M IS FOR
Liza Minnelli Think of Liza Minnelli, and the first place in the world that doesn’t automatically come to mind is the Sydney suburb of Bankstown. But 43 years ago, it might well have. For those were the days when a then 18-year-old Minnelli had just begun dating her boy from Oz Peter Allen and was well on her way to becoming the country’s favourite daughter-in-law.
During a visit to Australia in 1964 with her new boyfriend, the young diva and her gay blade lover were invited to Bankstown as special guests for the opening of the new Compass Centre shopping plaza on North Terrace. Upon arriving, Minnelli and Allen were awarded the titles King and Queen of the Compass Centre -“ and by all reports, it was Minnelli who wore the queen’s crown.
A good 12 months before she won her first Tony Award, and with her Oscar and Emmy wins almost a decade away, Queen of the Compass Centre was one of the first titles Minnelli had bestowed upon her, yet it does not appear, for some unexplained reason, on any of her biographical websites.
With Allen dead for 15 years, the Compass Centre due for redevelopment, and with Minnelli not visiting our shores since 1989, the title of Queen of The Compass Centre is almost lost in the dust of time, but on history’s page it remains a piece of our city’s connection to Liza Minnelli in an era long gone.
Misogyny Straight girls always flick their hair on dancefloors and lesbians always want to take over community organisations for their lesbian agendas. Sound familiar?
From drag queens that call women fish, to gay men who support nightclubs’ policies of not allowing women through the front door, misogyny is rife in Sydney’s queer community. And like that other thing that no-one wants to talk about -“ sexual racism -“ misogyny, which literally translates as hatred, dislike or mistrust of women, is rarely discussed.
It’s also so ingrained that most perpetrators don’t even seem to realise when they’re doing it, while others proudly admit to it. Theorists argue about what’s at the heart of some gay men’s general ickyness about women, but acknowledge it’s been around since the earliest days of gay liberation. It can be easily found, whether it’s overheard in Oxford Street nightclub toilet conversations or in writings by some of the world’s most prominent gay activists.