A new project expected to span three years will aim to record the life stories of gay and lesbian Australians in the first comprehensive nationwide documentation of the experiences of gay people and changing attitudes to homosexuality over the decades.
A joint study by Macquarie University and the National Library of Australia, the ‘Past in the Present: Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories’ project will record the experiences of 60 gay and lesbian people from all walks of life across Australia.
The interviews, to be conducted by researchers and historians from Macquarie University, the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne, will then be lodged with the National Library for storage for future generations.
The researchers hope to explore the life experiences of five different generations of lesbians and gay men – from those born before 1940 to those born only two decades ago in 1994 – to help reveal what it has been like to live as a gay man or lesbian at various times in Australian history.
Dr Graham Willett, from the University of Melbourne and a member of the research team, said that a valuable part of Australia’s history could be lost if not captured urgently.
“This project will make accessible the lived experiences of five different generations of Australian lesbian and gay people,” he said.
“It will provide a unique insight into the way individuals negotiate intimate social change. It will also expand understandings of Australian history by incorporating the voices of lesbian and gay people, who have often been excluded from national narratives.”
INFO: Interested individuals who wish to take part in the project can fill in an expression of interest here or contact (02) 9850 9678.