Photo from Liz Ross - photographer PC - Anti-War Rally, 18 March 2005
protesting outside Catholic Theological College in Melbourne on visit of "Courage" founder Father John Harvey and psychologist Dr Peter Rudegeair, who claim to be able to 'cure' homosexual Catholics, Feb 2003
(Photo by Barry McKay)
LESBIAN AND GAY SOLIDARITY Formerly Gay Solidarity Group (Established in 1978)
PO Box 1675 Preston South Vic 3072 Australia e-mail: josken_at_josken_net
GAY SOLIDARITY GROUP (SYDNEY), LATER LESBIAN AND GAY SOLIDARITY GROUP (SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE):
Davis receives ACON honour
Posted on 01 September 2009 in Sydney Star Observer
Community members will get together on September 24 to recognise the achievements of Ken Davis, who took up the fight for gay liberation at the age of 15 and remains passionate about seeing those debates extend worldwide.
“It all goes back to Harvey Milk,” Davis reflected in the lead-up to receiving his award.
“Harvey Milk was fighting the Briggs initiative in 1978 and his committee was emphasising visibility and mass mobilisation. They wrote to activists in Australia saying they wanted a solidarity action on June 24 [gay freedom day in San Francisco]. We got together a coalition of the left groups and the student groups and the religious gay groups to run a march and a forum.”
Gay Solidarity was born — a new consolidated force to be reckoned with. The group quickly set about planning a street demonstration-come-celebration — Mardi Gras.
“The Mardi Gras itself had around 1500 people and was planned as a celebration, not a riot. That was what was really surprising,” Davis said.
“I remember people didn’t turn up on time, so I thought it was a flop,” he recalled with a slight laugh. “Not many people came in costume although I was wearing a country and western outfit — a polka dot dress.
“The excitement of being in the street and being free at night — there was something quite exhilarating about being publicly gay, which was not that common in the ’70s.
“Social life was very much behind closed doors and the venues that we had were beholden to the police. Women were arrested for kissing in Hyde Park and men were arrested for dancing together and were entrapped in toilets all over the place.
“It was a time of great contestation and our way of life as a whole was being rejected in terms of consumerism and capitalism. There was a politics of daily life and the alternative for gay people was to accept we were sick or criminal or inferior and to internalise that. The only way not to internalise that sort of pathology was to become visible and come out and take action.”
While working for the Council of People with Disability in the 1980s, Davis established networks to provide financial and emotional support to people struck down by — the as yet unnamed disease — HIV. He became involved with the newly-established ACON and then worked with AFAO.
Davis, who now works for the development agency Union Aid Abroad, remains committed to social justice.
“I think I’ve always fought for gay freedom but in the context of a broader struggle for international social justice. I think you can only make gains in terms of our freedom or HIV as part of a much bigger set of questions around international social justice. I think the basic agenda for gay rights is achieved and the areas we want to make progress in, in terms of some sort of emancipatory social project, are about bigger questions.”
info: Ken Davis will receive his Honour award alongside Graeme Browning (Mitzi Macintosh) on September 24.
This post was written by: Ani Lamont
BANNERS, POSTERS, SIGNS, FLYERS AND OTHER ACTIVIST PUBLICITY ITEMS INCLUDING SOME FROM OTHER ORGANISATIONS
1998 was 20 years since the first Mardi Gras, and featured in the parade were what were called the "78ers".
The group formed in late May/early June 1978 as the Gay Solidarity Group (GSG) Sydney. We changed our name to Lesbian and Gay Solidarity (LGS) at a meeting on 12 September 1991.
As GSG we were the organisers of the first Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras which was preceded by a gay rights street march through Sydney on the morning of Saturday, 24 June 1978, followed by an open lesbian and gay Forum in the afternoon and that night at 10pm the mardi gras parade.
These Sydney events were to serve a double purpose - to highlight the Stonewall gay rights events in the United States and to draw attention to our own discriminatory laws, violence against us and demands for equality and an end to police harassment. What happened at the night parade - the brutal arrests of 53 lesbians and gays - shocked not only Sydney but the world via television and newspaper pictures of the police violence. It proved to be the catalyst for change.
That change has been slow and hard fought and still has a long way to go despite the appearance the present Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras gives which incidentally was originally a mid-winter parade and only later changed to mid-summer.
Ken Lovett holding banners made for Stonewall 25 in 1994
These days, we continue to provide lesbian and gay visibility on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne. Our banners are to be seen prominently at anti-violence demonstrations, such as this one on 3 March 1990, after a spate of horrific murders and bashings in Sydney and elsewhere,
(Photo from "John Fairfax Group")
anti-racism marches, anti-nuclear and anti-war protests, Aboriginal people's actions, May Day rallies, women's right-to-choose parades, our own communities' equality demonstrations as well as specific international pickets outside various embassies or commercial companies.
We have representatives of LGS attend the Anti-Discrimination Board's lesbian and gay consultations which date back to 1982 (for the latest ADB newsletter see: Equal Time Autumn 2008 edition). While it was still active in Sydney we were at the bi-monthly meetings of Inter~Section - a coalition endeavouring to improve local government agency services for sexual minorities (lesbian, gay and transgender people). Since 2001 we have endeavoured to do the same in Melbourne, more specifically the Council area of Darebin in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
We produce a newsletter(previously quarterly, but now down to twice a year) which has a mailout of just over 120, small but important we feel.
Our members have been involved in groups such as Community Support Network (CSN/ACON), Gay Waves (a weekly gay and lesbian radio program on 2SER-FM)(closed down abruptly by management of 2SER-FM in early 2005 after more than 25 years of serving the gay, lesbian and transgender communities) and the Order of Perpetual Indulgence (Gay Male Nuns and Lesbian Monks - a very political action group and open to lesbians, gays and others). Our members also organise, publicise and work with the South Sydney City Council (now Sydney City Council since council amalgamations in 2003/2004) in a tree planting project called SPAIDS - the Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves - where friends, lovers and their families are invited to plant trees, supplied by Council, to commemorate the life of someone who has died from HIV/AIDS. There were three plantings each year until 2004 when it was decided that, because the Groves were reaching their space limit, there would be one planting a year backfilling trees that have died and need replacing. The project commenced in 1994 and the Groves are now well advanced.
Members of LGS have, since its inception, been involved with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, (ALGA) based in Melbourne. ALGA is now 28 years old, and at its second history conference, held at Melbourne University on 19 and 20 November 1999, they announced the introduction of their web site : Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives We urge you to use the ALGA website and also to become members of the Archives, as they depend very much on membership fees for their continued operation. LGS members have, over the years, provided many pieces of archival material pertaining to lesbian and gay issues to the Archives, and, although they have restricted premises for public use at this stage, they are always pleased to assist researchers with their enquiries at any time.
Members of LGS were involved with the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial Project from its inception. Despite many setbacks in the early days relating to fundraising, and committee differences about retaining the word "Holocaust" in the name of the project, the Memorial was finally completed after years of inaction, and dedicated on 27 February 2001. The web pages are:
IGLHRC has proposed a central networking pagRC's mission is to protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.''
IGLHRC has proposed a central networking page, on which links to groups such as ours will be listed. Each of these groups will, in turn link to the IGLHRC page - ''With our alliance, searching the web for information about honest gay and lesbian organizations will be as easy as a point and a click. Essentially, when one of us is found, we will all be found.'' This link will be updated to that page when available, but for now go to the OUTRGHTINTERNATIONAL.ORG formerly IGLHRC page.
GAY LIBERATION QUIRE
In 1983 Sydney's Gay Liberation Quire went down on vinyl - quite literally - and made gay liberation history with some songs which resonate some quarter of a century later!!
As they made history on 1983, so we make history in 2009 by transferring the vinyl onto an MP3 computer programme so that everybody will be able to enjoy these wonderful songs!
We have scanned the 45rpm single record sleeve front and back and dne the same with the record itself. The sleeves are above the recorded songs and the record's front and back are below.
There is a slight pause between the first two songs and the second two songs because that is how they were transferred from the record to a tape to the computer, so don't give up after two songs - there are two more to follow!!
Gay Liberation Quire Goes Down on Vinyl - recorded in Sydney in 1983
There is a pause between the first two songs and the second two songs, so you will need to be patient for about a minute! - but your patience will be well rewarded!