Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps are many things: Researchers. Writers. Ultra-Feminists. Partners. They are also the first lesbian couple to come out of Australian national television almost fifty years ago.

Putting everything on the line, Phyllis and Francesca appeared on This Day Tonight’s interview about lesbianism in October 1970.

Since that appearance, the couple unpredictably became the face of change, creating Australia’s first gay political rights group, the Daughters of Bilitis, now known as the Australasian Lesbian Movement.




With Phyllis and Francesca’s work spanning over decades, the couple not only opens up about their contribution to one of the biggest societal shifts in Australian history, but about love, loss, and political change solidified inside a fifty-year relationship.

For closeted women in the 1970s and in a world where lesbianism was considered a myth, it was hard for women to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ Phyllis and Francesca helped provide an answer for decades to come.

Now in the last years of their lives and a new generation emerging, Phyllis and Francesca shine a light on their activism, their relationship, and the barriers that still affect the queer community today.


Phyllis and Francesca: 48 Years On

In 1970, when society could barely fathom the idea of lesbian relationships, This Day Tonight interviewed young couple Phyllis and Francesca. Decades later, we asked them to talk about the impact of speaking out. ABC ARTS |

Posted by ABC Australia on Thursday, 1 March 2018


Why Did She Have To Tell The World?’ is a half-hour television documentary by emerging documentary-makers Abbie Pobjoy and Bonny Scott.

In a world where lesbian stories are still in the shadows, find out how you can support here.

Watch the trailer below.



“It’s not hard bringing up the past, it’s hard thinking, ‘Where have we gone?’

Phyllis Papps




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