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Rainbow Weekly Reminder

Updated: Jun 7


This Weekly Reminder was inspired by our friend Hannah McElhinney; writer of @Rainbowhistoryclass on TikTok and now a published author!

Like most people, growing up I never learnt about queer history. The first time I really got to learn about what the letters in LGBTQIA+ stood for, I was in my first year of university. I was 18 years old.

I remember watching a documentary in my ‘Sex and Gender’ class about someone's experience growing up as Transgender. I could not believe the pain and confusion that poor person must have felt. Before that, I had no idea what Transgender even meant!

10 years later, here I am at 28 years old, still lacking so much knowledge about queer and trans history. But luckily, in my hand I hold this book that has already taught me so much in just a few pages of light reading.

As I prepare to head off to my first Mardi Gras (which will also be Sydney’s first WorldPride), I dug into the chapter called “Darling, I want my gay rights now” (Pg. 138).

This section of the book slapped me in the face in the best way.

It reminded me and taught me about those who came before us and had to fight for the right to just exist.

In the middle twentieth century homosexuality was seen as a sort of societal virus.

Society did everything it could to hide homosexuality.

  • 🍻Alcohol wouldn’t be served to gay people at bars because they were seen as inherently disorderly.

  • 👗Rules were put in place to torment gender non-conforming people where people had to prove they were wearing at least 3 pieces of clothing corresponding to their sex.

  • 🩺Surgeries were performed on Lesbian women removing important parts of their brain in an attempt to reverse feelings of same-sex attraction

  • 🧑‍⚖️ Laws were put in place that made it a crime to love someone of the same sex.

The first Sydney Mardi Gras (1978) was less of a celebration than I imagined.

It ended in brutality, humiliation, imprisonment and suicide for a number of LGBTQIA+ people who were attending. Purely because the police did not like the sight of queer people being so… proud.

It’s incredible to think how far society has come, but it hasn’t been easy for those who had to fight to get us to this point.

Gay people were determined to match hatred and violence with pride and fun.

I sit here incredibly humbled and full of gratitude for the men, women, trans and non-binary people who devoted their life to creating change. I am incredibly privileged to benefit from all that they protested for.

I will remember them as I celebrate my first Pride.

I’d like to encourage you to buy a copy of Rainbow History Class: Your Guide Through Queer And Trans History to support this fantastic Australian, queer author on her journey to educate and empower our generation.

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