The Public Life of Us


Image by Graham Willett

Queer people making an exhibition of ourselves

There have always been queer people in Australia. At least as far back as the First Fleet, and perhaps beyond. But with the state, the church, professional and public opinion mobilised against us, it was always safer to keep out of sight. We certainly managed to meet each other, to hook up and even to gather and socialise but it was risky and relied on discretion and a bit of luck. All that started to change when lesbians and gay men started to come out – to create organisations and draw attention to ourselves and our demands.

Today, we are living through a queer moment when all kinds of institutions are busily promoting themselves to their staff and to the wider world as queer-friendly. All this is bringing us ever-closer to real equality.

This came about because between the late 1960s and today there has been a long history of pressuring society to change. By coming out to family and friends and workmates, by demonstrating and protesting, by producing newspapers and radio programs, with festivals and exhibitions and displays and commemorations we forced society to face up to the reality – queer people exist and we wanted recognition, reforms and respect. Those who early on complained that the activists were rocking the boat and putting us all at risk were proved wrong. Uncompromising visibility was a powerful weapon in the fight for change.

Image #1 by Graham Willett ~ Image #2 provided by National Gallery of Australia

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Event & ticketing details



Relaxed Performance
Wheelchair Access
Vision Rating less than 50%

Dates & Times

WHEN Tue 7 Feb 7pm
DURATION 1hr 30m


FREE Registration required


PMI Victorian History Library Inc.

39 St Edmonds Rd, Prahran

Get directions


Sandringham line to Prahran


6, 72 to stop 30

Event notes


Premiere, New Work, Melbourne Premiere, Australian Premiere

NOTE: PMI Victorian History Library Inc. was formerly known as
Prahran Mechanics' Institute Victorian History Library.

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