Pride Month Tribute #14.06

Peter De Waal

 

Happy Pride Month Lovers!

‘Tis the season to bellow Believe, True Colours, Faith (just a normal day at Imperial really) and buy that rainbow glitter iPhone case you’ve always wanted/needed… But seriously, with the progression of equality around the world in recent times and this month we celebrate 40 years of PRIDE, it’s a time to take a moment and reflect on the lives of inspiring individuals within our amazing community.

There are so many past generations of LGBTQIA+ activists, for without whom, we wouldn’t have the rights we have today. One particular trailblazer who we thought worth giving a special mention to at this iconic time on the rainbow calendar, is none other than Peter de Waal.

Throughout the years Peter and his late partner Peter Bonsall-Boone (known as Bon) built up quite the resume in the world of LGBTQI activism. The two fell in love in 1966, back when homosexuality was illegal and could result in jail time. Together they fought relentlessly to have homosexuality removed from the Crimes Act as well as off the manual of mental illness. They shared the first ever same-sex kiss on Australian National Television, they set up the first ever LGBTIQI telephone counselling service in Australia from their living room, the two also marched in the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in 1978 – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! In 2017, they were welcomed back to the parade as the esteemed guests of honour, having been spearheads of the Marriage Equality Campaign.

A collage of photos featuring two elderly men holding a marriage equality sign
Their love story is one that tugs on the heartstrings. After going on their first date in 1966, Peter and Bon were together for 50 years – that kind of love isn’t easy to find these days. In 2015, Bon was diagnosed with cancer, but that never hindered their passion and drive to campaign for equality. With his illness worsening, the two exchanges rings in 2017, with the hopes they could one day soon marry. But they never got the chance – sadly, Bon passed away later that year, only a few months before Marriage Equality was finally passed in Parliament. Peter and Bon were both honoured at the 2018 Australian LGBTI Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award, where Peter said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

The Imperial is incredibly honoured to have Peter joining us at our Telling Tales* Live event on Friday 22nd June, alongside activists Teddy Cook, Steph Sands and Teresa Savage.

This month is all about celebrating pride, and we couldn’t be prouder to have inspirational legends like these leading our community into a more loving and accepting future. So here’s to all trailblazing activists, both past and present, that have relentlessly fought for equality; fought for love.

 

*Telling Tales is a book celebrating 40 Mardi Gras stories from within the LGBTQI community, featuring photographs by Richard Hedger who curated the publication. An exclusive live Q&A is a not-to-be-missed occasion, with a special performance by Brendan De La Hay. Tickets to this event are still available > BUY TICKETS