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Australian Television  
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Openly queer figures such as sportsman Ian Roberts, television medical guru Dr. Kerryn Phelps, and comedian and pundit Julie McCrossin do pop up quite frequently on the screen, respected and liked by the television public gay and straight.

These are the exceptions, a fact made quite clear by the extraordinary, if not always positive impact made by "gay Johnnie," one of the sequestered dozen in Australia's version of the reality television phenomenon Big Brother (2001).

Seen initially by some as a "backstabber," Johnnie was gradually rehabilitated until he was regarded as a role model, not only for gays but also for some of his young male "housemates." Much hugging, kissing, and crying ensued both during and after the incarceration.

It remains to be seen whether Johnnie's impression on average Australians, especially those under 20, will be lasting. What was made obvious, through comments in the gay press and elsewhere, was the absence of a broad band of gays on Australian television. The turning point, Don in Number 96 thirty years before, had failed to turn.

There is hope, however, that the turn will be made. The Secret Life of Us (2001-2004), an award-winning drama revolving around the lives of residents of an apartment block in an urban suburb of Melbourne, did have gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters, including Australia's first non-anglo lesbian in the character of Chloe.

Keith G. Howes

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

American television has made significant strides in its portrayal of homosexuals in dramatic series and movies, but cable networks have been more daring than the "big three" broadcast networks.

arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Overview:  Australian Film

The recent efflorescence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer themes in Australian film must be placed in the context of a film industry that, prior to the 1970s, was characterized by social conservatism and censorship.

social sciences >> Overview:  Australia

Given its history, it is somewhat surprising that Australia now has exceptionally gay-friendly laws and public attitudes, with widespread public tolerance and acceptance of the glbtq community.

arts >> Overview:  British Television

Until recently, British television embraced lesbians and gays as Them rather than Us, but a more diversified and nuanced approach to all kinds of sexuality is likely to be the case in the future.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sydney

With thriving glbtq communities, an accommodating atmosphere, and a mammoth Mardi Gras celebration, Sydney is a center of glbtq culture and a favorite destination for tourists of all genders and sexualities.

arts >> Kowalski, Daniel

Australian Olympic medalist Daniel Kowalski remained closeted during his competitive swimming career but found the courage to come out publicly in 2010.

arts >> Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, or Carnival, as it is often called, is a festival known for wild abandon, sexual promiscuity, feasting, drinking, dancing, parading, and elaborate masquerade.

arts >> Roberts, Ian

At the height of his athletic career, Australian rugby superstar Ian Roberts made the courageous decision to come out as a gay man.


Howes, Keith. "Gays of Our Lives: 30 Years of Gay Australian TV." OutRage (Melbourne) 177 (February 1998): 38-49.


    Citation Information
    Author: Howes, Keith G.  
    Entry Title: Australian Television  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 3, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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