11. Did people lose their jobs?

The Sydney Morning Herald published the names, addresses and occupations of most of the arrestees. But at least four people gave false names to protect their reputations. As far as we can tell, no one got the sack. But several people were told to keep a low profile or pressured to leave. When Susan Fletcher got back to work the other women told her not to use ‘their bathroom’ and shunned her in the tea-room. The men jostled her on the stairs and called her a ‘filthy lezzo’. No one tried to conceal their contempt. Her family turned against her. Feeling isolated, she called her union. Several calls rang out and an official eventually hung up on her. Feeling scared and intimidated, she resigned. When the great day came, her manager harangued her for 40 minutes. Holding her severance cheque in his hand, he told her that she was scum and they were glad to be rid of her.

Robyn Plaister’s boss called her in to explain why her photo was in The Sunday Telegraph.

Is this you Miss Plaister?
© Daily Telegraph Source: from Digby Duncan’s Scrapbook, Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

And when Kate Rowe applied for time off to attend her six court hearings, her workmates abused her and sent porn. Some families were embarrassed and rejected their ‘loved ones’. One man stayed overseas for many years because of the stigma. Furthermore, the police tapped the organizers’ phones, turned up at their workplaces and intimidated them at subsequent rallies. Graham Chuck still believes that Optometry NSW blacklisted him, but he eventually got a job in Melbourne.

Authors: Gavin Harris and John Witte.

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