On this day: Gay Liberation Australia, angry and proud


Gay Lib lindy n
Tharunka, September 5, 1972

“Had I known at the age of 15 that my lesbianism could have been ‘cured’, I would have rushed to Dr McConaghy as my saviour,” wrote Lindy N. of Gay Lib in Tharunka on September 5, 1972.

Lindy N. wrote to the University of NSW (UNSW) student magazine to dispute a previous letter from A.B. Blaszczynski. The now Professor Emeritus Blaszczynski was then an assistant to aversion therapist Dr Neil McConaghy. The week before he wrote to defend McConaghy’s ‘treatments’.

On August 8, 1972, Gay Lib demonstrators incorporated street theatre into a protest against aversion therapy at UNSW. Alex Blaszczynski complained the protestors misrepresented aversion therapy.

The homosexuals’ ‘stage act’

“The actions presented in the homosexuals’ ‘stage-act’ were a gross exaggeration of what actually takes place.”

The professor obviously never majored in ‘Street Theatre as a Protest Form’. A scrupulous reenactment was never the aim.

Blaszczynski likened shock treatment to dental treatment.

“One could, in fact, analogize the situation to that of a person going to a dentist. The pain of the toothache far outweighs the pain of the treatment.”

Lindy N. wasn’t having any of it.

Self-acceptance

“The very fact that Aversion Therapy is referred to as a ‘cure’ in itself implies that homosexuality is a sickness, and therefore another coercive force is set in motion, edging the homosexual away from self-acceptance into despair…

“Mr Blaszczynski claims that our street theatre, or ‘stage act’ as he calls it, was exaggerated. Naturally, this is so, it was a symbolic rather than realistic representation; however, the treatment is rather more painful than Mr Blaszcznski would have us believe.”

QNews previously reported on what patients of Dr McConaghy, including Bob Brown, said about the treatment.

Lindy N. pointed out that Dr McConaghy offered inquiring patients no real alternative to aversion therapy. She suggested self-acceptance might prove superior considering the doctor’s questionable ‘success’ rate.

A one-year follow-up revealed that 18% of patients experienced a ‘diminishing of homosexual tendencies’.

Lindy N. finished her letter on an especially sad note.

“GAY IS ANGRY, GAY IS PROUD

“I cannot sign my name because I fear that my father could lose his job if I did so.”

The good old days, they say.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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