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Panel: Radical Sex & The Party Scene

25 March 2023
2.00pm – 3.00pm AEDT
UNSW Galleries Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington NSW 2021
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During a defining period of social and sexual freedom in Australia, Sydney’s emerging queer party scene offered a new space to express diverse sexual identities and practices.

This panel brings together gay activist and cultural icon Barry Charles (aka Troughman), cross-disciplinary author and performance artist Fiona Kelly McGregor, co-founder of Wicked Women magazine Lisa Salmon, and Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney Kane Race. From radical lesbian sexuality and visibility, to ‘beat’ culture, BDSM, fetish, and leather subcultures, the panellists consider the role of nightlife and party culture in Sydney’s sexual and cultural liberation.

Barry Charles is a gay activist also known as the cultural icon ‘Troughman’. Troughman was known for laying down in urinals or ‘troughs’ at various Sydney gay parties from the late 70s to the early 2000s. Charles was also a founding member of UNSW Gay Liberation movement, a participant in the June 1978 street march from which grew the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and Co-Convenor of Gay Rights Lobby 1981–1984.

Fiona Kelly McGregor is a cross-disciplinary author, artist, and critic who has written a range of novels, essays, articles and reviews. McGregor is also known for an extensive repertoire of performance art. Beginning with collaborations at queer dance parties and cultural events in the 1990s, she moved to a solo practice in 2007.

Lisa Salmon is one of the co-founders with Jasper Laybutt of Wicked Women, an unashamedly sex/kink positive magazine for lesbians. The magazine provides a unique snapshot of lesbian subculture in Sydney throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Through its various fundraising activities such as the Ms Wicked competition, social events, sauna nights and radical sex anthologies, Wicked Women was more than a magazine and was central to influencing a lesbian porn aesthetic in Australia.

Moderator: Kane Race is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. He is internationally recognised for the original contributions he has made to the fields of HIV social research, critical drug studies, and studies of digital sex. His conceptualisation of ‘counterpublic health’ has influenced a generation of critical health and sexuality scholars committed to articulating the political dynamics, stakes and cultural processes entailed in attending to the health and wellbeing of minoritised groups.

Presented in conjunction with THE PARTY, a landmark exhibition celebrating LGBTQI+ party culture in Sydney from 1973 to 2002. Exhibition continues at UNSW Galleries until 23 April 2023.