Break The Silence : Rally for Gay Law Reform (1989)

Break the silence : Rally for Gay Law Reform, 1989. (In copyright). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Break The Silence : Rally for Gay Law Reform, 1989. (In copyright). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This 1989 poster from our collection, Break The Silence: Rally for Gay Law Reform, documents a significant moment of the gay rights movement in Queensland; promoting one of the first major demonstrations in support of homosexual law reform. The rally was held outside Parliament House in Brisbane on August 31 and organised by the Queensland Association for Gay Law Reform.

University of Queensland magazine, Semper Floreat reported over 350 people took part in the rally. “We’re sick of being illegal and we’re sick of being stared or sneered at. It’s time for us to stop hiding and start shouting that we are happy and proud to be lesbian or gay. It’s time to demand our civil rights, it’s time to break our silence. It’s time to come out of our closets and onto the streets!”, said one rights activist addressing the protestors.

The Queensland Association for Gay Law Reform sought the repeal of all Queensland laws discriminating against homosexuals and new legislation be enacted to protect Queenslanders from discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference. Speakers at the rally included Michael Browne (Queensland Association for Gay Law Reform), Nigel Powell (Citizens Against Corruption) and Stephen Keim and Terry O’Gorman (Queensland Council for Civil Liberties).

The original poster features in our current exhibition, Freedom Then, Freedom Now which explores freedoms enjoyed and restricted in Queensland.

Further reading

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland