Days after the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, its board has discovered itself involved in controversy. 2 members of Pride In Demonstration have actually been stood down from their positions as Mardi Gras board directors, including the only honestly transwoman and sex employee on the board.
Charlie Murphy and Alex Bouchet from Pride in Demonstration were momentarily stood down following a meeting of the board on March 4, 2021.
According to Alex, he and Charlie were surprised to get correspondence asking to discuss why they ought to not be completely removed from the Mardi Gras board.
Alex and Charlie alleged that the 5 others members on the board of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras– Jesse Matheson, Mel Schwerdt, Louis Hudson, Rob Smith, and Giovanni Campolo-Arcidiaco– voted “in a secret meeting” to eliminate them.
Mardi Gras Protest March On Oxford Street
RIGHT-WING MARDI GRAS BOARD MEMBERS STAND DOWN PRIDE IN DEMONSTRATION BOARD MEMBERS FOR ARRANGING QUEER RIGHTS STREET DEMONSTRATION pic.twitter.com/z9H8lk6XXT
— Pride in Protest (@prideinprotest) March 18, 2021
” Charlie and Alex had no notification, or right of reply prior to this choice was made … By choosing to punish Charlie and Alex for their participation in this march, they are penalizing them for supporting the liberation of oppressed groups and fighting for the right to protest,” Pride In Demonstration stated in a statement.
The demonstration march was held on the very same day as the official Mardi Gras parade, which was moved from its Oxford Street path to a ticketed occasion at the Sydney Cricket Ground to comply with COVIDSafe policies this year. The Mardi Gras parade itself had actually seen 4 members of the political satirist group Department of Homo Affairs (DoHA) staging a protest versus the authorities presence at the occasion.
The protest march had required scrapping of transphobic religious freedoms costs, ending necessary detention, required deportations, Black deaths in custody, and the over policing of Black communities, totally decriminalising sex work, and decriminalising and legalising substance abuse.
‘ Mardi Gras Board Decision Unconstitutional’
” I am a trans female and out sex employee, who together with Scarlet Alliance required national decriminalisation of sex work this Mardi Gras, as well as combated against Mark Latham’s horrendous transphobic bill. I should not need to describe to five members of the Board why it’s ethically right to eliminate for the rights of my neighborhoods, my sis and siblings. Rather, those Board Members should freely explain to the neighborhood and the subscription precisely what it is about that they find so wicked.” Charlie Murphy said in an action to the Board.
Alex in his letter to the Board said that the stand down was unconstitutional. We were notified of the decision of a secret meeting after the fact, and not only provided no notice but offered no right to argue versus the motion,” Alex stated, including that the board decision was politically motivated.
‘ Not Stood Down For Protest March’
In a statement, the board co-chairs verified that Charlie and Alex were stood down temporarily from their positions as board directors for 28 days.
— Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (@sydneymardigras) March 15, 2021
” This followed months of discussions with both Charlie Murphy and Alex Bouchet. Reports (that) they were stood down due to the fact that of the Mardi Gras protest march are inaccurate,” the co-chairs said.
The statement further stated that the board is anticipated to fulfill soon to discuss its next steps and stated they wanted to “handle this situation confidentially, appreciating the privacy for all those involved.”
” The Board will continue to work constructively with Charlie Murphy and Alex Bouchet, along with offer and offer them support throughout this time. While we understand this has actually triggered some issue in the community, please know that as a Board, we will constantly act in the best interests of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and continue to guide the organisation in the direction that you set for us,” the statement added.
Pride in Demonstration explained that it was the members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras that had actually democratically chosen the board directors, including Alexand Charlie. “We call on the SGLMG board to instantly set up open meetings and end the secret closed door conferences which subvert the democracy of the organisation and transparency to the subscription,” the organisation stated.
© Star Observer 2020