‘Shame and betrayal’: giving light to rural NSW’s dark LGBTQ+ chapter

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04/03/2022

When the Sydney-based designer Josie Young undertook an online search for the queer history of her rural hometown, she stumbled onto the team researching a podcast about the world’s only gay prison, situated at the heart of Cooma in the New South Wales Snowy Monaro region. “I sent them a quick note to say I was keen to hear more and stay updated with their findings,” she told Guardian Australia. Young recalls the experience of growing up queer in rural NSW as “confusing”. “I was a teenage girl in a small town desperate to be straight and that meant I landed in some pretty vulnerable situations,” she says. “I didn’t understand my sexuality, I kissed girls and boys at parties but actually liking all genders wasn’t really something I understood could be a thing.”

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