On This Gay Day: Remembering Buka

Remembering Buka

On this day in 2014 much-loved local community member Buka passed away aged 79.

Many community members have fond memories of Aunty Buka, and there are many wild stories that people share.

Connections Nightclub added a cocktail on their menu that honoured Buka, noting that anyone who spent time in Perth’s gay scene over the last few decades would have encountered the loveable character who had once been a member of Fiji’s national rugby team.

By the time they made it to Perth the rugby shorts had been swapped for a Hawaiian print muu-muu and was always seen with a hibiscus in their hair.

Following his unexpected death people shared stories about how Buka had given them the confidence to come out, countless tales of him defiantly standing up to homophobia, and many recollections of nights out living life to the full.

In 2004 LGBTI rights activist Fanny Ann Eddy is murdered

Fanny Ann Eddy was an LGBTI rights activist in her homeland of Sierra Leonne and throughout Africa. In 2002 she formed the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, the first LGBTI rights organisation in the war torn African nation. Eddy travelled widely, speaking to groups around the world, and addressed the United Nations.

On September 29th, 2004, she was murdered when a group of at least three men broke into the offices of the association. She is survived by her son, who was 10 years old at the time of her death, and her partner Esther Chikalipa. Fanny Ann Eddy was 30 years old at the time of her death.

In early 2004, Eddy attended the annual session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. She spoke at the event, which included a delegation from her own country, and highlighted the harassment LGBTI+ people were subjected to.

“We face constant harassment and violence from neighbors and others,” she told the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. “Their homophobic attacks go unpunished by authorities, further encouraging their discriminatory and violent treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Her organisation began documenting cases where people were treated unfairly by the authorities. In 2005, a man was arrested in relation to her murder, he later escaped from custody before the case was taken to court.

In 1969 a Melbourne court finds actors in ‘The Boys in the Band’ used obscene language

A Melbourne court found three actors appearing in a production of The Boys in the Band guilty of using obscene language in a public place back in 1969.

The Supreme Court overturned an earlier decision from a lesser court that had described the changes as trivial.

The ground-breaking play about a group of homosexual men gathering for a birthday party has a sprinkling of colourful words, but it was too much for the Victorian Police’s Vice Squad.

At the initial trial magistrate D.J Kelly said the charges “were of such a trifling nature as to not warrant punishment”. He said, “A conviction in this case would leave this city and this State a laughing stock”.

The Crown did not agree and appealed the decision which saw the case move to the Supreme Court.  Justice Little said he did not agree with the ruling that the charges were trivial and ruled the three actors should be convicted.

Producer Harry M. Miller said the case against the play was “a dreadful waste of public money”, before announcing that his next production would be the controversial musical Hair. 

The following year the Australian Film Classification Board banned the film version of Mart Crowley’s play. In was not available to watch until 1972 when it was released with an R rating allowing people over the age of 18 to see the film.

Poet W.H. Auden died on this day in 1973

British poet W.H. Auden died on this day in 1973 aged 66. Auden collaborated with composer Benjamin Britten and author Christopher Isherwood, who he had a long friendship with. The two friends moved to America in 1939, Isherwood eventually settled in California while Auden remained in the New York area. Over the following decades he would continually travel and spend time living in Italy, and Austria.

Over his career he published over 400 poems, some of them were book length. He also wrote many essays discussing literature, politics, religion and history. In the 1990’s he became more widely known when one of his poems Funeral Blues was featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. 

Paul Jabara died on this day in 1992

Musician Paul Jabara died on this day in 1992. Aged just 44 he is one of the many people from the entertainment industry lost to HIV/AIDS.

Jabara recorded several albums of disco music, but his greatest success was writing songs for other artists. He penned Last Dance for Donna Summer and also wrote No More Tears (Enough is Enough) her anthemic duet with Barbra Streisand. He’d go on to write songs for Diana Ross and Bette Midler too.

His tune Somethings Missing (In My Life) was originally recorded as a duet with Donna Summer, but it became a massive hit in Australia in 1979 when it was re-recorded by Marcia Hines. In 1983 he released an album Paul Jabara and Friends which featured one of the very first recordings by Whitney Houston.

Jabara’s greatest success came in 1983 with It’s Raining Men. The song was turned down by Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Diana Ross, but it became a massive hit for The Weather Girls.

My Own Private Idaho was released in 1991

Gus Van Sant’s film My Own Private Idaho was released on this day in 1991, it had its debut screening earlier in September 1991 at the Venice Film Festival.

The film follows two street hustlers as they search for connection and belonging, the story follows them from Seattle to Portland, and then to Italy before returning to the USA. The film is based around Shakespeare’s play Henry IV. 

The film was incredibly controversial upon its release but would be considered very tame by today’s standards. Both Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix were praised for their roles in the film.

OIP Staff

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