Acts of male homosexuality were still a criminal offence in Tasmania until 1997. Founded in 1988, the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group
(TGLRG) put persistent pressure on the government. Led by spokesperson Rodney Croome
, their rally cry "We're here, we're queer, and we're not going to the mainland" certainly shook up conservative Tasmania; thousands signed the petition to urge the reform of the law. Backlash across Tasmania included the infamous anti-gay rally in Ulverstone on the northwest coast in 1988. The Federal Government and the UN Human Rights Committee also pressed for change, and Tasmania's anti-gay upper house finally cracked, changing the law on May 1, 1997.
The TGLRG office is at 82 Hampden Rd, Battery Point (tel 03/6224 3556), and there's a Gay and Lesbian Community Centre (GLC) in North Hobart (PO Box 152, North Hobart, TAS 7002; tel 0419 565 452). GLC publish a monthly newsletter, CentreLines ($1), which is sold from the TGLRG stall at Salamanca Market and details events and occasional dance parties round town. The only gay and lesbian club is tame but enjoyable: La Cage , 73 Collins St (Thurs-Sat from 11pm; tel 03/6231 5882). T-42 ° and Syrup are popular alternatives. The Gay Information Line (tel 03/6234 8179) is a five-minute recorded message that provides pointers for gay and lesbian visitors, details of events and meeting places and numbers for further information; there's also a specifically Lesbian Line (Thurs 6-10pm; tel 03/6231 4228).