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Protesters descend upon Oxford Street for Mardi Gras 2022

The queer community marched down the historic route to rally in support of queer rights and against recent Religious Discrimination legislations.

Photography by Tiger Perkins

Protester marched down Oxford Street in protest of religious discrimination, corporatisation of Mardi Gras and in support of transgender rights within the context of a looming federal election. 

The rally was a joint effort between Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) and Pride in Protest (PiP). 

Several contingents were sent by various community organisations ranging from Leichhardt Uniting Church, the Socialist Alliance and USyd SRC Women’s Collective. 

In an impassioned speech, Wei Thai-Haynes, an organiser from PiP and a Mardi Gras Board Director, framed the action as a crucial strategy against political developments such as the shelved Religious Discrimination Bill and Claire Chandler’s proposal to bar transgender women from competitive sports. 

“The Religious Freedom Bill is shelved but it is not dead. They can bring this back up when they win re-election,” Thai-Haynes said. 

Refugee rights activist Dr Lyngaran Selveratnam, who hails from the Tamil community, also delivered a speech criticising the Morrison and past Labor Governments for the deportation and mandatory detention of asylum seekers. 

“We have to hold every one of these bloody politicians to account,” Selveratnam said.  

Similarly, April Holcombe, an organiser from CARR argued that both major parties were committed to enforcing religious freedom legislation and advocated for mass activism. Other USyd speakers highlighted the ongoing battle within higher education to secure more generous leave entitlements for gender transition.

Protesters then marched the historic route down Oxford Street towards Hyde Park with various chants such as: “When trans rights are under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

The rally culminated in a dance at Hyde Park with tunes played by dedicated DJs.