Sun Sep 12, 2010
o) Articles by other people
The Sydney City Council unanimously endorsed the following statement and recommendations on 12.09.10To Council: 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEGINNINGS OF GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISM IN AUSTRALIA MINUTE BY THE LORD MAYOR
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Australian gay and lesbian movement.
Its beginnings were modest. In July, 1970 John Ware, a psychology student, and Christabell Poll, a public servant, neighbours in a North Sydney apartment block, discussed forming a small society to publicly counter the negative stereotyping of homosexuals in society at large. They were partly encouraged by media reports about the world‚s first gay pride march in New York, which had attracted thousands of participants. That march marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, now regarded as the symbolic beginning of the gay liberation movement.
On 10 September 1970, The Australian newspaper published a small article announcing the formation of the new group, Campaign Against Moral Persecution, or CAMP. Nine days later, the same newspaper published a much larger feature, "Couples" by Janet Hawley, about John, Christabel, their partners and their reasons for forming CAMP, complete with photographs.
This was the first time homosexuals had voluntarily and publicly identified themselves in Australia. It was a brave act, at a time when attitudes to homosexuality were extremely hostile and discrimination, harassment and violence against people suspected of being homosexual was common. Consensual adult homosexual activity was illegal, attracting long gaol sentences. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness, with some medical practitioners offering electric shock therapy and lobotomies as "cures".
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