Eschewing Jouissance. "Gender Trouble Down Under: Australian Masculinities" by David Coad and "From Camp to Queer: Remaking the Australian Homosexual" by Robert Reynolds. [review]
Although called "From Camp to Queer", this book is really about the early years of the gay liberation movement in Australia - from 1970 to 1974. In that sense, "From Camp to Gay" would have been more accurate; the Epilogue on the rise of queer in the 1990s is pretty much an afterword. The early 1970s was an extraordinary period when gay people set out to challenge the criminalisation, vilification and self-loathing that they had inherited - to remake themselves and the world. It is a story that has been told several times now, even in relation to Australia. David Coad's "Gender Trouble Down Under" is also concerned with Australia's very queer history, but his is a broader canvas. He offers a survey of Australian masculinities since 1788, generally chronological, but, given its cultural studies approach, this neat narrative is constantly being disrupted. So the chapter that begins with the convicts lurches into anti-gay violence in the late twentieth century and youth suicide. Ned Kelly and his cross-dressing sidekick Steve Hart jostle up against Chopper Read. Bushwomen and their masculinity find themselves juggled with Dame Nellie Melba and Dykes on Bikes. It is all rather unsettling. It is, of course, meant to be.