Responding to homophobia: HIV/AIDS, homosexual community formation and identity in Queensland, 1983-1990

Publication Date



During the 1980s, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic threatened to become the largest public health crisis of the twentieth century, Queensland was governed by the right-wing Premier ‘Joh’ Bjelke-Petersen. This article explores the homosexual response to HIV/AIDS and associated homophobia in that state by considering the terrain the community-based Queensland AIDS Council traversed from 1983 onwards as the state's major gay and lesbian organisation. It argues that, as a result of the unique Queensland political situation, this organisation was forced to assume responsibility for managing a major epidemic. The article focuses on the Council's response to external and internal divisions, challenges it encountered developing structures of authority; and most importantly, the way it managed the crisis by effectively disseminating educational material to a vulnerable population through community media and information campaigns.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access