15 March 2001

A new book by a University of Queensland academic argues that gay and lesbian life in Brisbane and Queensland is far more typical of Australia than that of Sydney and New South Wales, or Melbourne and Victoria.

"Some historians and social scientists have argued that Queensland is different from the rest of Australia," historian Associate Professor Clive Moore said.

"My book, Sunshine and Rainbows: the development of gay and lesbian culture in Queensland (University of Queensland Press) argues that Queensland is quintessentially Australian. The ?Queensland is Different' thesis developed as a reaction to an attempt to explain the decades of conservative rule between the 1950s and 1980s.

"The Different thesis emerged again in the late 1990s as Australians endeavoured to explain the phenomenon of Pauline Hansen and her One Nation Party."

President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties Ian Dearden will launch Sunshine and Rainbows at a Brisbane City Gallery function today at 6pm.

Dr Moore said the book was a history of the development of homosexuality as an Australian subculture from the 1820s to 2000.

"It argues that the manner in which gay and lesbian identity has been constructed in Queensland is typical of Australia generally.

"Beginning with isolated sexual acts suppressed by criminal law and medical opinion, a homosexuality identity developed, which by the mid-19th century was based on male appropriation of public space.

"A social subculture developed during the first half of the 20th century. Despite continued religious, social, legal and medical repression, it became an obvious part of Australian sexuality, expressed through Beats and early gathering places such as coffee shops, hotels and theaters.

"Well-established in urban areas by the 1930s and 1940s, the subculture strengthened in the 1970s and 1980s, when clubs, gay venues and political organizations were established."

Dr Moore said the fight for gay law reform, recognition of the rights of same-sex partners, and of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, continued today. Sunshine and Rainbows discuses the different roles of gay men and lesbians in the subculture, arguing that by the end of the 20th century a transition had occurred to a fully-developed alternative culture.

Clive Moore is an Associate Professor in UQ's History Department. His research and publications since the 1970s have focused on Queensland, New Guinea and Melanesia, particularly the 19th century Pacific labour trade. During the 1990s he became interested in gender, masculinity, and gay and lesbian studies in Australia, pioneering research into the development of the homosexual subculture/culture in Queensland.

Media: Further information Dr Clive Moore telephone 041 9676123, Jan King at UQ Communications 0413 601 248 or email: communications@mailbox.uq.edu.au.