LGBTIQ+ History Month in Victoria

I returned from my holiday in the UK and Ireland very excited and inspired after meeting one of the co-founders of LGBT history month in the UK, Sue Sanders, and armed with a few tips, I was keen to get something happening again in Australia this year… Upon my return, my October calendar coincidentally started filling up very quickly with LGBTIQ+ history related events, so it seems LGBTIQ+ history month has returned to Australia. One of the big takeaways I got from the UK was the importance of creating a central website/calendar that people and organisations could add their events to, and I am very keen to do that in future…. perhaps we’ll see even more GLAMorous events next year! I’ve always though GLAM organisations, particularly public libraries as they work a lot with children, young people, and older people, would be the perfect places to host events to bring people together for storytelling and history making across generations… perhaps you could host zine making and/or digital storytelling workshops. In the meantime, check out these events:

Queerying the GLAM sector: from library liaison to the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and back again

I will be talking at the Australian Society of Archivists Victorian branch seminar about my journey from library liaison to the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) and back again. Mostly focussing on ALGA and the importance of community archives, but I thought I’d tell the story of how I got involved (my gaytway to ALGA) and share some lessons I have learned for queerying the GLAM sector since then. In 2018 ALGA is celebrating 40 years of collecting our Australian LGBTIQ histories. It’s a fabulous achievement for a small, predominantly volunteer run, community archives who continue to animate our shared histories through exhibitions, publications, history walks, conferences, collaborations and, of course, research access.


Wednesday 3 October 2018, 5:00 PM -7:00 PM at Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

Register and find out more.

Untold histories: LGBTI Seniors – Bendigo

Monday 8 October 2018, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at Bendigo Library

This short documentary explores the lived experiences of senior members of the LGBTI community living in central Victoria. Personal stories detail the struggle for LGBTI rights and acceptance over the last five decades.

Accompanied by a display from ALGA.

Find out more. 

Putting it out there: Melbourne in the 1970s

At the Royal Historical Society of Victoria- Curated by Zoe Henderson

Exhibition dates: 14 September 2018 – January 2019
Time: 9AM – 5PM, Monday to Friday

Curators talk:

Date: Tuesday 9 October 2018
Time: 12 Noon

Curator, Zoe Henderson, has grounded this exhibition in the domestic arena of 1970s Melbourne. We reflect on and explore the ways in which the life of the city and society were shaped by the hanging ideas and actions of its citizens. The 70s were a turbulent decade driven by increasing social awareness and cultural diversity. Nothing reflects this better than the slide from the confronting political slogan in the early years of the decade – It’s Time – to the slightly defeated plea, Get Australia Working, by 1977.

Whilst some of the concerns which led Melburnians to demonstrate were global – remember Portuguese East Timor? – some were distinctly Melbourne – hello F-19 and the freeways! In between there was a tsunami of old and newly defined political and social causes which reached and touched all Melburnians. This played out against a backdrop of political and social division brought about by the Vietnam War moratoriums, the Dismissal, the economic instability of the Oil Crisis and escalating local unemployment. Ordinary Melburnians took part in community groups, activist associations, consciousness raising, political parties. The young might identify themselves as Sharpie or Surfie, take courage to redefine their sexual identity, or simply enjoy being young and cool, growing their hair, wearing flares, beads and platform shoes. Whatever your take on Melbourne in the 70s, come and re-live the energy of the decade.

Although not exclusively a queer history exhibition ot event, Zoe worked closely with ALGA to showcase queer life in the 70s.

Find out more. 

Past, Present and Future Queer Australia

Tuesday 9 October 2018, 6.15pm-7.15pm at The Wheeler Centre

Presented in partnership with Deakin Gender and Sexuality Studies Research Network.

Does Australia need its own Queer History Month? What is Queer History Month for?

In other parts of the world, including the US and the UK, people celebrate LGBTI+ or Queer History Months to raise the profile of LGBTI+ history and celebrate the people – both ordinary and famous – who forged the futures we are now living.

Australia’s own LGBTI+ History Month launched in Australia in October 2016. Two years later – and a year after the same-sex marriage survey campaign – the importance of remembering the past seems more urgent than ever. How does teaching queer history enhance our understanding of Australian history more broadly? And who, or what, is often missing or marginalised in histories of Australian LGBTI+ people?

In this panel discussion, we’ll discuss some ideas for marking LGBTI+ History Month in Australia. We’ll also discuss the work of Australians – including activists, archivists and academics – who have shaped our queer past and present.

Featuring ALGA committee member Daniel Marshall and ALGA patron Dennis Altman along with Laniyuk Garcon and

Find out more and get tickets.

Serving in Silence? Melbourne book launch

The Melbourne launch of the book ‘Serving in Silence? Australian LGBT Servicemen and Women’, co-authored by Noah Riseman, Shirleene Robinson and Graham Willett.

To be launched by Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality
Friday 12/10, 6:30pm for 7:00pm start

This book reveals the integral role played by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women in Australia’s military after the Second World War. Their powerful personal stories, recounted with searing honesty, illustrate the changing face of the Australian Defence Force, the pivotal role of military service in the lives of many LGBT Australians, and how they have served their country with distinction.

History Slam at History Week hosted by Mama Alto

Presented in collaboration between Museums Victoria, Professional Historians Association (Victoria and Tasmania) and History Council of Victoria.

Sunday 14 October 2018, 3pm–4.30pm at Melbourne Museum

Mama Alto is a gender transcendent diva, cabaret artiste, jazz singer and community activist. She is a non-binary trans femme person of colour who works with the radical potential of storytelling, strength in softness and power in vulnerability. And she’s bringing all this to our History Slam.

Slammers will present provocations that are complex, uncomfortable and exhilarating, on topics including the queerness of being an unexpected outsider, the earth as an archive, the absence of women in museum collections, plagiarism in the Pacific, and resistance.

Featuring ALGA committee member, Sarah Rood.

Find out more and get tickets.

Sara Ahmed on Queer Use

Tuesday October 23, 6.30-8pm, Public Lecture Theatre Old Arts Building at The University Of Melbourne (sold out but there is a waiting list)

This lecture explores the queerness of use as well as uses of queer. It begins with a reflection on the gap between the intended function of an object and how an object is used as a gap with a queer potential. The lecture does not simply affirm that potential, but offers an account of how institutional worlds are built to enable some uses (and users) more than others. To bring out the queerness of use thus requires a world-dismantling effort. The lecture reflects on how dismantling is framed as damage and considers the relationship between the creativity of queer use, violence and survival.

The Coming Back Out Ball

Thursday 25 October.

Hosted by Tristan Meecham, the event will be presented at the Melbourne Town Hall as a premiere event of the Victorian Seniors Festival in association with the Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care.

The Coming Back Out Ball was inspired 
by research revealing that some LGBTI elders conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access aged care services – because they believe they are not safe. With so much change over the course
 of their lifetime, some LGBTI elders have lived through a period when being LGBTI could result in imprisonment, enforced medical ‘cures’, loss of employment and rejection by family and friends. For this generation, the first to fight for equality, impending old age may mean going back into the closet, or the risk of being deprived companionship or quality care when they need it most.

But there is hope for the older LGTBI community – the Victorian Government has expunged gay convictions and apologised to older gay men for the treatment they received; aged care service providers are embracing strategies to become more LGBTI inclusive; and Victoria will soon create Australia’s first LGBTI Pride Centre. The Coming Back Out Ball augments research and social services – it’s a public celebration and declaration to LGBTI elders of their worth and value, acknowledging their rich lived experiences….

Funded by the City of Melbourne, Margaret Lawrence Bequest and Victorian State Government. Supported by Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives, Showtech Australia, Sofitel Hotels and Resorts, Victoria Whitelaw Beautiful Flowers. Auspiced by Auspicious Arts Projects.

Find out more and get tickets.


Save the date: Wednesday October 31st, 6pm, at Hares & Hyenas bookstore

More details coming soon. It’s going to be more fun than your average AGM!

Queerstories is also on October 31st but a bit later in the evening and would be perfect way to celebrate the end of LGBTIQ+ history month! if you are feeling super keen, please drop into our AGM first. It’s not great that it is the same night but as you can see it’s going to be a busy month and was hard to find a free night!

Further reading and resources

I should note that Nick Henderson from ALGA worked with Loop Project Space and Bar to put on a fabulous series of weekly panel discussions in October last year which were a welcome and timely retreat during a certain postal survey that must not be named, so LGBTIQ+ history month never really left us!




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