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Pride Month, beginning on 1 June, was initially intended to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of violent confrontations between New York City police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn in Lower Manhattan.

It has since become a time for celebrating queer people and their achievements. Pride Month also helps to raise the visibility of queer people and bring awareness to queer issues.

To celebrate Pride Month we delved into our collections.

Defining moments — same-sex marriage legalised

Studio photo of richly decorated pushbike pedal with the word 'YES' embroidered above an embroidered rainbow motif. - click to view larger image
Love Wheels

Same-sex marriage was the dominant LGBTQIA+ issue of the 2010s and a significant Defining Moment in Australian History. It divided political parties and the public.

In the lead up to the 2016 federal election, the Coalition government committed to holding a compulsory plebiscite.

This was later changed to a non-binding postal vote with the question: ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’

On 15 November 2017 it was announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that 61.6% of respondents had voted ‘YES’.

The House of Representatives amended the Marriage Act three weeks later, changing the definition of marriage to ‘a union of two people’.

In our collection we hold a number of significant objects from this time, including Love Wheels, a rainbow-coloured crocheted bicycle made by yarn bomber Eloise Murphy that was a symbol of the ‘YES’ campaign.

Aung Saw Lim (Man Man) shawl

This woollen shawl held in the Museum's collection was made by Aung Saw Lim (Man Man), a refugee held at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre. With the assistance of his case worker, Man Man created a sizeable collection of crocheted works.

An oblong, striped hand-crocheted shawl made from a mixture of multi-coloured yarns. The main colours are gold-yellow and bright pink, with stripes of blue, green, grey, purple and white.
Woollen shawl by Aung Saw Lim (Man Man)

This particular shawl speaks to Man Man's struggle as a refugee and gay man trying to reconcile with his identity.

After four and a half years in detention, Man Man ‘came out’ as gay after he was permitted to leave on 11 December 2017. As a result of an agreement between the Australian and United States governments, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

History of LGBTQIA+ politics

Forty years after the first Sydney mardi gras, and months after Australia achieved marriage equality, the Museum hosted a thought-provoking discussion on LGBTQIA+ politics in Australia.

A diverse panel reflected on the achievements and setbacks of the movement, and discussed their varied experiences as queer people from different walks of life, including how they have navigating prejudices and pride.

Pride and Prejudice

Forty years after the first Sydney mardi gras and months after Australia achieved marriage equality, we consider whether Australia has reached the end of the rainbow. Or has the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights just begun?
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Presenters: Michael Kirby, Robyn Laverack, Jordan Raskopoulos, Shirleene Robinson, Cathy Van Extel

We’ll keep bringing objects, collections, exhibitions and programs from the vault as part of the Museum from home experience. Stay tuned!

In our collection

Pair of buckled sling back platform shoes with peek-a-boo toesThese shoes form part of Ron Muncaster's prize-winning 'Lucille Balls' costume worn at the 1994 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The costume also includes a skirt, headdress, collar, singlet, sequinned fishnet stockings, sequinned armbands and rings.
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