Leigh Boucher, Barbara Baird, Michelle Arrow, Robert Reynolds

Personal Politics: Sexuality, Gender and the Remaking of Citizenship in Australia

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An insightful examination of the collective and cumulative impact gender and sexuality activism has had on citizenship in Australia

The achievement of marriage equality in Australia in 2017 was hailed by many as the crowning event of a fifty-year story of hard work by activists, which began with campaigns to decriminalise sex between men in the early 1970s. In that same five decades, feminist activism, including campaigns for abortion rights, the reform of family law and forms of welfare to support survivors of domestic violence, has similarly remade the rights and entitlements of Australian women. But has that story been one of continual progress and success? And who has been excluded from the privileges of Australian citizenship in the process?

Personal Politics brings together, for the first time, the voices and campaigns of a diverse set of activists who employed ideas about gender and sexuality to remake modern Australia. Beginning in the pivotal decade of the ’70s in which the ‘personal became political’, this book critically examines the wins and losses of these new ways of imagining citizenship and provides a revised political history of the past fifty years. This is a story populated and propelled by outraged feminists, radical homosexuals, angry fathers, maligned stay-at-home mothers, distressed trans kids, happy lesbian and gay couples, and even a few from the local Men’s Shed. These are the issues and identities that now dominate our public life: how and why did they emerge and what kind of political life have they produced?

Authors: Leigh Boucher, Michelle Arrow, Robert Reynolds, and Barbara Baird 

Paperback  Published June 2024  320 pages

‘An interesting analysis of some major political campaigns that offers ways of understanding how they worked or didn’t work. We can learn from this for future strategies.’ Eva Cox

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