Compass: Mar 14

Compass returns on Sunday with the first lesbian couple to come out on national television almost 50 years ago.

Compass returns on Sunday in its new ABC TV Plus home with a documentary, “Why Did She Have To Tell The World?”

The film introduces us to Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps – the first lesbian couple to come out on national television almost fifty years ago.

Francesca Curtis and Phyllis Papps are many things. Researchers. Writers. Ultra-Feminists. Partners. When they appeared on ABC TV’s This Day Tonight’s interview about lesbianism in October 1970, their lives were changed forever. Although against their families’ wishes and society norms, the women began their love story publicly whilst up against a widespread national mentality of homophobia. Unpredictably, Phyllis and Francesca became the public face of change, becoming members of Australia’s first gay political rights group, the Daughters of Bilitis, now known as the Australasian Lesbian Movement.

With their story spanning decades and a new LGBTQIA+ generation emerging, the couple uncover their contribution to one of the biggest shifts in Australian history, and also open up about the importance of acceptance in their lives. Refusing to become invisible, Phyllis and Francesca come out for the final time against the backdrop of marriage equality, and a renewed sense of hope for the future.

The film’s writer/director Abbie Pobjoy comments “When I set out to create the film, my main goal was to hold up a mirror to Phyllis and Francesca’s national coming out fifty years ago. To showcase their hardships, triumphs and activism that helped push one of the first major social shifts in Australian history and our hopeful future as a community. Now in the completion of the project, I realised that this story has also held up a mirror to myself, my fellow storytellers and the next generation of LGBTQIA+ young people and where we have to go next to secure our acceptance and livelihoods.”
“We’re delighted to start the new Compass season with this powerful and uplifting story, which has its origins in a slice of ABC history” said Jessica Douglas-Henry, series producer of ABC Compass.

Why Did She Have To Tell The World? is written and directed by Abbie Pobjoy, produced by Bonny Scott, edited by Tayler Martin and executive produced by Sue Maslin and Diana Fisk. Executive Producer for the ABC: Jessica Douglas-Henry.

Produced in association with ABC TV, Film Victoria, Screen Australia, Film Art Media, Documentary Australia Foundation, Signal, City of Melbourne, WeirAnderson Foundation and Pride Foundation Australia.

Sunday March 14 at 8.00pm on ABC TV Plus.

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