The Western Australia Museum’s new glory hole
The piece in question is an old wooden stall door saved from a train station toilet near Perth. There is a hole cut into it which men would use for anonymous sex.
The boss of the Western Australia Museum says its recent acquisition of a Gosnells “glory hole” was not meant to be controversial and was reflective of the institution’s duty to represent the whole community.
The donated piece is a train station toilet door with a hole cut into it that was used by gay men in the Perth beat scene for covert sex at a time when homosexuality in Western Australia was illegal.
WAM chief executive Alec Coles said it was an appropriate piece to acquire because public museums needed to represent every aspect of society.
“Clearly the LGBTQI community is a very important part of Perth’s society,” he said.
“We often talk about museums as safe places for unsafe ideas.
“The places you can explore topics that are maybe controversial, sometimes contentious, sometimes even confrontational, but the kind of places they can be explored in a responsible and measured way and hopefully without rancour.”
Mr Coles said the door had been accepted into the Museum’s collection but it would be up to curators to decide how and when it would be exhibited.
The door was donated by Perth man Neil Buckley who saved it from destruction when the building it was in was set for redevelopment in 1998.
“It’s really an important part of social history and this is how we used to have sex at a time when it (homosexuality) was illegal,” he said.
“Because it was illegal we had to go to a beat that was off the main drag and that was the only place many men could meet other gay men because it was still illegal in clubs.”
Private sexual acts between same-sex individuals was decriminalised in Western Australia in 1990 and it was not until this year laws were passed which allowed people to apply to expunge historic homosexual convictions.