After Homosexual: The Legacies of Gay Liberation

25 September 2011

An International Conference
2-4 February 2012
Melbourne, Australia

Hosted by the Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Program at La Trobe University

In conjunction with the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives, Midsumma, Victoria University and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Keynote Speakers:
Professor Jeffrey Weeks, London Southbank University
Professor Alice Echols, University of Southern California

Forty years ago, a young Australian expat living in the USA synthesised the politics of the emerging gay liberation movement in a provocative book called Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation. Described by the New York Times then as ‘the one to read’ and consistently ranked as one of the most influential books about homosexuality in the English language, Homosexual marked a significant milestone in the development of gay and lesbian politics and served a key role in the personal development of many people. It has been reprinted multiple times and translated into several languages. The book’s author, Dennis Altman, went on to have a career as one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals, an important writer on US politics, Australia/US relations, the politics of HIV/AIDS, and studies of sexuality, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Homosexual and to mark Professor Altman’s retirement, this international conference will bring together leading and emerging scholars to reflect on the impact of Homosexual and the legacy of gay liberation. Speakers from North and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania will present over 80 papers on topics including:

  • Homosexual’s publication and reception
  • the political philosophy of gay liberation
  • the relationship between queer theory and gay and lesbian studies
  • literature of oppression and liberation
  • gender and sexual politics
  • gay liberation’s connections to other social movements (such as feminism, socialism, anti-racism and the counterculture)
  • transgender movements and gay liberation
  • the relationship between academia and activism
  • the politics of identity, then and now
  • contemporary gender and sexuality movements
  • other topics related to Homosexual or the legacy of gay liberation

The conference organizers will be publishing an anthology, After Homosexual, where esteemed writers, academics and activists reflect on the impact of the book; it will be illustrated with never before published clippings, manifestoes and photographs taken from the legacies of gay liberation. The conference organisers plan to publish selected conference papers in a special issue of a leading academic journal.

For further details, please check the conference website or contact Mark Pendleton at

After Homosexual Conference Committee
(Dr Carolyn D’Cruz, Dr Graham Willett, Mark Pendleton, Dr Michael Connors, Dr Caroline Symons)