheers from the gallery.