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Crowd funding aims to preserve Queensland's lesbian history

North of the Border is the print outcome of the A Matter of Time Project



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As Australia draws closer to gay marriage, it's easy to forget homosexuality was still a crime Queensland until 1991. A Brisbane-based photojournalist is working to preserve the history of lesbians who lived through the fear and persecution of the 70s and 80s in Queensland.

Dr Heather Faulkner (a documentary photographer and Griffith University lecturer), has captured the personal journeys of eight Queensland lesbians in her book North of the Border: Stories from the A Matter of Time Project. But to get the book published, she needs the public to pitch in funds.

“This girl and I, we were just friends, we were just walking along, going to the Valley. This car pulled up beside us. These young men pushed us over and called us names, ‘dyke,’ ‘lesbians,’ and other names… I think it’s being called a ‘lesbian,’ which is not a big deal now, but at that time it was such a big deal to be callled any sort of name like that, a homosexual name. And then they drove off. We didn’t end up going to the club because I was too scared. I backed off. I went back into the closet… We all hid. It doesn’t make you want to come out even if you were out to yourself. I love this state – do not get me wrong. I love Queensland to bits…But at that time we were four million years behind everything else, everyone else.” –Lyn an expert from North of the Border.

Dr Faulkner has secured University of Western Australia Publishing to publish the book and launched a crowd funding campaign through Pozible to help cover some of the expenses of publication and publicity as well as outreach to rural LGBTIQ Queensland communities and metropolitan LGBTIQ history groups organisations.

North of the Border is the print outcome of the A Matter of Time Project, which has been exhibited at the Brisbane Powerhouse (2013) and the Museum of Brisbane (Prejudice & Pride, 2010) and Dr Faulkner hopes to develop the project further to produce a documentary film.

Up to 11% of the Australian population identify as LGBTIQ, hence approximately 469,000 Queenslanders. Lesbian women are under-represented in both Queensland history and creative works. This project preserves important social history during this turning point of LGBTIQ rights in Australia.

North of the Border enhances the Queensland LGBTIQ community’s own knowledge of their history and advocates their belonging in Queensland.

It is also important that the histories of the LGBTIQ community are recognised to protect seniors from stigmatisation and discrimination in their later years. The Australian Department of Social Services has put a range of initiatives in place to better meet the aged care needs of LGBTI people.
These initiatives recognise that:
• there have been decades of inequitable treatment for LGBTI people;
• many LGBTI people have suffered stigma, family rejection and social isolation; and
• many LGBTI people have had a life experience of fear of rejection and persecution, coupled with the impact of potential or actual discrimination.

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