To the archives!
The marriage equality debate in Australia seems stuck on one question at the moment. To plebiscite or not to plebiscite? The 1999 republic referendum, and more recently Brexit are just two examples of how things (in my opinion) can go horribly wrong . Those of us who lived through the gay law reform days in Tasmania also remember how things can go horribly hateful. I don’t want to see what happens when narrow and homophobic views are fuelled by a mainstream media more interested in drama and sensation that rational debate. I’m desperately hoping this plebiscite doesn’t happen.
Being a good little archivist, I’ve been asking friends who were living in Tasmania in the day to dig around in their (or their parent’s) attics* for anything relating to gay law reform. The first response to this call has came from Jen Crothers, who on a recent trip home from Vancouver had a dig. And struck gold. I’ve been slowly sorting through it and as I read through some of the letters to the editor, and pamphlets distributed by anti-gay groups I’m suprised by the memories. It was a successful campaign, but a tremendous amount of hate speech was printed in the name of ‘honest debate’ before it was over. Is it over?
Jen must have felt shocked too. The post pack full of documents she sent came with a trigger warning.