MUA members joined 80 unionists from a diverse range of industries and occupations on Saturday night and marched with Union Pride for the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Mardi Gras.
The Union Pride float featured a strong MUA contingent, as well as leaders from across our movement including ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey and RTBU Secretary Alex Claassens.
The night was a huge success with participants dressing up as the feminist and pro-worker icon Rosie the Riveter. More importantly the presence of Union Pride at the Mardi Gras sent a powerful political message and showed the community at large that the trade union movement stands for rainbow equality.
The Union Pride float celebrated the historic marriage equality win and saluted the efforts of our movement in securing a strong YES victory. The AMWU, CPSU and MUA seconded staff to work full time on the Australian Marriage Equality (AME) campaign in NSW. Union Pride also hit the streets to enrol young people to vote and hosted calling parties reminding citizens all over the country to return their postal ballots on time.
MUA wharfie Naomi Cain marched for the first time.
“It was important to me to be with MUA comrades as our union is all about supporting and uplifting people. I marched for my gay aunty Kerrie Anne who proposed to her partner Elizabeth the day of the Yes vote.”
(Photo: MUA contigent at Sydney Mardi Gras 2018)
Our movement has a long and proud history of advancing LGBTIQ rights. The Builders Labour Federation (BLF) which is now part of the Construction Forestry Mining Union (CFMEU) was the first union in the world to take industrial action in support of gay rights. The first Mardi Gras started as a radical protest back in 1978 and was organised by the trade unionists.
“I wanted to march under the union banner as we have a proud history of standing alongside our LGBTIQ comrades. I felt proud to be part of that history and I want to help keep that flame alive” says MUA wharfie Ruben Fela.
(Photo: MUA members Leydre Diaz and Naomi Cain)
The MUA Sydney Branch fully supports Union Pride and wants to congratulate all the rank-and-file members that participated on Saturday night. Branch Secretary Paul McAleer speaks about the importance of the march.
“The MUA Sydney Branch marched at Mardi Gras as a celebration of the radical history of the LGBTIQ+ struggle for equality and respect. Last year’s victory for marriage equality was born in the struggle of the 78ers, and the marchers that followed that were beaten by the police on the streets with their batons and beaten by the politicians in Parliament with their legislation of hate. The MUA Sydney Branch will always fight on the side of the oppressed and exploited and we will keep marching until exploitation and inequality are beaten into the dustbin of history. Happy Mardi Gras!” says Branch Secretary McAleer.
If you would like to be in the Mardi Gras float for 2019 please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo: MUA member Stephen Husband and family)