Emotional tribute held to lesbian couple convicted for holding hands
A beautiful tribute has been held in honour of two women who were convicted for holding hands on a tram.
The women were apprehended in Melbourne, Australia, for what was dubbed ‘obscene behaviour’ in 1976.
Four decades on, a group of women with the Celebrate Ageing group organised an event in their honour, in which they all held hands on trams in Melbourne.
Catherine Barrett, organiser and director of Celebrate Ageing, said the event was “amazing.”
She added: “We had 20 lesbian elders board the tram, and a group of LGBTI community members come to send us off.
“We also had a number of straight folks who heard about the project and wanted to come along to show their support.
“This was very moving and brought a number of us to tears.”
Some of the women were still nervous about holding hands in public, despite the vastly different era they live in.
“It was a sign that society still has a long way to go,” Barrett told GSN.
“A number of women told me that they were really nervous – they don’t generally hold hands in public, it has not been safe to do so.
“So even though we were travelling in a group, they were frightened of the responses from the general public,” she added.
This is understandable, considering the huge amount of homophobic hate speech which has been prominent since the ongoing postal vote on same-sex marriage was announced.
The hand-holding event was organised to remind people of the discrimination uniquely dealt with by lesbians.
It was also seen as a chance to discuss the experiences and struggles of older lesbians in the community.
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Barrett said: “Often LGBTI histories are talked about as a collective – as though each subgroup had the same experiences.
“These experiences need to be understood – because the past is not dead, there are still legacies of history present in contemporary society.
“The event really highlighted the trepidation many older lesbians feel being identified as a lesbian in public,” she added.
“We recognise this is a project that needs to continue.”