“I think I’ve fallen in love with the DJ”, I said to a few people earlier today. We were seated (and dancing) at Sydney’s “Stonewall Hotel”, hours after participating in the Sydney WorldPride walk across the Harbour Bridge.
With everything from New Order’s “Blue Monday” to Man2Man’s “Male Stripper” and Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round”, the DJ was playing tracks from the 1980s that took me back to the much-loved, Brisbane gay bar, “The Terminus”. Not long after, the songs he played took me back to my time living in Bourke, as Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” came over the speakers. And then we got into 1980s power rock songs like “The Final Countdown” and “Poison”.
As well as the diversity in 1980s music, there was also diversity in the crowd. Though there was a slight dominance of gay men, there was diversity within the diversity of the group.
What united us was participation in the bridge walk.
We were in the first group to cross the bridge, which meant we were there for the opening speeches and the acknowledgement of what this was all about: human rights.
“The first time I had sex I was breaking the law, and I could have gone to gaol”, I said to a friend, a lesbian, who is just a couple of years younger. We then reminisced about someone we both knew who was one of the known many men who were killed during the hate crimes era of the 80s and 90s. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-16/nsw-inquiry-into-sydney-gay-hate-deaths/100995158 We both agreed we really hoped the younger members of the LGBTQIA+ community recognise the rights they enjoy today came from the activism of people in previous generations.
And for those who think it’s “all done, settled, nothing to worry about, it’s time to move on”, I’m hoping they’ll think beyond their personal circles, and recognise there is still a long way to go. In Australia, the latest campaign concerns the rights of trans people. In other parts of the world, people are still being sentenced to death over their gender and sexuality.