Southern Cross University: Homosexual rights book earns national prize

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Southern Cross University senior lecturer and Director of the Centre for Law, Politics and Culture Dr Baden Offord has been awarded the annual George Duncan Memorial Award for his book Homosexual Rights as Human Rights.

The book (published in 2003), on homosexual rights as human rights in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia, was described as "groundbreaking" and "an important contribution to the struggle for equal rights worldwide" by the George Duncan Memorial committee.

The national George Duncan Memorial Award commemorates the murder, with no subsequent conviction for the crime, of law lecturer Dr George Duncan near the University of Adelaide in 1972. South Australia later became the first state to decriminalise homosexual acts in 1975.

Dr Offord said receiving the award was an honour. He said he was 14 when Dr Duncan was murdered and remembered the news at that time. " Australia has come some was way in the past 30 years, but it would be incorrect to think that enough has been accomplished to end overt and covert discrimination in our society and families," he said.

" Sexuality, that dimension of being human which makes us most vulnerable, is still caught up in social and cultural apartheids."
In the foreword to Homosexual Rights as Human Rights, the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby compared the work to the pioneering studies of Alfred Kinsey and said Dr Offord pushed the boundaries of understanding, knowledge and acceptance.

The award, in its second year, is presented for an outstanding piece of work contributing to legal reform and the betterment of the Australian lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, transgender or intersex community.