WA Museum’s glory hole acquisition criticised

The Western Australian Museum has been criticised for accepting a graffiti door from a public toilet, which includes a glory hole, into its collection.

The door was donated to the museum by local activist group The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The door was originally located in public toilets near the Gosnells train station. When the building was demolished in 1997 it was ‘rescued’ by Neil Buckley, who is also known as Mother Greta when in habit.

“While I know this is not a part of gay men’s culture that is not talked about, but before social media apps it was one of the ways gay men socialised and meet other men.” Buckley told the museum when he first approached them about accepting the object into the state’s record of history.

In an interview with Perth Now, Buckley said the door represented what life was like for gay men in Western Australia prior to decriminalisation.

“It’s really an important part of social history and this is how we used to have sex at a time when it (homosexuality) was illegal,” Buckley said.

“Because it was illegal we had to go to a beat that was off the main drag and that was the only place many men could meet other gay men because it was still illegal in clubs.”

The hole in the door would allow men to have anonymous sexual encounters, removing the risk of potential blackmail or outing.

The acquisition was highlighted in local community newspaper The Perth Voiceand there was a quick backlash against the acquisition with many people questioning whether it was appropriate.

Shadow Arts and Culture Minister Tony Krsticevic has described the acquisition as “tacky” saying the door highlights the illegal act of public sex. Krsticevic said he hoped the object would not be put on display in the new museum that is currently being built.

“While it is appropriate for the WA Museum to chronicle the rich and proud LGBTI community as a significant element in the State’s history, such an object is too tacky for display at what will be such a great new venue,” Krsticevic said.

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman has commented on the acquisition saying it is the museum’s role to capture and preserve objects that show out history.

OIP Staff

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