Dennis Altman’s major work, Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation was published in the 1970s, first in the United States (1971) and then in Australia (1972). It was fortuitous timing; along with Germaine Greer, Dennis Altman became the intellectual face of sexual liberation in Australia and abroad. Altman and Greer shared a stage at a crowded and sweaty January 1972 sexual liberation forum at Sydney University. Photographs show the audience spilling onto the stage, with Altman’s raffish features offset by Greer’s languid beauty. Arguably, Greer has gone on to greater celebrity and notoriety, as she has drifted from her academic and activist roots. Altman, as he notes in this book, has continued to combine activism and an academic career. In many ways, this book is an extended reflection on that trajectory, now into a fifth decade.
Robert Reynolds is an Associate Professor in Modern History at Macquarie University. He is the author of From Camp to Queer (2002), What Happened to Gay Life (2007) and co-author with Shirleene Robinson of Gay and Lesbian, Then and Now: Australian stories from a social revolution (2016), published by Black Inc..
From the New Issue
Scatterbrain: How the mind’s mistakes make humans creative, innovative and successful by Henning BeckReviewed by Nick Haslam
Chis: The life and work of Alan Rowland Chisholm (1888–1981) by Stanley John ScottReviewed by Colin Nettelbeck