Papers of Sue Wills
The Papers of Sue Wills largely comprising the records of the Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) Women’s Association, or CWA, as well as material relating to Campaign Against Moral Persecution (CAMP) NSW, the Penny Short case, aversion therapy, and gay liberation.
Dr Sue Wills (1944-2022) was a pioneer of the gay and women’s liberation movements, she was also an archivist and historian who spent her life in service to a vision of social equality. Her appearance with her then-partner, Gaby (Gabrielle) Antolovich, on the ABC current affairs program, Four Corners, is often overshadowed in discussions of that program by Peter de Waal and Peter Bonsall-Boone’s on-air kiss. But Sue and Gaby spoke eloquently to large audiences about their lesbianism and their lives, shaping early attitudes. Sue was one of the first to draw attention to, and to campaign against the abuse of gay people by the psychiatric profession, including its use of aversion therapy, in articles and interviews that still resonate today.
After the founders of the CAMP NSW withdrew from active participation Sue and Lex Watson stepped up to bring order to the group and its work, being Co-Presidents for a couple of years at a time when the movement’s interests went well beyond law reform and into areas of social transformation. Eventually Sue, Lex and Gaby resigned their positions in CAMP citing sexism and a shift in the group towards welfarism rather than political engagement. Sue had been among those who struggled against sexism in the organisation and the movement, as described in her article “The CWA – The other one”, a history of the CAMP Women’s Association. She turned her attention to the women’s movement and remained active for the rest of her active life, working both as a lesbian and a woman.
Sue was also a historian – her PhD thesis, ‘The Politics of Sexual Liberation’ was a deeply researched exploration of the links between the social movements of the early 1970s, including the gay movement (as it was then called) and the women’s movement.