The Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories project wants you!
The Past in the Present: Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories, a joint study by Macquarie University and the National Library Australia, wants to record the life stories of 60 lesbian and gay people in various parts of Australia.
The taped interviews will be lodged with the National Library.
Dr Shirleene Robinson one of the chief researchers on the project said it is incredibly important to capture voices from the lesbian and gay community, because too often these voices have been left out of Australian history.
“This is the first national project of this type to focus on sexuality and to include all of Australia, from Broken Hill to Brisbane and beyond and such a diverse range of ages, from 18 to our oldest current participants of 90 years old,” Robinson told SX. “It is being supported by the National Library of Australia, which holds Australia's most extensive collection of oral history interviews and has the technology and facilities to preserve these for future generations.”
Robinson sees the project as a major initiative to capture a section of the Australian community that may not have been preserved before. “We want to ensure that Australian society, in its diversity, is recorded for future generations,” she explained.
With issues regarding same-sex marriage and rainbow families having come to the fore in recent years, researchers are particularly interested in how attitudes to homosexuality have changed over generations.
“In terms of change, one of the central questions we are exploring is the way that the experiences of our interviewees has changed over time. What has it been like for example, to live a gay or lesbian life at a time when social attitudes towards homosexuality have changed so remarkably. Has this been reflected in people's life experiences?” Robinson asked.
Whilst volunteers to participate have been forthcoming, Robinson said they have a dearth of voices in a few groups. “We are particularly interested in hearing from three groups: young people born after 1983, men born before 1940 and women born before 1956.”
Lest you think you need a significant story to tell to take part, Robinson reiterates; “We are looking for every day, ordinary people who would like to tell us their story, who would like to be a part of this important record of gay and lesbian life.”
Interviews will be conducted by historians from Macquarie University, the University of Melbourne and Queensland University. If you are interested in having your life story recorded visit www.australianlesbianandgaylifestories.org.au Or for more information (02)98509678