Portrait of Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman is Emeritus Professor and Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at LaTrobe University in Melbourne. 

He is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. This book, which has often been compared to Germaine Greer’s Female Eunuch and Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership which continues today. (In 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a 40th anniversary edition, and an anthology based on the book, After Homosexual, was published in 2014.) 

Since then, Altman has written 13 books exploring sexuality, politics and their interrelationships in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as  a novel (The Comfort of Men) and memoirs (Defying Gravity). His book Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Most recently has co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin), Thinking Politically about HIV (Routledge) and How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press). The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013, and in 2016 Polity published Queer Wars (co-authored with Jonathan Symons). 

Altman was President of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (2001-2005), and has been a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and a Board member of Oxfam Australia. In 2005 he was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard, and has been has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, New York University and Chicago UniversityHe was listed by The Bulletin as one of the 100 most influential Australians ever, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia June 2008. In 2013 he was awarded the Simon and Gagnon Award for career contributions to the field of sociology of sexualities by the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities. He is an Ambassador for the Human Rights Law Centre.​