Issue Details: First known date: 2013 2013
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'In 1959, a young Sydney lesbian, Sandra Willson, shot and killed a taxi driver as a form of protest against social attitudes toward lesbianism. She spent 18 years in prisons and psychiatric hospitals before her release in 1977. Taking Sandra Willson as a case study, this article will explore the ways in which social disapproval of lesbianism was expressed in 1950s Sydney and the impact this had on women's lives, relationships and identities. By the time of Willson's release in the late 1970s, Sydney represented a very different place in which to articulate a lesbian identity; a place in which same-sex desire was beginning to be acknowledged in the press and in cultural media, and where feminist and gay activists were challenging long-standing negative attitudes toward homosexuality. Sandra Willson's experience offers an opportunity to trace shifting notions of lesbianism between the 1950s and the 1970s in Sydney and to consider how these broader patterns of cultural change might have impacted on individual women.' (Author's abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y History Australia vol. 10 no. 1 April 2013 Z1937822 2013 periodical issue 2013 pg. 99-124
Last amended 7 May 2013 12:14:22
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