There is a couple I know, it has been through wonderful fate and chance I had the utter pleasure of meeting them on social media, this couple are celebrating 45 years together. I have no idea what these men have experienced in their lives but I’ve no doubt they have enjoyed immense joy together and love from those around them however no doubt they have experienced ingrained homophobia from others.
45 years! What was going on in the world about 45 years ago?
Beetles released “Yellow Submarine”
“Hooked on a Feeling”
“747 first flight”
What was the amazing LGBTI event that happened around this time? The Stonewall Riots – some may say the birth of the current Pride marches and celebrations. In the early hours of a morning in June 1969 a violent clash occurred between members of the LGBTI community and police in Greenwich Village in New York City. Reviewing history you can see this was the birth of activism. Look it up and learn more about Stonewall.
The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were a time that very few venues welcomed gay people. Raids of venues were routine in these decades and there were terrible outcomes. One example is the Upstairs Lounge Fire which took place in New Orleans in 1973 where 32 people died. This is an incredibly disturbing event and has faded from history. The cause remains undetermined. Families refused to collect the bodies of their loved ones because they were gay; churches refused to hold funerals or memorials; thankfully a few stepped forward to honour the people murdered.
There is not a lot of Australian history recorded around this time for the LGBTI community. The history though is interesting. Being a lesbian has never been illegal in Britain or Australia, yet being a gay man has been. Did you know that the ‘Gay Panic’ defense still remains in Queensland? If a man feels he is being faced with sexual advances by another man he can claim temporary insanity and this is a defense in assault and potentially murder. How many times has a woman experienced sexual advances from a man? There is no temporary insanity defense there for any outcomes. Why on earth does a man feel threatened by perceived advances from another man?
In 1984 the last man in Australia was charged with sexual conduct with a man and was sentenced to 8 months jail. There is a movement now to expunge the records of the men who were charged with being homosexual. Please allow this to happen, no one should have a criminal record for being themselves.
Back to the wonderful couple I mentioned at the beginning of this post. May they have many more years of love between them and I take my hat off to them for being what I would consider pioneers in the LGBTI world in Australia. Happy Anniversary guys. xx
Copyright Adele Fisher 2015