Should Gay Men Still Be Labelled Criminals?
(2013) 38(2) Alternative Law Journal 82
5 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013 Last revised: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 17, 2013
Many men feel discriminated against and bear the burden of the days when it was illegal for them to have consensual gay sex. This is because they still carry a conviction for engaging in homosexual acts. These convictions may be for a number of different offences including indecent assault, sodomy, gross indecency and buggery. Having such a conviction, for an act which has been legal for years or even decades, may have a negative impact on an individual’s mental health, as well as their career choices and even whether they can undertake certain types of volunteer work.This article examines the current legal framework in Australia relating to historical convictions. It explores the important contemporary issues of expungement or non-disclosure of historical convictions, focusing on one particular aspect — namely, the question of whether and when to erase or allow non-disclosure of criminal records in relation to offences that are no longer part of the criminal law. The article then identifies and evaluates particular provisions introduced in other jurisdictions to deal with the same issues, which provide possible models for Australian legislators. It concludes with recommendations for reform across all Australian states and territories.
Keywords: gay, sex, criminal convictions, discrimination, human rights
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation