One of the original members of CAMP (Campaign Against Moral Persecution), Helen Pasley, has died aged 75 years.

Born in 1934, the cause of gay rights took on particular personal importance for Pasley after being dishonourably discharged from the army for concerns around her sexuality.

Throughout the -˜70s she became a regular presence at women’s liberation and gay and lesbian rights marches, including the original 1978 Oxford St riots which went on to spawn Mardi Gras.

Having grown up in New Guinea for most of her early life, Pasley was made of strong resolve and strong character. By age 20 she could ride a motorbike and shoot the eye out of a boar with a .22 calibre shotgun. It would have been a stark contrast to return to Sydney in the -˜50s to live with her aunt, a French teacher.

It was in Sydney where she first found the world of underground lesbian bars. Pasley told friends of how her first experience at a gay bar had been a confronting one. With everyone dressed in either male or female clothing, she was approached by a butch dyke and told to -˜pick a side’. And so she became a motorbike riding, leather wearing butch dyke who maintained the voice of an aristocrat when needed.

Paisley’s former partner and longtime friend Lynn Thompson recalled how Pasley was verbally abused by other motorists for being a bikie while out riding one day. She waited until the next set of lights to remove her helmet, turn to the other driver, and in her poshest of accents say, -˜God bless you sir’.

Leather became more than a passion for Pasley as she developed her skills as a leather craftswoman. Creating fine hand-made products, she was named the second finest leather worker in the country -” an accolade bestowed upon her by the then premiere leather worker at the time.

She continued to create pieces and hone her skill right up until she was hospitalised this year.
Her ashes will be scattered this Saturday at a ceremony on a beach in Adelaide, to be followed by a wake.
info: For further details contact Lynn Thomas at [email protected]

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