Every June is Pride Month. Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to celebrating all things sexuality and gender diversity. DAS is proud to provide support services for many individuals living with a disability and who are part of the LGBTQ community.  All our staff undertake inclusivity training, and some of our staff identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community as well. This makes Pride Month important to us and we strongly believe everyone should be free to ‘Be You!’.

The Sydney Pride Festival will run from the 2nd until the 30th of June. This year Sydney Pride is about empowering each other. “Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You!” will focus on being your authentic self and finding pride. Head on over to Sydney Pride for a look at all of the events happening during the month of June.

Sydney PRIDE History

Did you know that the first ever Mardi Gras was held on the 24th of June in 1978? It was a night time celebration following a morning protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. 

More than 500 people moved down Oxford Street, calling for an end to discrimination. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. A total of 53 marchers were arrested, although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment. Many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in NSW until 1984. 

The Mardi Gras Parade occurred again in 1979, and was attended by 3000 people. While there was a large police presence, there were no arrests made. In 1980, no parade was held, but following community consultation, decisions were made to move the parade to Summer.

In 1981 the parade was shifted to February, with the name changed to Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. An increasingly large number not only participated in the event, but a crowd of 5000 came to watch it.

The mid 1980s saw pressure placed on the Mardi Gras Committee following media controversy regarding AIDS. Despite calls for the parade and party to be banned, the parade went ahead anyway with the theme “Fighting for our Lives”.

The first giant post-parade party was held in 1982, which 4000 people attended. This would continue to become an integral part of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. In 1988 the parade was renamed the “Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras” at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

By 1993, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade had become the largest night time outdoor parade in the world. Mardi Gras’ Economic Impact Study found that Mardi Gras’ total impact into the Australian economy was around $38 million Sydney Mardi Gras is one of the biggest GLBT Celebrations in the World and 2011 was attended by record crowds.

Sydney Pride Festival Website.

You can also find more info from our friends at ACON and Pride in Health and Wellbeing

Autism and Gender Diverse People

Many studies have been undertaken to understand whether there is a link between Autism and Gender Diverse People. According to the largest study to date, people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are three to six times as likely to be autisic as cisgender people are. The connection between this is yet to be determined. Gender diverse people are also more likely to report autism traits and to suspect they have undiagnosed autism. 

The study, led by Simon Baron-Cohen, also found that gender diverse people also report, on average, more traits associated with autism, such as sensory difficulties, pattern recognition skills and lower rates of empathy – Spectrum | Autism Research News, Laura Dattaro, 14th September 2020.

Head on over to Spectrum News to read the full article.