CAMP OUT QUEER HISTORY PROJECT 2015

Each year Camp Out runs an amazing race style activity that allows campers to learn about the history of LGBTIQA experience and resistance. In 2015 campers attempted to travel the queer utopian future, but, due to funding constraints and a slap-happy attitude, were thrust to different periods in queer history. The scattered remnants of the machine had to be collected before groups of campers could be united, and travel to the queer utopian future! Each of the following was an activity based around recovering the time machine components...

1970’s

It is the early 1970s! In this era homosexuality is illegal, Australia Post censors transvestite literature, being what they consider pornographic mail. It was unfortunately common for police to not respect the rights of trans people. Police would look at the underwear of people they identified as a crossdresser and if they were found wearing women’s underwear they would often be assaulted and arrested.

 

Of course amazing trans activists had lots of ways of fighting this oppression. In May 1971, the Seahorse Club, Australia’s first transvestite and cross-dressing society is meeting for the first time in a vacant flat in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The Seahorse club provides a safe place for transgender and transvestite people and their partners to be themselves. The Seahorse Club changes over the years but it still active in 2015.

Fast forward to 1975: Homosexuality is still illegal, and annual camps in the bush are organised as social gatherings for people to meet free from homophobia and transphobia. We are gathering here, camping out in the wilderness, to dress as we please, be ourselves without being bothered by police or homophobes. We have a tradition of dressing up like the royal family and give out awards for people who have done good things for our community. And we have high heel drag races.

Mardi Gras and the 78ers

The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras grew out of gay rights protest marches held since 1978. The marchers demands called for an end in discrimination in employment and housing, an end to police harassment and repeal of anti-homosexual laws. Along Oxford Street, on the night of the24th of June 1978, two thousand marchers were drawn by the call of “Out of the bars and into the streets!”

Lesbian Convicts Rebel

The year is 1838, and Australia is under British colonial occupation. Convict women are sent to Female Factories,  where they are taught to become domestic servants to rich families. In this setting solidarity and love are strong amongst the women inmates, and they found different ways to rebel and resist.

VISIONS FOR THE QUEER UTOPIAN FUTURE