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    Personal Politics: Fifty Years of Queer Activism

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    Event description

    Personal Politics: Gender, Sexuality and the Making of Australian Citizenship (Monash University Publishing) is a ground-breaking history of feminist and LGBTIQ+ activism in Australia.

    Activists in the 1970s hoped that by asserting that the ‘personal is political’ they could address injustice and inequality. This conversation between the authors of this book will explore the efficacy and historical consequences of this style of making politics.

    Has there been a retreat from the radical hopes and ambitions of these earlier activisms? Has LGBTIQ+ activism consorted too closely with the ideals of neoliberalism by promoting self-sufficiency and respectability as political virtues? And, whose interests are being served by a political culture in which stories of intimate distress and despair seem to dominate?

    Come and hear a conversation between some of the leading historians of gender and sexuality in Australia about what we can learn by critically examining the history of LGBTIQ+ activism in Australia.

    This event will commence at 2pm sharp, so arrive in plenty of time to take your seat in the Loading Dock Theatre. Seating is not allocated.

    Drinks will be available from the bar after the session has concluded and books will be available for purchase.


    Associate Professor Leigh Boucher, Professors Michelle Arrow and Robert Reynolds (Macquarie University), and Associate Professor Barbara Baird (Flinders University) are ground-breaking historians of gender and sexuality in Australia.

    Their previous work has reshaped our understanding of gay life in Australia (Reynolds), interrogated the social and political history of abortion (Baird), recast our understanding of political life in the 1970s (Arrow), and challenged our narratives of citizenship in Australia (Boucher).

    Personal Politics is the culmination of their decade long collaboration and research project.

    They will be in conversation with Professor Clare Monagle (Macquarie University) who has published work on feminism and maternity, and also has a keen interest in the history of Australian politics.


    Beginning in the pivotal decade of the ’70s in which the ‘personal became political’, this provocative new book critically examines the wins and losses of five decades of queer and feminist activism as well as those who sought to resist those transformations.

    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.

    It traces the gains, losses, compromises and unintended consequences of this activism, provoking a critical engagement with our present and unsettling the lazy narratives of uninterrupted progress that often circulate in Australian public life.

    It is a story populated 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?

    Personal Politics: Gender, Sexuality and the Remaking of Australian Citizenship will be published by Monash University Press in June 2025. Copies will be available for purchase at this event.

    About Qtopia Sydney's Pride Fest

    Join us for a month of dazzling works and moving stories as we celebrate the astounding talent within our community.

    Presented by Qtopia Sydney, Pride Fest covers the entire month of June, bringing audiences limited runs of exciting works from Australian artists.

    Involving local and interstate artists, Pride Fest features the best of what our community has to offer. Whatever you're looking for this Pride season, there truly is a little something for everyone. 

    Qtopia Sydney's Pride Fest contains cabaret, drag, theatre, and more, encouraging us to come together to celebrate not only LGBTQIA+ stories, but the storytellers themselves. 

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