The Sydney Morning Herald has apologised for its coverage of the inaugural Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – 38 years after the event.

At the time, homosexuality was still outlawed in New South Wales and several hundred people assembled in Taylor Square, calling for the end to anti-gay laws, the end of discrimination in employment and housing, and an end to police harassment.

Despite obtaining permission to hold the rally, it was revoked and the police brutally broke up the march, arresting 53 protesters.

The SMH published the names, addresses and professions of those arrested, many of whom lost their jobs and were ostracised by family and friends.

Darren Goodsir, editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, said: “In 1978, The Sydney Morning Herald reported the names, addresses and professions of people arrested during public protests to advance gay rights.

The paper at the time was following the custom and practice of the day.

We acknowledge and apologise for the hurt and suffering that reporting caused. It would never happen today.”

Today, the NSW Legislative Assembly will formally apologise for the ill-treatment of march participants, known as the ‘78ers’, on behalf of the state.

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