The History of the GSG Newsletter
A lunchtime presentation by Mannie and Ken at the
Queen’s Birthday Weekend in
GSG –the Gay
Solidarity Group was loosely formed in
Everyone knows that the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras ended in a brutal NSW Police attack on lesbian and gay mardi gras revellers in the heart of Kings Cross. 53 of them were arrested and dragged into paddywagons and then were taken to several police lock-ups in the the city. Joseph is planning in Monday’s lunchtime storytime to tell you about his memory of the first Gay Mardi Gras in which he was a reveller.
more arrests two days later outside the
There’s a small file of papers here that provides those interested with some of the actions to do with these arrests.
As you can well imagine, the Gay Solidarity Group (GSG), its legal support and supportive civil liberties organisations were kept extremely busy over the following months finding ways to draw attention to the injustice of a system that denied its citizens their right to protest or celebrate on the street. It was during this period that GSG members decided it needed a newsletter to spread its aims and tell of its successes, its disappointments and what was happening elsewhere. The first Gay Solidarity Newsletter was produced in April 1979.
In the end, most of the police charges against us were withdrawn and laws were changed but over a long period of time.
Of interest to some of you are some miniature copies of the first issue of the Gay Solidarity Newsletter, Vol.1, No.1. Also some actual copies of issue No.2. Please take one of either if you wish or both.
There were lots of
GSG actions and events in the calendar for the months ahead. The first
anniversary of the 1978 Mardi Gras was heralded as Gay
Solidarity Week from June 23 to
After that we went
After the 1980
conference, Gay Left was formed in
newsletter was produced in 1981and that was in November/December but during the
year there had been numerous actions against police harassment and support for
attempts by George Petersen, a NSW parliamentarian, to introduce amendments to
the Crimes Act that would repeal those sections which dealt with male
homosexuality. There were protests in front of parliament calling for
homosexuality to be included in the Anti-Discrimination Laws. Originally in
1977 the bill had included that it was unlawful to discriminate on the ground of
homosexuality but had been withdrawn from the bill before it was debated. The 7th
National Conference for Lesbians and Gay Men was held in
There was also
only one Newsletter produced in 1982 and that was an Autumn issue. It was the
last issue until 1988. But the actions came big and fast during the year as
well as in the following years. Jerry Falwell, the leader of the religious
“Moral Majority arrived in Sydney in May from the U.S. Earlier in the year
Debra from “Girls Own” Magazine, Gavin from the “Gay Information” journal and
Leigh and Ken from GSG decided to register “Moral Majority” as a business name
in NSW and wrote to groups in all the states Falwell
may visit to do the same which they did. We wanted to use the name in everyway
we could to harass his meetings. So, we lettered hundreds of small stickers
which we stuck up in all kinds of very visible places. We made “demo pinnies”
to don over our street clothes when we picketed his meetings. They carried the
same sort of slogans that were on the stickers. The black on yellow stickers
had messages like “Moral Majority reg. says: keep Abortion safe and legal, says
gays should be blatant,
There are sheets of these stickers here so by all means take a sheet.
In July 1982 the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW released its 650page Report “Discrimination and Homosexuality.” The Board’s research uncovered numerous instances where rights and freedoms that people normally expect to enjoy in a democratic state were denied to lesbians or gay men. Arguments used by some to justify the curtailment of their civil liberties, such as that “homosexuals constitute a threat to society,” the Board found to be unjustifiable.
There’s a copy here of the recommendations of the ADB Report if you wish to look at it.
In September 1982,
GSG made a submission to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal against the
renewal of 2GB’s broadcasting licence citing its “Sunday Night Light Show”
featuring Rev. Fred Nile of the Festival of Light as contravening accepted
broadcasting standards because it insulted, maligned, and traumatised lesbians
and homosexual men and caused offence to a section of the public and he used
the programme as an election platform. The submission pointed out that the
programme began on
If you want to read the full submission in Newsletter No.7 or any of the Newsletters for that matter, they can be accessed on Mannie and Ken’s Website.
National Conference for Lesbians and Gay Men was held in
In 1983 the AIDS Action Committee was formed following a large meeting in the Heffron Hall in Darlinghurst of gay groups concerned about the health threat to gay men of this disease. The committee was a fore-runner to the government-sponsored AIDS COUNCIL of NSW (ACON).
1983 also saw the start of the Gay Radio Information News Service (GRINS) produced by and for lesbians and gay men and for ten years it provided local and global gay and lesbian news items on audio tape in weekly 7-minute bulletins to gay radio programmes around Australia and New Zealand. At peak there were 15 programmes receiving GRINS tapes.
The years when
there were no newsletters produced were busy ones for all the
1988 also saw
Margaret Thatcher visiting
In the 1990s GSG
had a name change. It was decided in an endeavour to attract more lesbians into
the group, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity (LGS) was the way to go. The newsletter
had been appearing much more regularly since 1988 but members were not and
rather sadly the name change did not either. However, some of our members had
become carers of those living with HIV/AIDS and one in particular learned that
a new enormous park was being prepared by the South Sydney Council. He hit on
the idea of reserving part of this new people’s park as an AIDS Memorial Grove
of trees planted by partners and supportive families of gay men and women who
had died from the effects of HIV/AIDS. It would be a living memorial. He
approached Council and finally after 12 months or so the Council agreed because
they had already begun scheduling community group plants. So, in May 1994 the
first plantings for the Grove began. It was called the SPAIDS project standing
for Sydney Park AIDS tree planting project. More than a decade on we are still
planting trees but now only once a year. Earlier plantings were held three
times each year. The Sisters of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence bless the
trees at each planting and the Council have built a circular SPAIDS Reflection
Area overlooking the
In 1996 Lesbian and Gay Solidarity ceased holding meetings but because we did not want the name to die, we decided to continue to produce the newsletter, retain the name and use it when support is required in political actions where and whenever. We aren’t dead and nor is LGS.
LESBIAN & GAY SOLIDARITY PAGE
CURRENT NEWSLETTER AND ARCHIVE OF PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS
Mannie has a personal web site: RED JOS: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM
Mannie's blogs may be accessed by clicking on to the following links:
MannieBlog (from 1 August 2003 to 31 December 2005)
Activist Kicks Backs - Blognow archive re-housed - 2005-2009
RED JOS BLOGSPOT (from January 2009 onwards)
This page last updated 26 AUGUST 2013