Homosexual: A literary milestone

gay-flagProfessor Dennis Altman’s acclaimed book will be re-released 26 January to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of its publication, and the mark it had on a global debate.
Professor Altman’s book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation was first published in 1972, at the height of the Gay Liberation Movement.
‘Here was this young rather naïve Australian plunged into the middle of this new social movement in the States. I started writing about it’, says Professor Altman. ‘The book came out of very much my own experiences of being involved in those days of Gay Lib in New York.’
Described by the New York Times then as ‘the one to read’ and consistently ranked as one of the most influential books about homosexuality, Homosexual marked a significant milestone in the development of gay and lesbian politics and served a key role in the personal development of many people.
‘Dennis Altman was shouting for reform, including in this book, when virtually everyone else (myself not excepted) were as quiet as frightened mice,’ says former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Michael Kirby. ‘He is a hero and this book was a significant change agent.’
The book will remain unchanged save for a new introduction, and Professor Altman believes it will be of interest in both social and historical contexts.
‘Out of the whole set of social and cultural movements that emerged in Western countries at the very end of the 60s and into the 70s, the Gay Movement in some ways has been the most successful, says Professor Altman. ‘Attitudes have shifted fundamentally and that is really quite extraordinary.’
Professor Altman believes that the Gay Liberation Movement has been largely successful, but he feels there are still a number of issues that need addressing.
On the issue of same-sex marriage, Altman says it is going to happen anyway. ‘It won’t change very much, but at some point there’s a momentum that builds and increasingly people can’t oppose same-sex marriage without sounding deeply bigoted.’
A two-day conference After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation will be held to commemorate the book’s 40th anniversary. The conference is supported by Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies at La Trobe University, Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Midsumma and Victoria University. A public event held at ACMI Theatre, Melbourne on 2nd February.

More information on the conference:
CONTACT: Matt Smith
Phone: +61 3 9479 5513
Email: matthew.smith@latrobe.edu.au