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Robert Reynolds

Robert Reynolds

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..

Robert Reynolds reviews ‘Positive’ by David Menadue

November 2003, no. 256 01 November 2003
In the Australian world of HIV/AIDS, David Menadue is something of a legend. He tested positive to HIV in 1984, and first became ill with AIDS in 1989. This makes Menadue one of the longest-term survivors of an AIDS-defining illness in Victoria. As his doctors note, and as he reaffirms, not without a hint of justifiable pride, ‘this is a remarkable record … my survival is exceptional’. Equal ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'Sunshine and Rainbows: The development of gay and lesbian culture in Australia' by Clive Moore

April 2001, no. 229 01 April 2001
Living the queer life in the inner-city suburbs of Sydney, it is hard not to become complacent, smug even. Like a magnet, Sydney draws lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, you name it, from all over the country. If you’ve grown up in rural Victoria, moved to Melbourne after compulsory schooling, and then fifteen years later have hit a certain mid-gay-life ennui, where else is there to go? Once in ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'Global Sex' by Dennis Altman

August 2001, no. 233 19 September 2019
If there was any doubt about the need for intelligent writing on sex, international relations, and that current political catch-phrase – globalisation – look no further than last month’s United Nations General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS. Convened by the Secretary-General, the session ground to a halt as Syria, Egypt, and Malaysia objected to the observer status of the San Francisco ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'Tell Me I’m Okay: A Doctor’s Story' by David Bradford

August 2018, no. 403 26 June 2018
Midway through this account of his life as a gay doctor who specialised in sexually transmitted infections, David Bradford diagnoses his first case of AIDS. It is February 1985 and Bradford is the director of the Melbourne Communicable Diseases Centre (MCDC) and the chief venereologist of Victoria. His patient James is a working class Maltese-Australian man in his late twenties whom Bradford had m ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'How to Survive a Plague: The story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS' by David France

January–February 2018, no. 398 08 December 2017
It has been an interesting month to read David France’s magisterial history of the AIDS crisis in the United States. As I sat down to the write this review, The Guardian reported that a Georgia state politician, Betty Price, had raised the possibility of isolating HIV positive individuals. ‘I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,’ Price mused to a legislative c ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'Getting Away with Murder' by Duncan McNab

March 2017, no. 389 28 February 2017
The rash of unsolved murders of gay men along the Sydney coastline during the 1980s and early 1990s has been in the news again. In 2013, Australian Story ran a feature on the quest of American Steve Johnson to have the coronial ruling of suicide overturned for his younger brother Scott, who died at North Head in 1988. Lateline followed up with a controversial interview with Detective Chief Inspect ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'Gay Sydney: A history' by Garry Wotherspoon

May 2016, no. 381 26 April 2016
Historian Garry Wotherspoon's history of gay Sydney was first published in 1991 as City of the Plain. Over the years it became a classic text, perhaps the classic text, of Australian gay male history. I have a well-worn copy myself with copious notes in the margins and dog-eared pages. A quarter of a century later, Wotherspoon has revisited the original text and changed its title, lightly rewritte ... (read more)

Robert Reynolds reviews 'The End of the Homosexual?' by Dennis Altman

September 2013, no. 354 22 August 2013
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 Sy ... (read more)