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New play explores history of gay hate crimes in Australia

There have been almost 2,500 same-sex marriages registered in Australia since the postal vote, but a new play remembers the country’s history of anti-gay violence.

The play, Lost Boys, explores the series of unsolved murders of gay men in Sydney in the 1980s. Around 80 men were murdered and it has been estimated that up to 1000 more experienced various forms of hate crimes.

Award-winning writer Lachlan Philpott told the ABC he wanted to focus on this violence to “begin a conversation about the cycle of violence and homophobia.”

The 2017 gay marriage plebiscite stirred a resurgence of hate crimes against same-sex couples, and Philpott said that this was an under-reported topic.

Although the play is a fiction it is based on real-life cases, including that of Wollongong newsreader Ross Warren, whose death was believed to have been caused by a gang.

Actor Ben Pfeifer believes that Lost Boys will provide a deeper understanding of the history of violence Australia has had toward the LGBTQI community. He told the Illawarra Mercury that this is an aspect of Australian history that is often overlooked.

The first act of the play, that premieres at Merrigong Theatre in Wollongong, is set in Bondi in the 90s, focusing on the violent gangs that targeted gay men. The second act takes place just before the same-sex marriage vote that happened last year.

Philpott wants the play to encourage people to talk about the discrimination that the LGBTQI community still faces, despite the vote to legalise same-sex marriage.

Lost Boys, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, May 23- June 2 2018. Picture: Syliva Liber


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