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lgbtiq history

From the dawn of time until modern days, history recorded instances of same sex love, diverse sexualities and genders. LGBTIQ history documents the people and culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people throughout time. Most ancient civilisations left stories of same-sex love and gender diversity. Many documented people often referred to as third gender, usually people we now describe as intersex or transgender. While the Middle Ages gifted us increasing documentation of LGBTIQ history, at that time, persecution of LGBTIQ people increased. During the Renaissance, the oppression of LGBTIQ people by the Catholic Church increased. Many European countries imposed the death penalty for homosexual acts. Lighter punishments often included some form of mutilation, for both men and women. The serious study of homosexuality began in Europe in the 1700s. The German novelist Karl-Maria Kertbeny first used the word homosexual in print in 1869. It derives from the Greek homos meaning same, not the Latin homo, meaning man.  Thus the word describes both male and female same-sex attracted people. After the Stonewall Riots in New York, considered the beginning of the modern LGBTIQ Rights movement, LGBTIQ communities began to combine in more formal organisations than previously. From the 1980s on, many countries of the western world decriminalised homosexuality. Reforms also took place regarding same-sex marriage, and other LGBTIQ rights. The increased visibility of LGBTIQ people obviously led to greater documentation of them and their culture. LGBTIQ historians also made increasing efforts to reclaim their own history. As a result of censorship and oppression much LGBTIQ history is lost. In addition to the accidental loss of history common to all communities, LGBTIQ history was subject to deliberate destruction in a process known as gay erasure.  

The history of monarchs often reveals stark evidence of gay erasure. In Part One of this series we looked at earlier English kings. In this instalment of Gayme of Thrones we hark back to the Greek poet Sappho and then examine Edward II of England. Despite the earnest propaganda of monarchists, divine right has SFA …

Gayme of Thrones William II Richard I

Despite the earnest propaganda of monarchists, divine right has SFA to do with who gets to plonk their entitled arse on a throne. The ascension of a British monarch usually results from one of the three Fs. Some get there by virtue of a F***, many have to Fight for it and others are mere …

lgbtiq history brisbane toye de wilde

A number of extraordinary people blessed Queensland’s rainbow communities with their presence and efforts over the years. They worked to build a sense of community, to combat unjust laws and to protect us from a plague of biblical proportion. Over the coming months, Bill Rutkin OAM will profile the remarkable individuals whose efforts benefitted us …

polish general count casimir pulaski

By Olivia Murphy, University of Sydney A documentary from the Smithsonian Institute, examining new DNA and physical anthropology evidence, suggests the famous cavalry officer Casimir Pulaski (1745-1779) might have been a woman, or intersex. Casimir Pulaski is a hero of the struggles for Polish and American independence. He is credited with saving George Washington’s life …

dr james mayne

Born into a wealthy Brisbane family, Dr. James Mayne worked at the Brisbane Hospital from 1891 until 1904, first as Resident Medical Officer and then as Medical Superintendent. He donated his salary straight back to the hospital. Dr. Mayne also made further generous donations to both it and other local hospitals. He and his sister …

rona joyner joh bjelke-petersen campaign against regressive education society to outlaw pornography

Friend to Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen and founder of the Society To Outlaw Pornography (STOP) and the Campaign Against Regressive Education (CARE), Rona Joyner was a force to be reckoned with in the Joh era. Although Mrs Rona Joyner held no elected office or government appointment, in a situation  peculiar to Queensland, she wielded more power …

Lilian Cooper and Josephine Bedford australian lgbtiq history timeline

Phyllis Cilento has, in recent years, been lauded as Queensland’s great female medical pioneer, a title that rightfully belongs to another woman. However, the true story of Queensland’s ground-breaking female medical pioneer is a tale of not one, but two magnificent women, Lilian Cooper and Josephine Bedford.  “This is the story of Lilian Violet Cooper, …

prime minister billy mcmahon sir william mcmahon

In 1970s Australia, it seemed inconceivable that a gay person could hold the office of Prime Minister. But was Australia’s 20th Prime Minister Sir William McMahon gay despite that? Few in Canberra doubted that of Billy McMahon at the time. Sir William McMahon had a long climb up the ladder of success. Once at the …

Kamp Kult secret history same-sex marriage 1930s

Long before civil unions or legalised same-sex marriage became a reality in Queensland, a newspaper reported on Brisbane’s secret history of gay weddings.  The Arrow newspaper claimed in 1932 that Brisbane was a magnet for effeminate gays. “The growth of the pervert population of Brisbane, beautiful capital of Queensland, is astounding, and in the last …

Freda Mae Terry Lewis drag queen

In 2017, Queensland passed laws to enable gay men to apply for expungement of historic gay convictions from the years before the state decriminalised homosexuality. However, eligibility requirements mean the convictions of men such as Alf Stanton, aka Brisbane drag queen Freda Mae West, will stand. Arrested in 1954 for buggery by the infamously corrupt …

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