The State Library Of New South Wales is currently hosting an exhibition entitled, Coming Out In The 70s.

The State Library of NSW website states that “gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted… This exhibition tells their story.”

According to the State Library, material has been drawn from the library’s own collection of gay and lesbian posters, photographs, personal papers, oral history and ephemera. According to the State Library of NSW the exhibition “pays tribute to the people and events that drove this profound social change, offering a rich and compelling context for continuing debates and issues around LGBTQI+ life today.”

The exhibition is able to be viewed online. it features six different chapters entitled, Being Seen, CAMP Ink, Being Heard, Badges, Being Together, and Being Yourself.

Featuring an introductory quote by activist Liz Ross, who stated in 2009 that “by the end of the 1960s… there was a real sense of fundamental change, of liberation, even revolution in the air. The introduction also features an interview with activist and academic, Garry Wotherspoon, who stated that “looking back you can see I suppose with hindsight it was a turning point.”

The exhibition has been curated by Margot Riley, Bruce Carter and Ronald Briggs.

 Margot Riley has been involved in the curation of a number of exhibitions and displays for the State Library of New South Wales, and has expertise in research, acquisition and interpretation. Riley has also written and lectured extensively about the libraries collection, and has a particular interest in popular culture, photography and dress.

Bruce Carter is a public and oral historian, with a history of working on projects with Sydney-based community groups for the past 25 years. Carter is now part of the Information and Access team for the library, and is interested in uncovering lesser-known stories within archival collections.

Ronald Briggs originally trained as a school teacher before beginning to work as an Indigenous Services Librarian at the State Library of New South Wales in 1991. Briggs is also has a particular interest in family history.

Coming Out In The 70s also features the discovery of an interesting document from the past which appears to show that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was registered for the 2nd National Homosexual Conference at Sydney University in August 1976.

You can view this exhibition online or at the State Library of New South Wales, with free admission until Sunday, May 16, 2021.

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