Title

Regulating homosexuality: Australia’s early gay press and the censorship struggle

Date of this Version

10-2-2008

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Robinson, S. (2008). Regulating homosexuality: Australia’s early gay press and the censorship struggle. Paper presented at the Let’s talk about sex: Histories of sexuality in Australia and New Zealand conference, Sydney, Australia.

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© Copyright Shirleene Robinson, 2008

Abstract

Australia’s gay and lesbian press developed in conjunction with the movement for gay and lesbian rights and provided a unique forum for the promotion of legal and social reform. The press was staunchly political, when it first emerged, challenging the invisibility of the gay and lesbian community within the larger social order and broader entrenched societal homophobia. The visibility of these periodicals though, meant that they were frequently challenged by conservative governments and individuals. This paper explores efforts and approaches used to monitor, restrict and curtail gay and lesbian newspapers and magazines in 1970s and 1980s Australia. Many of the conservative politicians attempting to regulate the gay press argued that there was a relationship between paedophilia and homosexuality. This view did not represent mainstream medical or legal views at the time and instead should be viewed as a homophobic attempt to control and repress homosexuality in society. Ultimately though, the gay liberation movement used a number of strategies to successfully fight against efforts to censor and suppress it and provided a strong challenge to entrenched societal and political homophobia.

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