Ros Prosser - A Matter of Time
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Ros Prosser

“In Queensland at that time there was quite a large group of radical alternative lesbians, political lesbians, separatists, feminists. There were also a lot of lesbians who weren’t political and who weren’t feminists who would never go on a street march. There was a division. In terms of invisibility around homosexuality, I did not ever think that I was invisible. I never did think that I didn’t exist. I worked really hard with a lot of them that I knew to be really visible by the kinds of things we were involved in.

I remember going to some of the clubs and pubs where the non-political lesbians and gay men were. Whilst I felt that this was a place where I could be lesbian or gay, it didn’t feel like a place where I could be political. It was the site of pleasure, of dancing, drinking and hanging out. It was somewhere to go because there were no political bars or places you could be political except fundraisers, or alternative cultural venues where you were just political or alternative. You weren’t necessarily lesbian or gay. I remember being in some of those venues in the Valley and the police raiding them and they were indiscriminate about who they hit. They hit women; they hit men. There was a real sense of fear. Sometimes the police would come in and walk around and check everyone out. But I also remember them raiding those clubs and bashing anyone and everyone. They did see lesbians as targets. I knew quite a few women who were in the Armed Forces, and they were terrified. I remember being with a group of women in one of those bars one night. I remember them ducking for cover at the same point when the police came in. That sense of shame and hiding, because you were in the Army or the Air Force was pretty clear at the point.

Leaving at night you were always confronted by police waiting outside. You were always being counted and checked off. It was bizarre. It was a terrifying time because of the intimidation. These venues shouldn’t be treated in that way and I’m sure it wasn’t happening in other spaces, in heterosexual spaces.”

 

To purchase the book North of the Border: Stories from the A Matter of Time Project, click here.