The first issue of the Star hit the streets a mere ten years after Stonewall and a year after Mardi Gras. Homosexuals were classed as criminally insane perverts in all but a few countries the world over Â-” and even in those where they weren’t, were a shamed and scapegoated minority.
Many of the bars who advertised in the first issue of the Star were of disputable legal status themselves and were regularly raided by police. In that environment, publishing a paper like the Star could have almost been considered a criminal enterprise in itself.
Now 30 years on, the Star remains our most read free to street publication and homosexuality is legal in every state -” our relationships formally recognised in three of these.
Gays and lesbians rank among Australia’s highest honoured and most loved public figures and our march to equality is almost over.
No other GLBT publication has stood the test of time in this country, and reading its pages from its first issue forward is to see the history of gay people in this country unfold. For this reason the Star is gay Australia’s newspaper of record.
As one of the few truly community owned gay publications in the world, readers hold us to a higher standard, and expect accountability. Others will come and go in it’s time.
Writing the 30 year history of the Star that appears in this issue has been a privilege and a learning experience for someone who was just a few months old in the year of its birth.
There were some heartbreaking choices to be made over which stories to leave in and which to leave out, and not every one of the Star’s over a dozen editors gets a mention.
What stands out for me is the frustrating, incremental pace of change -” with each tiny handful of stone won at incredible effort as we struggled up the mountain.
Other minorities have won their rights in a handful of steps, but our victories have always been piecemeal, and the path before us, seemingly without end. Today, much of that energy in pursuing our rights has dissipated -” as if we’ve been burnt out by the effort.
The other thing that stands out is the shocking number of homophobic murders and hate crimes that have occurred in this country, something which Australian society has still never truly faced up to. I am talking about literally hundreds of deaths and people beaten in broad daylight. Even today homophobia is still considered a lesser vice than racism.
But as we look to the future, an end to our struggle finally is in sight.
You’ve come a long way baby -” let’s hear it for 30 more!