In September 1975, a newspaper appeared on the shelves of Australian newsagents – Campaign: Australia’s gay newspaper. It was to prove the most enduring such publication in our history.
Campaign was not the first gay publication in Australia. In the first years of the movement, a flurry of magazines and newspapers had appeared – Camp Ink, Stallion/Gayzette, Apollo, William and John… Apart from Camp Ink, which was the voice of the gay rights organisation, most of them were commercial ventures and were attempting to bridge the gap between the social life of gay people and the worlds of politics and news.
Campaign followed this model. The paper’s name itself captured this ambiguity, playing on ‘camp’ as the still widely-used alternative term to ‘gay’ and ‘campaign’ in the political sense. In content, it was a mix of news, good-looking men, bar photos and gossip, political manifestos, venue and event listings, polemic, classifieds, advertisements, book and film reviews and celebrity interviews.
In these early years it was primarily a newspaper (difficult for a monthly publication) and the first issue appeared as South Australia was completing its decriminalisation of male homosexuality, providing a good newsy headline to launch with. But one indicator of the different times was that there was, in issue 1, just one lonely advertisement. Precious little in the way of pink dollar back then!
In his first editorial, Peter Langford offered his dream – a utopian vision of a publication 60 pages thick, in full colour. And while it didn’t happen overnight …