I speak in proud support of Wakehurst's LGBTQI+ community and express my sincere congratulations to all involved in Sydney WorldPride 2023. As Sydneysiders, we were incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity to showcase the love, the kindness and the celebration of our diversity on the world stage
Without doubt, Sydney WorldPride was one of the most successful major events this city has ever held. Much like my electorate of Wakehurst, Sydney is a diverse and multicultural place and it is essential that we celebrate and embrace the diversity by providing a safe and inclusive environment for everybody. As we all know, organising a WorldPride event is no easy task, and it requires intense planning, coordination, and effort. It was incredible to see Sydney come alive because of all who rose to the challenge and worked together to create an unforgettable experience for everyone who attended.
This event meant so much to so many. Behind the lights, the rainbows, the concerts and the parties, we know that much was achieved, and what was achieved was far deeper. With fearless, unbridled celebration of our rainbow communities and a focus on human rights, this was for every person who has been excluded. This was for everyone who has been hurt. This was for everyone we have lost to hatred. This was a powerful display of who we are as a society, and, importantly, who we are going to be moving forward. Kindness, compassion, inclusion, visibility—this was Sydney at its best. I take this time to acknowledge and sincerely thank the organisers of Sydney WorldPride. Specifically, I thank and congratulate Kate Wickett and her incredible team. I knew of her but only met her for the first time today, although I did know of what she has been up to. What she achieved is nothing short of remarkable. I also thank the member for Sydney for his tireless work advocating for our rainbow communities. As the member for Sydney knows all too well, hatred and discrimination against LGBTQI+ communities and individuals persists. Whilst there is much to celebrate, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that there is still much work to do.
In the months following Sydney WorldPride, it has been distressing to see high‑profile anti‑trans personalities on tour, and targeted violence against queer people spike in the CBD. I want to be very clear with the people of Wakehurst on the northern beaches: As your representative, I will continue to champion equality and inclusion, and I will represent voices which, historically, have been left behind. In my first speech in this very Chamber, I spoke about my own uncle. When I was young, my uncle almost lost his life following a horrific and targeted beating because he was gay. It is that firsthand experience of witnessing someone I loved being the victim of such a violent attack that propels me to firmly stand up against hatred and discrimination in our society. I look forward to working with the member for Sydney on his upcoming legislation to ban harmful conversion therapy practices. It is astounding that today, in 2023, New South Wales has not yet taken the steps to protect queer and gender‑diverse people from those practices.
I am so proud of the work of local groups and organisations that operate within Wakehurst and across the northern beaches area to provide LGBTQI+ support and advocacy. Groups like Fusion Pride, GLAM and Girls On Fire have taken up the challenge of supporting queer and gender‑diverse people, making sure that they are visible and included in our wider local community. The "insular peninsula" was very proud to play its part in WorldPride. As mayor of the Northern Beaches Council—the "insular peninsula"—I was proud and humbled to preside over a unanimous council vote to actively and visibly support local WorldPride activities. That included a very special grants program that allowed local groups the funds to put on events to celebrate WorldPride in their own backyard. We, as a parliament, are gifted with the opportunity to make life safer for LGBTQI+ people. It is our responsibility to ensure everyone feels valued and respected.
By securing LGBTQI+ rights and protections, we can help to achieve this important goal. To all who organised, supported and participated in Sydney WorldPride, I am proud to stand here and recognise your incredible achievements. As the member for Wakehurst, I look forward to working with local groups to pave the way to a kinder, safer and more inclusive community. Finally, to every LGBTQI+ person in Wakehurst and beyond, I see you. You are so valued, and I am proud to represent your interests in this Parliament. To the member for Sydney, I love your work.