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 our hope was that men who had been historically convicted for homosexual activity that would not be a criminal offence today, would take up the opportunity to participate in the workshops and work towards having their crimes expunged. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen. Instead we had men wanting to offer their words of support and gratitude to those men living with these unjust charges. The participants featured in the exhibition wanted to thank these courageous men, and remind them that because of the courage they showed in being their authentic selves, the generations that follow 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.