78er UNISEX Crew Socks
Mix positivity and comfort with a Kind is Cool favourite
- Available in white with rainbow stripes!
- Features the BE KIND message in a bold font
- Unisex size 6-10
- Supportive arch band
- 3/4 length style
- Ethically sourced and designed in Australia
- 77% cotton / 20% polyester / 3% elastane
- $2 from each t shirt sold is donated to Youth Projects & Minus 18
Meet our ambassadors The 78er's
The 78ers were the men and women who participated in Australia’s first ever Mardi Gras in 1978. Held on June 24, 1978 the march was planned to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and to highlight the unfair laws facing the Australian LGTBQIA+ community. Australian society in the late 1960s was hostile to homosexuals or, at least, its institutions were. The law treated gay men as criminals who could be locked away for 14 years for the “abominable crime of buggery”, and the police actively tried to prosecute them. The medical profession regarded lesbians and gay men as sick, and some even tried to change their orientation in horrific ways, often with legal sanction. Treatment techniques including both aversion therapy (such as the administering of electric shocks) and lobotomies. A group of 50 Australian men and women from all sectors of the LGBTQIA+ community began walking with purpose through the streets of sydney. What had started as a fun event was dramatically altered by systematic, brutal bashings and arrests by Police.
Despite having an approved permit to ‘assemble and march’, as the parade moved towards King Cross the NSW police blocked off both ends of Darlinghurst Road and started arresting people and throwing them violently into waiting paddy wagons. Marchers were punched, pushed over, kicked and dragged along the ground. The crowd fought back - people started fighting to release those arrested, pulling them out of the paddy wagons. Indigenous people and sex workers became involved in the fight. The bashing and arrests bound the group together.
In all, there were 53 arrests and some brutal bashings, particularly in the cells at Darlinghurst Police Station. It was the most systematic Police bashing and the highest number of arrests that had been seen in Australia against LGTBQIA+ community members. Further to this on Monday 26th June, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names, addresses and occupations of those arrested. This was devastating for those arrested – with many losing their jobs, being kicked out of home or having their rental tenancy terminated. Some committed suicide.
Over the next few months, a further 125 people were arrested at “Drop the Charges” marches and rallies. By April 1979, most of the charges were dropped after court battles. With the assistance of pro-bono lawyers, organised mainly by the Council for Civil Liberties, the community proved in court that the arrests were unlawful. The stage was set for the Mardi Gras parade to continue as an annual event.
The shocking violence and arrests by police during the first night-time Mardi Gras parade and the subsequent protests that took place from June to August 1978 constituted a significant turning point in lesbian and gay activism. Lesbian and gay individuals and organisations were united under common goals – an end to police harassment, repeal of oppressive legislation and an end to discrimination.The participants of these protests have since been dubbed the ‘78ers’ in honour of their collective efforts to make Australia a safer and more equal place for all those that identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Mardi Gras has, at its roots, the social and political struggle by early lesbian and gay activists and their supporters against oppression and discrimination. Kind is Cool recognizes and honours the founding mothers and fathers of Mardi Gras and with great pride names this tee in their honour in addition to providing a sizable donation to the 78ers and the ‘First Mardi Gras Inc.’ in acknowledgment of the sacrifices and efforts made to make Australia. Kind is Cool believes that the history of the movement is important because the comparative freedoms today rest on the efforts and personal sacrifices of those who were brave enough to confront a hostile society and work for change.
Many 78ers continue to carry trauma from the Police abuse on the night of the first parade. Since the first parade, many 78ers have also passed away but through our ongoing involvement in Mardi Gras, we continue to commemorate their contribution to the history of lesbian and gay activism in Australia. The 78ers are now championing the awareness and education of the 40 year LGTBQIA+ history of the community to inspire younger Australians to take collective action about things they care about and showcase the progress made and increase understanding of human rights issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community both within Australia and overseas.