R Conrad

Against Equality Wrap Up from Down Under

Filed By R Conrad | February 13, 2012 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Against Equality, Australia, Dennis Altman, Gay Liberation, marriage, Melbourne

Last week I was lucky enough to make my way to Melbourne for a gay and lesbian studies conference honoring the retiring La Trobe University professor Dennis Altman. After traveling thirty six hours I emerged in the sunny southern hemisphere with my short shorts and a pile of Against Equality books in tow. Details and photos of my Aussie adventures in gay liberation after the jump...

The day before the After Homosexual: The Legacy of Gay Liberation conference, I did hour-long interviews with the radio programs Word for Word on Joy 94.9FM and Queering the Air on 3CR community radio station. These interviews will be aired in Australia in the coming weeks and will be available for podcasting soon. I also did a print interview with the Star Observer and another one with the Gay News Network. All this is to say, we've had a lot of air time and we will be sure to share all the links with y'all as soon as they are live.

At the fantastically-organized conference, I gave a presentation largely based on the work I did with Yasmin Nair for the journal We Who Feel Differently. The Against Equality presentation was one of the most well-attended events of the weekend, but apparently we were a bit too controversial for Jeffrey Weeks, one of the conference keynote speakers, who walked out in disgust just three minutes into it. Following the presentation was a lively discussion that included both critique of our position as well as many thanks for holding our ground on the issue. Against Equality will also be contributing to the anthology publication coming out of the conference, edited by none other than two of the brilliant After Homo conference organizers, Mark Pendelton and Carol D'Cruz.

The following day, February 5, I did a book launch with the wonderful folks at Melbourne's queerest bookstore and café, Hares & Hyenas. The event was packed with over fifty in attendance and we sold out of books before the talk even started! The audience once again jumped in with insightful questions and comments relating the work of Against Equality to the geographically and politically-situated Australian context. Some in attendance were surprised that no one from the gay marriage mainstream showed up to protest our event, but thankfully that was one headache we didn't have to deal with. Hopefully H&H will be restocked with books soon!

In addition to sharing our work, we got to learn about all sorts of cool people and neat projects happening in Australia. There are some really rad folks working on print magazines like Dirty Queer and DUDE who y'all should check out. Activists presenting from The Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives, Organization Intersex International - Australia, and Minus 18 were pretty kickass too. And of course there were the wonderful folks at Hares & Hyenas as well as the babes keeping it real on the radio with Queering the Air that treated us so well. We couldn't have asked for sweeter folks to host our project overseas.

Thanks Aussies, we look forward to seeing you again!

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