Queers of the Desert

What is it all about?

An online project to record and publish the queer history of Alice Springs and surrounding areas.

Why is it being done?

A history of the Top End; Did You Meet Any Malagas?, was published by Dino Hodge in 1993. After 10 years it's about time the Centre's own stories were told.

Who is behind it?

The project is being managed by a small working group of current and former residents. If you have some time and effort to contribute and have been a resident of Central Australia, you are welcome to join in and help.

Will it be a book?

There is currently no intention to publish any of the material as a book. However, it is possible that some time in the future a historian will want to write about the queer history of the Centre. If this happens it is expected that the project will provide them with some very useful resources.

What will happen to the profits?

The project will definitely run at a loss and could benefit from donations. Steps are being taken to pursue some small sources of funds for copying archival material and promotional activities. But, nobody will be making any money out of it.

Can I be paid or have my expenses covered?

There is no plan for the project to have paid staff and there is no money to pay people for their contributions. Individual contributors will need to cover all their own expenses.

Who can participate?

Anyone who has lived in, or even just visited, Central Australia and has a story to tell about some aspect of queer life there.

How do I participate?

By simply writing and sending us the text of your story and any images to go with it. The best way to send your material is by email to qotd@indigoz.com.auStories should be in the form of a Word or similar text file. You can format it if you like. However, it is expected that a uniform format will be developed for all pages. Images should be scanned at 100% and a high resolution (e.g. 200 dpi) and saved to .jpg or .gif format if possible. Contact us in advance and discuss your contribution to clarify any issues and avoid any problems.

What if I don't have internet access?

If you don't have access to the internet or computer facilities we may be able to put you in touch with someone who does. If you can't get internet access, but can use a computer, you could always post your material on disk. Just make sure to print it as well and keep a copy on disk yourself. If you have pictures but can't access a scanner you could post them to us and we will scan them for you and return them. If there is no alternative you could send your story written on paper. However, there may be delays in finding time to type it for you.

Can I be interviewed?

Only as a last resort. If you are interested in having your story included but not able to write it yourself you might be able to record it on tape and post it to us. If this is not possible we might be able to get someone to visit you with a tape recorder. But this is likely to be difficult to organise. And there may be delays in finding time to type it for you.

Who will own my story?

You will. Copyright in all material will be vested in the individual authors. The project will not be exercising ownership over anything except the structure and design of the site itself. We will also be asking you to accept responsibility as publisher for your own material. So, if there are any issues with what you have written it will be up to you to respond to them.

Can my story be published anonymously?

You can have your story published under a pen name if you don't want to be publicly identified. However, the project team will need to know who you really are and how to get in touch with you so they can refer any issues with your story to you.

What kind of material can be included?

If it happened in Central Australia and involved lesbians, gay men or their supporters, we are interested in it. It may be your personal history, recollections of events, news clippings, newsletters, flyers or photos. We would like the project to be as flexible as possible. So, anything is open to consideration, as long as it's queer, Central Australian and history.

What can't I say?

As long as it is relevant to the project, really happened and doesn't put anyone at risk of legal action it is acceptable. On this basis your story must not breach any relevant censorship or privacy laws, or defame any person, or place you or the project at any risk of damages claims. This means you will not be able to name anyone in your story without their written consent. To deal with this limitation it is suggested that you give all characters in your story false names, or refer to them by an initial or some other means that will not permit their identification. We will also be asking you to sign an indemnity form before your story is published that says you are the copyright owner and publisher and accept all responsibility for any action arising from it. This may sound a bit intimidating, but it simply means if we don't take any risks we won't get into any trouble. So, no outing or payback!

What about old newspaper articles and other archives?

We are seeking to access some funds to cover the costs of searching the NT Archives in Alice and Darwin. We are also hoping to undertake a comprehensive search through back issues of the Centralian Advocate in the Alice Springs library. If you have the time and interest to undertake some of this research we'd love to hear from you! If you already have some newspaper clippings or other documents you would like to contribute we would be glad to receive them. However, for newspaper articles and any other copyright material we will need to obtain publication details and may need permission from the owners before we can republish them.

What sort of style should I use?

Because this will be a published history it is largely preferable that it is written in a factual and fairly serious style. In a sense you are giving evidence of the past. While it is certainly expected that there will be funny stories and the need to recount the words of specific individuals, you should be mindful that it is not a creative writing contest or a comedy script. That said, you are encouraged to tell your own story in your own words. There is no need to adopt a false literary personality!

Can I get help with my writing?

If you need assistance with any aspect of your writing we can try and help you or suggest someone who can. There are several people involved in the project who write professionally or teach and may be able to assist.


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