Oxford Street, 1978 – Al-Antony Moody

In the beginning there was rainbow-light

Stars melted into tears and fell from the night sky

It was 1978 and the world was turning again

Somebody yelled into the club, “Out of the bars and into the street!”

“No more police harassment!” “It’s time to pound our feet!”

 

Over 500 protestors ran into the dry veins of Oxford Street

They offered up their souls to bleed

They begged to dream, they begged to believe

United together we dared to be seen

 

It was on Saturday when the crowd did swell

It grew, and grew to over 2,000 revelers that cried out for change and help

We were persecuted and discriminated against because of who we loved

Same sex relationships were illegal and it had to change now

…But the cat always purrs before it meows

 

I was holding a protest sign that dripped, bobbing up and down on Oxford Street

The romanticized imaginings that one day we would all be free

Not condemned by laws and forced into false being

I was walking next to a sign that read, ‘Gay Solidarity Group International – Gay Solidarity’

They had organized the march in commemoration of the ‘Stonewall Riots’

They had permission that was later taken away and denied

The police came swiftly to conquer and divide

 

53 souls were cut down from the arm of Oxford Street

I was thrown like rubbish for standing up for what I believed

Hauled away by police and arrested and fined

Just because we were born this way, re-divined

 

‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ newspaper outed the protestors and mocked us all

Publishing our names for all to see, as if we had committed the worst crime in the world

Crucifying us to our friends, families and jobs

In which most of us lost

As homosexuality was a crime in 1978

It was legal for employers to fire us for being gay

 

Although the charges were dismissed

It was a brutal rough societal kiss

That has left a lasting taste upon my closed unchaste lips

And upon many of the lips that were there that year

Complete equality even in 2013 has still not come to be

 

How long do we have to wait?

Miss Havisham in ‘Great Expectations’ bound to our fate

Hidden in a ruined old mansion, beguiled in a ripped up, burnt wedding dress

Tattered with age, waiting for love, end or fate?

One day Miss Havisham will have a slice of wedding cake

No more pain, just a beautiful serenade

 

Time is filled with hope, promise and a dream

The first Mardi Gras Parade occurred back in 1979 can you believe?

It sparked a revolution in equality campaigns and change

Oxford Street is where it began