The gay liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s have been responsible for dramatic social change. Today, homosexuality has moved from the closet into the mainstream. The world of repression and secrecy has disappeared and gay characters permeate popular culture. Gay sexual mores have been absorbed into the heterosexual mainstream. Gay style and body consciousness have become almost universal. Marriage equality has become a human rights issue that is embraced by the broader community, particularly the idealistic youth. But what has been lost to achieve this? Has gay and lesbian culture disappeared? If the mobilising issue for the gay community is the right to emulate the traditional family with marriage and children, homosexual identity has been sacrificed for social acceptance.
Dennis Altman is a Professorial Fellow in Human Security at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard. He has written 11 books exploring sexuality and politics, and their inter-relationship in Australia, the United States, and now globally.