GAY PRIDE 1973
Wheelers Hill Victoria 3150
In 1973 the Australian Gay Liberation movement upped the ante by instigating a series of Gay Pride festivals in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. This was a time when homosexual sex was classified as a criminal act across Australia, and the Gay Pride events sought to challenge these repressive laws and openly celebrate gay and lesbian culture in public spaces.
Rennie Ellis, the most prolific photojournalist of Australian society during the 1970s and 80s, documented Melbourne’s Gay Pride Week with his characteristic warmth and candour. Commissioned to photograph the event for the National Review, Ellis captured everything from transgressive cross-dressers and camped up political banners to same-sex couples enjoying romantic interludes on the lawns of the Botanic Gardens.
This is the only substantial visual record of Melbourne’s first gay and lesbian festival, and most of the photographs in this exhibition have never been exhibited before now.