Although Australia’s legal system might not reflect this, the majority of Australians supported same-sex marriage gay in 2014. This support was unimaginable 20 years ago for anyone but the most optimistic gay or lesbian. It was only 1997 that Tasmania legalized male-to-male intercourse.
Homophobia is still a problem today, but it’s not as institutionalized or deeply rooted as it was in the past. It is amazing to see how fast attitudes towards lesbians and gay Australians have changed over the past 20 years. This is the fastest change in social attitudes to occur in Australian history.
Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories is a national oral history project that aims to further explore this transformation. This project is a collaboration of the National Library of Australia, Macquarie University, and two other Australian universities. It was fund by the Australian Research Council.
The lives of different generations of lesbian and gay Australians will give insight into how it was to be gay or lesbian in Australia between the 1940s and the present. At a time when attitudes have changed so dramatically,
Stories Of Ordinary Australians Gay
Five generations of ordinary gay men, and five generations of lesbians will be interview. This project will provide deep insight into the lives of individuals as they navigate social change. This is Australia’s first nationwide oral history project that includes a wide range of lesbian and gay people.
Interviewers travel across Australia to conduct interviews. They visit locations from inner-city apartments to cattle stations. The National Library of Australia will deposit the results, which is Australia’s largest collection of oral history.
The National Library pioneered the use of oral history to engage with the public in this country. It also took advantage of significant technological and participatory online media advantages. Interviewees have control over access conditions, but some interviewees have agreed to make their interviews public through the National Library’s site.
These Are The Two Central Goals Of This Project Gay
It will first increase the digital library of the National Library of Australia by providing 300 hours of oral histories from lesbians and gays. It will also obtain primary information from an already marginalised community to allow for its incorporation into the national narrative.
The project will also examine how lesbians and gays have negotiated extraordinary social change and its impact on their lives and cultural narratives https://qqonline.bet/.
This project recognizes the importance of oral histories from gay and lesbian people that have been collect by other researchers, such as the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives. There are limitations to existing interviews, which point to the need of a project like this. Some interviews are not widely accessible and remain in the possession only of local researchers.
Community repositories don’t usually have the resources to support large-scale preservation projects. Many oral history interviews are tape. Many of these tapes have poor sound quality and have been damage over time. They also don’t meet international or national technological standards for oral histories. Additionally, most oral histories focus on gay and lesbian activists, not ordinary Australians.
Whose Stories Will You Tell?
Interviews are being conducted with people born between 1930 and 1994, who identify as gay attracted. The participants are divided into five generations, which has been proven successful in the Australian Generations: Live Histories, Generational Change, and Australian Memory collaboration led by Professor Alistair Thomson of Monash University.
- The Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories Project has several cohorts.
- Respondents born before 1940 who reached sexual maturity during a period when homosexuality between males and females was legal and aggressively policed
- Born between 1941-1956, and who were born during the 1960s or during the rapid social changes of the 1970s.
- Respondents born between 1957-1966, who were still young at the time of Australia’s gay liberation movement.
- Respondents who were born between 1967-1984 and who were alive during the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its aftermath
- Many people born after 1985 feel that they are living in a “post-gay” era, where the meanings of lesbian and gay identity are changing.
Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories, a first for Australia, will be an important addition to National Library’s collection. It will be a resource similar to the Before Stonewall: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Oral History collection held by the British Library Sound Archive Collection. Much of the Australian resource, unlike Before Stonewall will be accessible online. This will increase accessibility and transcend national borders. It will raise awareness about lesbians and gays in Australia and how they have contributed to a fundamental change in social attitudes.