Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Gay Apology Too Late for Distraught Ipswich Mother

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Gay Apology Too Late for Distraught Ipswich Mother

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Hartley

IPSWICH men who were wrongly charged and jailed for being gay yesterday received an apology from the State Government.

The historic event took place at State Parliament yesterday afternoon.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk delivered an apology on behalf of the House as her government introduced legislation to enable gay convictions to be expunged.

"Those convictions may have happened decades ago, but they continue to impact on the lives of many today," she said.

"I feel it's vitally important that as a Parliament, we recognise the hurt, humiliation and anguish those charges caused.

"We know that, like all forms of institutionalised prejudice, it's not something that reflects modern Queensland values."

For some homosexual Queenslanders and their families, the apology has come too late.

A newspaper published in the 1950s detailed how one Ipswich mother collapsed and became hysterical when her son was sentenced to jail for sleeping with another man. She died before hearing yesterday's apology.

The distraught woman had to be carried out of court by police after watching her 22-year-old son being sentenced in May, 1954, for "committing an offence with a male person".

Her son John*, a former RAAF member, pleaded guilty to sleeping with a 19-year-old Ipswich man in Brisbane Botanical Gardens in December of 1953.

In 1954, the 19-year-old was placed on a bond after he "admitted that two youths committed disgusting offences on him" in court.

Mr Justice Stanley justified the teen's lack of jail time by his "youth, his broken home, his previous good character and the fact that he was drunk".

One of the jailed men was a 25-year-old Ipswich clerk and the other was Ipswich former RAAF pilot John, who was jailed for a year.

According to the Brisbane Telegraph, the 25-year-old slept with the 19-year-old in November, then with John later that year in December.

For that, he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, only serving 12 months providing he didn't "offend" within the next four years. …

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