The activist cinema-goer: Gay liberation at the movies



Publication Details

McKinnon, S. (2013). The activist cinema-goer: Gay liberation at the movies. History Australia, 10 (1), 125-143.


This article examines the role of cinema in the emergence of gay and lesbian activism in 1970s Sydney. In that decade, a newly politicised homosexual identity was developed and encouraged by gay rights and liberation activists. At the same time, changes to censorship laws radically altered the kinds of films Australians were allowed to watch. Activists put these films to use in the development of new forms of identity. It was not just the films that were important, however, but also the spaces in which they were screened. The article examines the history of two particular cinemas to argue that it was through such spaces that gay and lesbian people began to see themselves as a community, a public and an audience.

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