An era of change

Key inquiry question #1: 
Which global civil rights movements influenced the emergence of the gay rights movement in the 1970s?
Key inquiry question #2: 
What was different about the campaigns from the 70s and more recent campaigns for marriage equality?

Student tasks

Task no. 1

An era of change

‘The 1960s ushered in an era of change. Civil rights movements around the world created opportunities to reform society.’

View the introduction to the online exhibition Coming Out in the 1970s followed by the Interview with Gary Wotherspoon speaking about the 1970s as a time of change.

Complete a think, pair, share activity in which you list the preconditions that led to the beginnings of gay rights activism in the 1970s. Use evidence from the online exhibition to support your responses.

Discuss the use of oral histories as a class. Consider the benefits of oral histories and consider any problems that may arise from using this type of source.

Task no. 2

Campaigning for equality

View ‘Demos’ in Chapter 3 of Coming Out in the 70s, read the information given about demonstrations and marches and view each photograph. 

Imagine you are a photojournalist covering one of the demonstrations or marches included in Chapter 3 of Coming Out in the 70s.  

Choose one photograph to be used as the main image for an article to be published in a major newspaper, such as The Australian. In Chapter 1 of Coming Out in the 70s, there are several examples of headlines and photographs covering gay rights activism (take a look at the Terrence Bell scrapbook) to use as inspiration before completing the following tasks.

  • Select a photograph that you believe best represents the movement or the specific event.
  • Write a persuasive paragraph for the editor, to convince them to use your chosen image for the story, explaining how it represents the struggle of the Gay rights activists.
  • Create some dialogue between the people pictured in the photograph.  What would they be saying in this moment?
  • Compose a headline to accompany the photograph.

Task no. 3

From then to now

Complete a ‘Here now, there then’ visible thinking routine (explanation of teaching strategy available from Harvard Graduate School of Education) considering the differences in societal beliefs about LGBTIQ+ groups in Australia.

In 2017, almost 50 years after the movement began, a marriage equality plebiscite was held in Australia and the majority of people voted ‘yes’ which led to a change in law allowing people of same-sex orientation to marry. 

View the Campaign Wrap Video at   

Compare the campaigns that kicked off the gay rights movements in the 1970s with the marriage equality campaign of 2017. Use a Venn diagram to show the similarities and differences between the campaign methods. Find at least one equivalent source from the 2017 campaign, such as a newspaper article, a photograph, a poster or a social media post to guide your comparison.

Discuss whether the second campaign would have been successful without the development of CAMP and the subsequent campaigns in the 1970s.