LGBTIQ+ protest at Pell funeral to go ahead after police dispute

Protesters will rally against George Pell outside the Catholic Cardinal's funeral
Images: CARR (left), EWTN/YouTube (right)

An LGBTIQ+ rights protest planned near Catholic Cardinal George Pell’s funeral in Sydney tomorrow will go ahead after NSW Police and organisers agreed on an alternative route.

Australia’s most senior Catholic died age 81 on January 10. On Thursday (February 2), thousands will attend a requiem mass for George Pell at St Mary’s Cathedral, where Pell served as archbishop.

Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) are planning their nearby “Pell Go To Hell” rally in Sydney on Thursday morning.

But NSW Police took last-minute legal action to block it, citing safety concerns. Police took organisers to the NSW Supreme Court to ban the public assembly.

The LGBTIQ+ group accused police of “stifling opposition” to Pell from “coming within sight or earshot of funeral attendees”.

NSW Police told the court they did not oppose the protest itself, only the proposed route including along College Street next to St Mary’s Cathedral.

Police did not wish to prevent the public assembly, but the route “causes problems in terms of public safety,” a lawyer representing NSW Police told the court.

But by Wednesday afternoon, police and protest organisers had agreed to an alternative route for the march.

The new route will see the protest go up to College Street but not go on it, the court heard.

Protest to reject ‘vile legacy’ of Cardinal George Pell

CARR earlier vowed the protest would go ahead regardless of the court verdict.

But organiser Kim Stern said the agreement with police will bring the “loud, visible, angry rally” within “clear view of St Mary’s cathedral during the funeral service.”

“We’re now able to march up, right opposite the church, and have our voices heard,” Stern said on Wednesday.

CARR said protesters will gather to “take a stand for women’s rights, LGBTI rights and justice for survivors of abuse at the hands of the church.”

“We think that it’s pretty grotesque an arch defender of homophobia, sexism, who said abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests abusing children, gets to have a celebration of his life,” Stern said.

“Pell was a monster who crusaded against the rights of women, gays and transgender people, and was complicit in a culture of systematic child abuse within the church.”

CARR activist Eddie Stephenson criticised George Pell’s “admirers in the conservative establishment” for wanting to celebrate his life.

“The attendance of high-profile archbigots at Pell’s funeral shows that these people to keep his vile legacy alive,” Stephenson said.

“It is disgusting that anyone would want to celebrate Pell, least of all some of Australia’s most powerful politicians.”

Stephenson said in New South Wales, “religious institutions like schools still have the right to discriminate on the basis of sexuality.”

“We think it’s important that there is a visible show of opposition outside Pell’s funeral to send the message that the majority reject Pell and the sexist, homophobic politics he stood for.”

Ribbons tied to St Mary’s Cathedral gates to represent clergy abuse victims

Meanwhile, clergy abuse survivors and others have tied ribbons to the church gates at St Mary’s Cathedral. Each ribbon gives a voice to a victim of abuse.

But since Pell’s death, St Mary’s church staff have removed the ribbons multiple times. They cut them off again on Wednesday, but advocates quickly replaced them.

Satirist and activist Pauline Pantsdown, who has promoted the tying of the ribbons on Twitter, tweeted on Wednesday that St Mary’s staff agreed to allow a “significant section” of ribbons to stay.

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Read also: Catholic Cardinal George Pell was homophobic to the end

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Julian
    6 February 2023

    ,, religious people look what happened to Jesus ,,
    They should keep their Nose out of peoples Bedrooms ,,

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