Love ’em or loathe ’em, there’s no avoiding heterosexuals.

Some have tried, of course. Separatist households were common enough in the 1970s – groups of homosexuals banding together to explore their lives (among other things!), screening out the influence of heterosexual values such as monogamy, jealousy, exclusiveness. It all ended badly, by and large, although the households and the consciousness-raising groups that they embodied provided large numbers of lesbians and gay men with solid foundations for a lifetime of activism and pride.

At the other extreme, there is hetero-fetish, the endless lusting after ‘real men’. In the olden days (before about 1970), queers didn’t want other queers; they wanted Real Men, men who were prepared to be sexually serviced but who would never themselves actually do anything to initiate or reciprocate. For lesbians the butch-femme thing worked in much the same way.

These days the whole hetero-fetish thing gets all muddled up with class – working class ‘trade’, middle class ‘suits’ – and with race, and ethnicity. But surely part of the allure of beats is that they are (or can be imagined to be) the last refuge of the Real Man.

Finally there are our Friends – heterosexuals who have stuck their necks out to advance the cause of gay and lesbian rights. In the mid-1960s, long before any gay person was prepared to speak out, liberals and reformers of all political persuasions raised the issues of law reform and tolerance in the media and in the parliaments.

Brought to you by the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Posted in History Bites.