On 21 January 2018 the Never a Crime exhibition, proudly supported by Midsumma Festival, was opened by Rowena Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, at the Abbotsford Convent Gallery. I felt extremely proud to be part of this project, and incredibly grateful to everyone who made it happen, especially the participants.
When we first launched this project we hoped the men who had been historically convicted for homosexual activity, that would not be a criminal offence today, would participate in the workshops and work towards having their crimes expunged. That didn’t happen. Instead the participants featured in the exhibition came forward. They wanted to express their gratitude to these men, and remind them that because of the courage they showed in being their authentic selves, the generations that followed can now live with greater freedom and equality.
The Never a Crime project hopes that as word spreads, the men unjustly charged will know they are supported and loved and that they never deserved to be charged and shamed. Never a Crime is about raising awareness about the Expungement Scheme but most importantly it is about reversing the shame and replacing it with pride.