The year in review: What went down in August

Our journey through the big news stories of the year has reached August, where it was all about politics and leadership battles, while closer to home the University of Western Australia welcomed an anti-trans speaker onto campus – but then cancelled the event at the last minute.


Lyle Shelton from the Australian Conservatives went off about the Swedish Army was ramming a rainbow agenda down people’s throats after they launched their Pride campaign, he later conceded that he hadn’t really looked at the advertisements and thought it was the Australian Army. The Party also announced that anti-transgender campaigner Kirralie Smith would be one of their senate candidates in New South Wales. Peter Dutton told Australian businesses to stop talking about social issues. Senator James Paterson said Australians should accept a very broad definition of religious freedom. Eric Abetz said supporters of marriage equality were more intolerant than people opposed to it.  Senator Fraser Anning delivered an inaugural speech that was labeled racist and homophobic. The WA government said it would end forced divorce for transgender people. The WA government announced it would introduce legislation allowing gay men to access surrogacy. The Australian Christian Lobby voiced their opposition.  WA Shadow Attorney General Michael Mischin questioned why lesbians had been included in the apology for historical homosexual convictions. Malcolm Turnbull was challenged by Peter Dutton for the Liberal leadership and survived the first challenge. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells quit the front bench stating her displeasure about the outcome of the marriage postal survey. Tim Wilson said he disagreed with her. Multiple ministers resigned as PM Malcolm Turnbull lost support of his colleagues. Scott Morrison emerged as our new Prime Minister, saying he was on everybody’s side, LGBTI people were not so sure. Julie Bishop quit as Foreign Minister. As Malcolm Turnbull quit the parliament there was speculation Christine Forster would run for his seat of Wentworth. WA MP Andrew Hastie asked Scott Morrison to release the Ruddock Review’s report on religious freedom. Labor’s Louise Pratt was made Shadow Minister for Equality.

In the news

Safe Schools got a new name in Western Australia, opposition leader Mike Nahan said if he was in charge he’d cut its funding.  A survey found that young bisexual men were the least likely to come out. A Japanese MP said being gay was like having a hobby. Denmark’s Science Minister came out as bisexual. Sydney transgender woman Evie Amanti was found guilty of attempted murder.  A survey found that gay conversion therapy was the issue LGBTIQ+ Australians were most concerned about. The Australian Defence Force said there was no truth to reports they were planning on banning gender pronouns. An American man threatened to blow up a lesbian’s house when she shunned his sexual advances. Dr Quentin van Meter who argues against affirming transgender people was scheduled to speak at UWA, the University said they did not support his views but championed free speech, a position that was criticised, Dr Van Meter said they’d done the right thing, UWA then cancelled the appearance, which upset Peter Abetz. UWA was also named most inclusive university later in the month. Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan died. Malaysian police raided an LGBTI club to “stop the spread of homosexuality”. Author Patrick Byrne said being transgender was like not liking your haircut. Eight Perth teenagers appeared in court over their gang that lured gay men on Grindr. A longitudinal study found kids raised by same-sex couples are fine. Denmark said it would allow gay men to donate blood. The WA LAw Reform Commision proposed changes to the gender recognition process. There was concern about Chelsea Manning coming to Australia,


Todd McKenny created a storm of controversy when he outed entertainer Simon Gallagher on Melbourne’s JOYFM. Gallagher who was in a relationship with McKenny many years ago has been married to McKenney’s sister for many years. Madonna turned sixty. Aretha Franklin died. Janet Jackson returned. Cricketer Ben Stokes was found not guilty of affray. King Cobra star Garrett Clayton came out.


Tom Ballard‘s TV show Tonightly was cleared by the broadcasting watchdog for its use of profanity, a few days later the ABC announced the show would be axed. Choreographer Lindsay Kemp and playwright Neil Simon died. Axe Girl put out new music. We chatted to Il Divo. Gillian Anderson got into fashion. We caught up with Troye Sivan.

Read about what happened in July.