BY MAURICE FARRELL
SYDNEY More than 200 people joined a rally and march on June 27 to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Stonewall Bar riot in New York City, considered the birthplace of the modern lesbian and gay rights movement.
Participants marched from Sydney Town Hall to Taylor Square. The action was organised by the National Union of Students and Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH).
Rathana Chea from CAAH explained why the struggle for gay rights is as urgent now as it was 33 years ago. Renewed attacks on gays and lesbians over the last year include the stalling of age of consent law amendments in NSW parliament, the Liberal Party's attacks on lesbian and gay parents' access to IVF treatment, Senator Bill Heffernan's attacks on Justice Kirby's homosexuality and increasing police raids on Queer night clubs and venues around Australia.
Glenn Vassallo from Bi Pride pointed out the hypocrisy of the age of consent laws. An Amnesty International speaker outlined the situation lesbians and gay men face in other countries and criticised the Australian government's refusal to grant refugee status to gays and lesbians who are fleeing persecution and violence.
Other speakers spoke of the need to build support within the queer community for the campaign to free the refugees.
From Green Left Weekly, July 10, 2002.
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