Once a month the Fitzroy Town Hall throws opens its doors to Elders from the LGTBI community. The activity of choice, dancing. Don’t stress if dancing isn’t your forte, you aren’t alone, luckily it isn’t a prerequisite. With wheelchair accessibility and refreshments supplied the night is open to anyone. And that’s the point. It’s an inclusive activity with a focus on community. It’s a safe space where people come along to have a dance, drink some champagne and devour a selection of soft cheeses. With refreshments provided it becomes more about meeting and reuniting people who have a shared love for laughing and dancing.
As the members dance it’s easy to forget that in their lifetime homosexuality was illegal. In South Australia it was decriminalised in 1975; the ACT 1976, Victoria 1980, the Northern Territory 1983, New South Wales 1984, Western Australia 1989, and Queensland 1990. This leaves Tasmania, who in 1997, was forced by the Federal Government under the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994, and the High Court of Australia, to throw out their homophobic law. It’s completely understandable why the celebration never stops. To have overcome these obstacles is amazing. That’s without mentioning the social stigma that has been and still is associated with the LGTBI community.
Growing tired I snuck out the back door as they moved onto their final dance of the night. As I left I overheard a conversation. They were talking about their bad backs and the benefit of water aerobics.
All the Queen’s Men organise the LGBTI Elders dance. They meet at 5.30 on the first Thursday of every month.
For more details go to http://allthequeensmen.net/projects/lgbti-eldersdance-club/
For more information on the shameful history towards the LGTBI community check out http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-24/timeline:-australian-states-decriminalise-male-homosexuality/6719702