Coming out in the 70s

Coming out in the 70s

Gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted.  This exhibition tells their story.

Exhibition
Saturday 28 November 2020 to Sunday 30 May 2021
  1. Today
    1. 10 am to 5 pm
  2. Tomorrow
    1. 9 am to 5 pm
  3. Tuesday
    1. 9 am to 5 pm
  4. Wednesday
    1. 9 am to 8 pm
  5. Thursday
    1. 9 am to 8 pm
  6. Friday
    1. 9 am to 5 pm
  7. Saturday
    1. 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: Free

Location

Coming out in the 70s

‘You have to imagine a time when there was nothing positive in the media, or anywhere, about homosexuality’  

— broadcaster and activist Julie McCrossin, 2019 
illustration of butterfly in purple and pink

Gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted.   

This exhibition tells their story. Drawing from the Library’s little-known collections of gay and lesbian posters, photographs, personal papers, oral history and ephemera, it pays tribute to the people and events that drove this profound social change, offering a rich and compelling context for continuing debates and issues around LGBTQI+ life today.  

 

Visit the online exhibition

 

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras program runs from 19 February until 7 March 2021.

Banner image:  Courtesy Gabrielle Antolovich and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Library Sales © 1972 ABC

 

ABC Radio Sydney LOGO red circleOn Focus - ABC Radio Sydney

Listen to presenter Cassie McCullagh's interview with activists Penn Short, Dennis Altman, Julie McCrossin and exhibition curator Margot Riley.

Meet the Curators

Margot Riley

Margot has curated numerous exhibitions and displays for the Library and contributes expertise across a variety of collection functions including research, acquisition and interpretation. She is a cultural historian with a special interest in popular culture, photography and dress and has written and lectured extensively about the Library's collections.
Photographic portrait of a bald, white bearded man, wearing clear framed glasses and smiling directly at the camea.

Bruce Carter

Bruce is a public and oral historian who has worked on projects with community groups in Sydney for 25 years. Now part of the Library’s Information and Access team, he is interested in uncovering lesser-known stories held in archival collections and their potential to challenge our understandings of the past.
A smiling man poses for the camera against a bright orange backdrop.

Ronald Briggs

Ronald Briggs (Gamilaroi) is originally from Moree in central north-western NSW. Trained as a schoolteacher before beginning work as Indigenous Services Librarian at the State Library of New South Wales since 1991, Ronald is a keen family historian. He has also worked with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Coming out in the 70s

Gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted.  

These chapters draw from stories and records in the Library’s collection to explore how the gay and lesbian rights movement emerged in NSW in the 1970s.  

'Demonstrations were our internet'

Fifty years after the first gay rights organisation was founded in NSW, the activism of the 1970s still resonates.

Saving all that glitters

While busily preparing for the Library’s new exhibition Coming Out in the 70s conservators were confronted with a rather unusual dilemma.

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