Gay Liberation Demonstrations
Billed as a ‘unique treat for Melbourne’s busy shoppers’, these photographs document one of the earliest of Melbourne Gay Liberation Front’s public demonstrations held at City Square on Friday 1 December 1972, at 7:30pm.
The demonstration was an assertion of the place of homosexuals in public space.
The flyer promoting the event included the following information:
“Gay Lib is a group of homosexuals who are open about their homosexuality, under the belief that it is better for our own wellbeing, and ultimately points out the way in which we carry a heavy load in society, and means with which to overcome this.
Showing ourselves in public is a step in creating confidence from our homosexuality.
If you are camp, your presence as a participant will give us added support; your presence as an onlooker will give you a spectacle that is guaranteed to relieve the dreariness of Friday night shopping.”
The excitement of the demonstration was recalled in the subsequent Gay Liberation newsletter:
A crowd had gathered, half a dozen cops with them. The demonstrators looked rather nervous and talked and giggled behind their banners, until they were told to stop hiding and come out. A young blond guy with a loud hailer began hailing… running out of words… going on … the crowd thickened; the gay numbers doubled and tripled. Nerves exploded into what the dailies would call “high spirits”, and the poofs, dykes and queens held up their letters, spelling out and yelling H-O-M-O-S-E-X-U-A-L and
Later the group proceeded along Collins St and Elizabeth St towards the GPO, chanting and singing, then continued their stirring in Myers.