Aboriginal street kid Noel Tovey became one of Australia’s most accomplished dancers.
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Born into poverty, Noel Tovey suffered sexual abuse and neglect throughout his childhood.
After working as a rentboy, he served a term of imprisonment in Pentridge Gaol for the ‘abominable crime of buggery’.
Noel took dancing lessons and moved to London in 1960. He became an internationally renowned dancer and and acclaimed choreographer.
He returned to Australia in 1991 where his accomplishments include serving as artistic director for the indigenous welcoming ceremony at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
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In addition to his trailblazing work in dance and theatre, Noel Tovey was a pioneering activist. He protested against Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ injustice but also against the Vietnam War and South African apartheid.
One of the first marchers at London Pride, he was also present at New York’s Stonewall Riot.
Noel says that he grew to understand and accept his sexuality despite the repeated sexual abuse he endured as a child.
“People used to say to me, ‘When did you come out of the closet?’ and I’d say, “I didn’t – we were too poor to have a closet!”
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