Queer Reading of the Law



Ever get the feeling that the law doesn’t always fulfil its goal of impartiality and equal treatment before the law? Through reading the law queerly, this gathering of students and scholars will take a critical journey into law, theory and practice.

Designed over a three year period to complement and challenge the learning of Juris Doctor students throughout their program, but open to all members of the Melbourne Law School community, this reading group will explore queer, sexuality, desire, feminist and intersectional politics and theories in the law.

Zoom links and details are below. No registration is required.

Participants are expected to read deeply and think creatively in advance of the session the following materials:


Queer Cowboys in Mexico City, Brad Jessup (2017) ©


Year 1 - 2019


Year 2 - 2020


Year 3 - 2021

  • Friday26 March2021
    1:00 - 2:00 pm

    • Kenji Yoshino, ‘Preface’ and ‘An Uncovered Self’ in “Covering the Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights” (Random House, 2006).

      In this covering chapter, Kenji Yoshino outlines his argument that the demand to cover can pose a hidden threat to our civil rights. Though we have come to some consensus against penalizing people for differences based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. Racial minorities are pressed to “act white” by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. Women are told to “play like men” at work. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. The devout are instructed to minimize expressions of faith, and individuals with disabilities are urged to conceal the paraphernalia that permit them to function.

      Zoom link available here. Password: 869561

  • Tuesday20 April2021
    1:00 - 2:00 pm

  • Monday30 August2021
    1:00 - 2:00 pm (by Zoom)

    • Megan Rossman, The Archivettes (Women Make Movies, 2018). (Stream on Kanopy)

      This documentary film (62 mins) is about the Lesbian Herstory Archives and the personal lives of the women involved in it. It tells the story of the process and value of preserving queer histories. As queer students of the law it reminds us and invites us to reflect on how, why and where our stories are told and kept, and how the law over recent decades has silenced our stories, used them instrumentally and then sought our narratives, especially in matters concerning policing of queer lives and the debates over marriage and identities.

      Zoom link available here. Password: 540547