THE Victorian Seniors Festival is putting a spotlight on lesbian history.

In his apology last year for the historical treatment of gay men, Premier Daniel Andrews told the story of two women who were convicted of “obscene behaviour” for holding hands on a tram in 1976.

Andrews urged members of the LGBTI community to “hold hands on a tram” as a gesture of support to challenge homophobia.

And now, as part of the City of Port Phillip Seniors Festival, and supported by the Victorian Seniors Festival, in October a group of older lesbians will trace the steps of the two who were charged to help bring visibility to queer women.

The women will ride the number 16 tram from the Melbourne CBD to St Kilda to share afternoon tea and their stories of resistance, and will also hold hands in defiance.

“We want to recognise lesbian history,” said organiser Catherine Barrett.

“It will be an act of resistance, these older lesbians jumping on the tram to hold hands and to bring visibility.

“I’ve even told a lot of younger lesbians about this and they’ve said, ‘That’s awesome, can we ride the tram with you?’”

The project will also call on older lesbians across Australia to record their stories of lesbiphobia and resistance, and to share images of themselves holding their partner’s hand with the hash tag #womenholdinghands.

The event recognises the historical experiences and resilience of older lesbians, while acknowledging social change, including the new Pride Centre at St Kilda.

The tram ride will take place as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival on Wednesday 11 October. For more information on the project visit:

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