It was Melbourne in the 1970s and women's liberation and gay liberation was on the rise.

Among those calling for change were North Melbourne housemates and self-described ‘radical lesbian activists’ Jane McConachie, Sue Jackson, Jenny Pausacker and Chris Sitka.

While out walking one day, they stumbled on the words ‘Lesbians are lovely’, graffitied on the side of house near Rae Street, in Fitzroy.

Standing in front of it, all holding hands, a picture was taken that has now become an icon for lesbian activism.

Lesbians are lovely

The slogan ‘Lesbians are lovely’ became one of the calling cards used in protests across the country, with gay rights activists in Sydney marching through Hyde Park with the words sprawled across their banners.

While the slogan may seem whimsical by today’s standards, in the 1970s the word ‘lesbian’ was almost obscene, and for it to be graffitied on a private home was seen as scandalous.

And as we come together to celebrate International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination, let’s think of this photo and agree, ‘Lesbians are lovely’.

If you’d like to find out more about Victoria’s rich LGBTQIA+ past, read our report.

Page last updated: 14/05/21