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Sitting down in a series of interviews with 27 men aged between 74 and 95, David Gould discovered lives - now rapidly being lost to history - that were lived under the shadow of homophobic prejudice.
Their stories reveal how these men made sense of their lives and desires, how they responded to social expectations around family and marriage, and found sex at a time when it was proscribed by law, condemned by society, and luridly sensationalised by the media. Many of them suffered terribly, but what also emerged are stories of resilience, sometimes joy, and the foundations of our contemporary communities.
Author: David Gould
Paperback Published 15 July 2023 207 pages
'This history of gay life in Australia in the 1940s and fifties relies on memories that that are, with the passage of time, increasingly unavailable. Here we see a world that is rapidly slipping away. What Dr Gould discovered is that, while many men managed to survive the difficulties and challenges, others actually thrived, built lives for themselves, lives full of friendship and love and pleasure. Their stories are too rarely told. Anyone interested in queer history and Australian history will find this a compelling and illuminating read. More than that, the book has precious lessons for queer people in other countries, their allies and families. It shows the urgency and justice of reform on the international stage. Truth and human rationality can be great agents of change in our world.' The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG: Justice of the High Court of Australia 1996-2009; Australian Human Rights Medal, 1991
“As against those histories that emphasise only the doom, gloom and oppression faced by homosexuals who grew up in Australia in the years BC (Before Camp), we see here that, despite the very real difficulties, many men did manage to live, love and lead fulfilling lives. This book is a testament to them.”– Robert B French, historian