It is Anzac Day 1982, and a small band of gay veterans has gathered by Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. They have attended the Dawn Service to pay their respects to mates who fought and fell alongside them in the Second World War. In doing so, they marked out a very different practice to the men and youths (and many Allied servicemen) who had played and socialised by some of the nation’s major war monuments during the 1940s. Some of the men step forward and lay wreaths. But memory is a contested thing, and those authorised to speak about men, masculinity and the war do not recall things in quite the same way. The outspoken president of Victoria’s Returned and Services League, Bruce Ruxton, was quick off the mark when he took to the press to undercut this very public gesture. ‘I don’t know where all these gays and poofters are coming from,’ he said. ‘I don’t remember a single poofter from World War II.’1
KeywordsSexual Offence Civilian World Australian Defence Force Queer Identity Pacific Campaign
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.