Australian Left Review


Craig Johnston


In 1969 a Homosexual Law Reform Group was set up in Canberra. In 1970 an Australian chapter of the US lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, was set up in Melbourne as the Australasian Lesbian Movement; later that year, two homosexuals in Sydney came out and publicly launched the Campaign Against Moral Persecution. Thus the homosexual rights movement was launched in Australia. These first steps were very tentative: the ACT law reform group was not specifically a homosexual group, the Australasian Lesbian Movement had a heterosexual spokesperson, CAMP admitted heterosexuals to membership. But they initiated the process of the development of a movement of homosexual for homosexuals, which exists in a stronger form today, in numbers and diversity. This movement has also had some sort of impact on Australian society generally — in terms of contributing to the mellowing of attitudes towards homosexuality in some circles and, at the formal level, of majority public support for equality before the law, and in terms of a new, more positive, self-identity among many homosexuals themselves.



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