Fifty years ago, when homosexuality was illegal, Australians embraced sexual diversity on their TV. Leading characters were given gay story lines and those shows won the ratings. Australian audiences not only embraced gay men, transgender, lesbian and bisexual characters on screen, they loved it!
We’ve already interviewed Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, Michael Kirby, Carlotta, Author Benjamin Law, Actors Keiynan Lonsdale and Courtney Act. With the support of Tribal Apes, CJZ and Screen NSW we produced a 30 minute pilot which won the best short doc at the 2023 LGBTQI Toronto Film Festival I have the audience numbers and fans interested in seeing more queer milestones that happened on Australian TV, so we’re covering even more decades and speaking to multi-generational queers to reveal the UNTOLD story of Australia’s groundbreaking queer TV.
In the 1970s, there were more LGBTQ characters on Aussie TV than the rest of the world combined. Our originals weren’t niche or one-off programs, buried outside prime time, they were TV’s highest rating shows, screening 5 nights a week. To put it in perspective while Americans were making safe family fare like The Brady Bunch and The Waltons, Australian TV was smashing taboos in hit shows like Number 96, The Box and Prisoner.
Even drag was mainstream here before the rest of the world. Several decades before Priscilla hit cinemas, Sydney showgirl Carlotta was already a household name. Carlotta was a transgender actor playing a transgender character on Number 96, a staggering 22 years before this type of authentic casting would be embraced by UK and US producers.
We’ll cover all the era’s of TV before the arrival of the internet and hear from other well known identities to discover how TV influenced their own queer journey & sex education.