Homophobia: Towards an Australian history

Date of this Version


Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Robinson, S. (2008). Homophobia: Towards an Australian history. In S. Robinson (Ed.), Homophobia: An Australian history (pp. 1-15). New South Wales, Australia: The Federation Press. ISBN: 9781862877030

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2008 HERDC submission. FoR code: 2103

© Copyright The Federation Press, 2008


Over the past 20 years, gay culture has become very much part of the mainstream. One of the easiest, and certainly most visible, ways to gauge this is to use examples from popular culture. In Australia, it seems that actors, musicians and entertainers are increasingly prepared to live openly as gay, lesbian or bisexual, with some recent high profile examples including Missy Higgins, Anthony Callea and his partner Tim Campbell, and Darren Hayes. The pop culture phenomenon of reality television has increased mainstream gay visibility, with a number of shows including queer contestants. Possibly the best known example of these is the popular 2006 Big Brother contestant David Graham. The immense popularity of the Mardi Gras itself is a testament to the mainstreaming of gay and lesbian culture since the 1970s. This annual event has become a major tourist attraction for Sydney and now draws large crowds of queer and non-queer spectators from Australia and internationally. Given the visibility and apparent popularity of gay culture and gay public figures, it might be easy to feel that homophobia is no longer an issue for the majority of the queer population, and that the gay and lesbian liberation movement has successfully eradicated prejudices once so strongly held.

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