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Post-production   /  Abbie Pobjoy

Why Did She Have To Tell The World?

A documentary uncovering Australia’s first televised lesbian couple whose coming out sparked a historical movement


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Abbie Pobjoy

  • PRODUCER Bonny Scott, Executive Producer: Sue Maslin, Diana Fisk



Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps are many things. Researchers. Writers. Ultra-Feminists. Partners. They are also the first lesbian couple to come out on national television almost fifty years ago. Putting everything on the line, Phyllis and Francesca appeared on This Day Tonight’s interview about lesbianism in October 1970. Since that appearance, the couple unpredictably became the face of change, being members of Australia’s first gay political rights group, the Daughters of Bilitis, now known as the Australasian Lesbian Movement. With Phyllis and Francesca’s work spanning over decades, the couple not only open up about their contribution to one of the biggest societal shifts in Australian history, but about love, loss and political change solidified inside a fifty year relationship. Now in the last years of their lives and a new generation emerging, Phyllis and Francesca shine light on their activism, their relationship and the barriers that still affect the queer community today.

Support this project

67.66% funded
  • $30,000.00

  • $20,298.00

  • 117

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Jude Munro $500.00
Anonymous $25.00
Naomi Bennett $50.00
Hayley Adams $100.00
Emily Zee $50.00
Patrick Hogan $50.00
Brenda Padgett $150.00
WeirAnderson Foundation $8,000.00
Maree Holmes-Clark $200.00
Margo van der Voort $150.00
Alice Fairweather $20.00
M'Lis Heaslip $1,000.00
Anonymous $200.00
Caitlin Williams $20.00
Melissa Hardie $100.00
Melissa Mantle $25.00
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Anonymous $50.00
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Emma Wilson $350.00
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Marcus Williams $100.00
Joss O $20.00
Chance Fitzgerald $20.00
Kimberley Price $113.00
Maree Overall $50.00
Anonymous $120.00
Emily CONNORS $50.00
Rohan Shearn $25.00
Janice Heaslip $500.00
Jules Wilkinson $20.00
Daf Hewson $100.00
Nathan Cicigoi $100.00
Gina O'Brien $45.00
Peta Fitzpatrick $10.00
Jana Zvedeniuk $15.00
Nicholas Parkinson $20.00
Deborah Storz $50.00
William Rutkin $50.00
Thomas Anderson $25.00
Ani Priyo $50.00
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Emma Procter $100.00
Wanna Kanawattanakul $50.00
Hui-chang Wang $100.00
Michelle Ryan $10.00
Patty Abalos $30.00
A T $2,000.00
Louise Terry $50.00
Phyllis Papps $1,000.00
Graham Jackson $200.00
Chelsea Kilikidis $20.00
Bella G $15.00
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Anonymous $50.00
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Anonymous $20.00
Emma Scott $100.00
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Di Farrell $10.00
Elena Reid $50.00
Indri Kusuma $20.00
Isabelle Mills $50.00
Austin Lutrov $50.00
Brian Jackson $200.00
Syndi Walton $50.00
Heshi Wijerathna $20.00
Cathy Sullivan $100.00
Anonymous $20.00
Emma Roberts $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Brittany Hennig $10.00
Em Baker $20.00
Melanie Thomas $50.00
Marguerite Eudes $50.00
Maggie McCormack $50.00
josie hess $50.00
Chris Jackson $200.00
Anonymous $50.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

The film represents the female coming out experiences in the early 1970s; one of the biggest statements to make during that era. Coming out remains one of the most exposing experiences for LGBTQI people. LGBTQI young people are five times more likely to attempt suicide compared to the general public, and the majority of first suicide attempts are made prior to coming out to others. According to Commonwealth Law, the marriage equality legislation allows a same-sex couple to be recognised as a de facto relationship if they have a registered relationship under State or Territory law, however only some of the States/Territories have this facility available. With another hurdle to jump over for recognition outside of marriage LGBTQ Australians are twice as likely to have higher levels of psychological distress compared to heterosexual peers. (LGBT National Health Alliance)


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The documentary aims to tell the truth. By sharing the personal stories from two women lost in history, it exposes what really pushed the beginning of Australian gay liberation and the reality of what still needs to be addressed to secure the quality of life for LGBTQI people. This documentary shows that gay activism is far from over and not only represents our trailblazing past, but a more vulnerable lens to the repercussions of ‘coming out,’ and the ongoing journey to find equality.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short-term outcomes
Raise awareness of LGBTQI history
Encourage conversations between generations of the community
Inspire to preserve queer history
Confront unfinished activism

Medium-term outcomes
Strengthen and create support networks for LGBTQI elders
Greater investment into LGBTQI archival and research
Educate people on the coming out experience
Drive positive social change for same-sex couples in hereto-normative society

Long-term outcomes
Improved living standards, quality life and well being for LGBTQI elders community
Rights, empathy and acknowledgement of same-sex couples to equal par of heterosexual couples
Abolishment of legal and finical loopholes for same-sex de-facto couples


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Our outcomes will be achieved by: 

Reaching out to LGBTQI organisations to come on board/donate/support including Minus18, MindOut, PFLAG, Silver Rainbow, Lesbian Inc. and Queer Screen. 

A wider social media campaign to raise awareness and educate others including interviews, trailers, archival materials etc.
Community screenings for those in the queer community that have prevalent voices and connections who can campion our work
Utilising multi-platform activity such as radio and podcasts interviews to raise awareness about the film. This could be achieved through other LGBTQI platforms such as JOYFM.
Pitching to larger screen/broadcast bodies to screen our work


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We are continuing to develop relationships with organisations that help inform the making of our project including continuous support and guidance from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives as well as Melbourne Arts SIGNAL Young Creatives Lab. These organisations offer us a strong foundation in getting our film out there whilst being heavily connected to the LGBTQI community. With this, awareness and interest continues for us to form new partnerships with broadcasting platforms and festivals.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Through the viewing of this documentary we intend:
Viewers to discuss the LGBTIQ experience
Show the film in forums and events that create a further conversation
Viewers to reach out to individuals in the LGBTIQ community to offer support and understanding
Viewers will support queer communities and their organisations

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our measurements for success are:
Premiering on a nationwide broadcasting platform
Entering and thriving in the film festival circuit
A high percentage of audience members joining or support queer companies, communities, work etc.
LGBTQI leaders being supported and heard
Strong bonds and conversations are held between multi-generations of queer people
Better access for elderly LGBTQI people is implemented in mainstream queer spaces
Same-sex relationships are normalised across a number of media platforms/in public domain