What was happening in December? Here’s our Hakihea page – everything neatly collated in one handy place!
Police and Pride Parades
National Rainbow Conference to go annual
Women’s, Rainbow Human rights commissioner
Takatāpui nurturing diversity in refuges
Auckland Pride deadlines
ILGA World Conference 2019
A majority of the Auckland Pride members supported the board at a Special General Meeting on Thursday 6, by 325 to 273 who had no confidence in the board. Deep divisions in Auckland’s Rainbow population were exposed following the board’s decision in early November to allow Rainbow police to march in the parade, but not in uniform. I write this as someone who spoke in support of the board’s decision at the SGM.
The SGM was the biggest political gathering of Rainbow people for years – 375 filled the Pitt St Methodist Church and another 223 provided proxy votes.
The friendly community vibe lasted during a long wait while everyone queued to receive their voting slips, so the meeting started an hour late.
The meeting was firmly chaired by lawyer Mark von Dadelszen, who enabled alternating speakers in favour and opposed to the board and allowed none of the interjections which had marred discussion at an earlier community hui about the topic in November.
Speakers opposed to the board argued that the board had been hijacked by People Opposed to Prisons (PAPA) ‘extremists’, that the board’s consultation had been inadequate for such an important decision, that the loss of sponsorship and corporate parade entries had diminished the mana of Pride, and that the board did not represent the community.
Speakers supporting the board decision argued that marginalised Rainbow people had consistently said they had problems with police participation in the parade at feedback hui, that police discrimination against Māori persisted from colonial times, and that the board decision was a compromise between two very different viewpoints.
While the vote left the board in control, it showed that a significant sector of the community had no confidence in the board, and these divisions will take a long time to heal.
New board members will have to be elected and the board has announced another hui to discuss the future on Tuesday 18, although no details are available.
The hui on Sunday 18 to discuss the board’s decision was strongly divided between a majority opposed and a large minority undecided or supporting the board’s decision. It was marked by an aggressive confrontation, frequent yelled interruptions and abuse from people with a range of opinions. Two groups of people opposed to the board’s decision walked out at different times.
Speakers from People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA), spoke about the figures indicating police institutional discrimination against Māori; for example, that Police are eight times more likely to use force against Māori than against Pākehā. Unlike some people who spoke, they considered this to result from organisational policy rather than a few bad apples.
Their position was supported by preliminary results from the Honour Project, which surveyed takatāpui around the country. They found that “high numbers” of takatāpui experience “high levels of discrimination about abuse enacted by a number of government departments, including the police”.
Some lesbians who supported police marching in uniform spoke about their empathy for Rainbow Police officers, who they said had been kicked in the teeth by this decision. They wanted to include the police in the parade as a more fruitful way of working with them.
Some have argued that the health and education systems also produce discriminatory results, and that to pick on the police is a “witch hunt”. At the meeting and in public debate, there was no clear demarcation about the issue – lesbians, transpeople and Māori have spoken for and against police uniforms in the parade.
Two board members, lesbian Verity George and treasurer Matty Jackson, resigned after the November meeting. The backlash has included withdrawals of sponsorship from NZME, the company owning the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB; the Rainbow NZ Charitable Trust, and the Ponsonby Business Association. Organisations that have withdrawn their involvement in the parade include three banks – ANZ, BNZ and Westpac – Vodafone and the NZ Defence Force.
Wellington and overseas
The issues of discrimination by the police has also been raised in Wellington. The Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP), which runs the parade independently of the Pride festival, responded to the Auckland board’s decision with an immediate statement that anyone who wanted to march would be welcome in their parade.
This was countered by a letter by 46 Rainbow people arguing that there had been no consultation about that statement and that they strongly disagreed. They pointed out that Pride parades in Minneapolis, Madison, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and other centres have welcomed police but excluded their uniforms. They asked for a community hui about the issue. I have not heard back from WIPP about their response.
See two viewpoints on this issue on our Opinion page. Jenny Rankine
Organisers and queer female presenters were very positive about the first national rainbow conference for government agencies in Auckland last month, which is planned to become an annual event.
Tabby Besley, National Co-ordinator of Wellington-based Rainbow youth support service InsideOUT, said the conference was “really positive – there was a lot of willingness to do better by the Rainbow community. A lot of participants contacted us afterwards for more training and advice. I hope it will be an annual thing.”
Victoria Trow, Support Manager at Auckland-based Rainbow Youth, found the event “really encouraging – definitely the start of a long journey with these organisations. There was a sense of goodwill, they were all thinking about how to serve and include Rainbow people.” Rainbow Youth has since been contacted by the police “for upskilling”; it was “exciting to make those fruitful connections”, Victoria says.
Conference co-organiser Theresa Peters, Regional Manager Diversity for the Department of Corrections, said the conference was “definitely the start of something transformational”. Speakers discussed their concerns and agency responses to Rainbow people, including discrimination, problems accessing services, alcohol and drug issues, HIV and domestic violence. Gender markers on forms was an issue facing many government agencies.
Co-organiser Inspector Tracy Phillips said the event attracted “around 150 participants each day” from a range of government agencies. Tracy co-ordinates the volunteer Police Diversity Liaison Officer network, which liaises with Rainbow communities, on top of her day job as Senior Professional Conduct Manager for the upper North Island.
More than 40 police officers attended including one police district commander, and 44 staff from Corrections, including senior advisors and executive leaders. They heard presentations from a wide range of Rainbow speakers. “Not to be affected and inspired meant you had no heart at all,” Tracy says.
Participants also heard about organisational training offered by InsideOUT, Rainbow Youth and Positive Women’s speakers’ group. Says Theresa: “There was a lot of constructive, useful conversations; it was whole new territory for some people.”
Panellists gave “simple, practical steps” including about how to set up Rainbow networks, who to use as advisors about Rainbow issues, countering anti-gay jokes, how to ask question about gender respectfully. Tracy says: “we shared good practice; some staff were very much challenged.”
The Police DLO network launched their new leaflet about preventing family violence in Rainbow relationships at the conference. It had taken a year to produce, in consultation with Wellington-based Sandra Dickson, co-ordinator of the Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura/Outing Violence project.
Tracy has since been invited to speak to the three Tāmaki Makaurau Police District Commanders on Tuesday 4 about ideas arising from the conference, and co-ordinating diversity across Auckland.
Rural Canterbury police are setting up a Rainbow advisory network, and in Dunedin staff are setting up an internal Rainbow network. In six months, Tracy will follow up all the police officers who attended and see what’s changed. “Police are looking at funding one national office job to lead diversity and inclusion,” she says.
“At the end of the second day, participants were asked to commit to doing at least one thing differently at work to improve Rainbow inclusion and safety, and identify the person who would hold them accountable,” Theresa said, and they were handed to the responsible person from that agency to follow up, which for Corrections is her. She is pictured, right, with MP Luisa Wall and Tairawhiti Police DLO Whiti Timutimu.
Theresa’s position is the only paid diversity role related directly to Rainbow people in the organisation; she holds the portfolios for Rainbow diversity, youth and women. She does wellness checks with trans prisoners in the northern region, asking “how they’re being treated, and supporting them with re-integration into the community”. She also chairs the Corrections Rainbow Network of about 100 staff, and runs internal diversity training across the country.
The decision by the Auckland Pride board not to allow Rainbow police staff to march in uniform in the Pride Parade came during the conference, but neither Tracy nor Theresa would comment.
The conference was sponsored by Police, Corrections, Auckland Council, ACC and Oranga Tamariki. Theresa says the next conference may be held in Wellington in 2019. Jenny R
After a bit of a gap, the Human Rights Commission has an EEO Commissioner (most recently Dr Jackie Blue), who is also taking responsibility for women’s rights (also previously Jackie Blue) and the rainbow community (most recently Richard Tankersley).
Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) is one of the three “priority areas” which must have a Commissioner appointed. The other two are disability rights and race relations. Women’s and rainbow community rights while (mostly) covered by anti-discrimination legislation, don’t have an assigned Commissioner as of right, so to speak.
Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo has a public sector background in health, education and social work. She is based in Auckland, but will be nationally contactable: on Twitter as @KaraninaSumeo, and through the Human Rights Commission. Alison K.
Women’s Refuge will soon be adopting a new video training package that implements a change to one of its four cornerstones, from ‘Lesbian visibility’ to ‘Takatāpui nurturing diversity’.
Long-term takatāpui advocate Elizabeth Kerekere (Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Whānau a Kai) developed the package for the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges (NCIWR), which recognises that “the world has changed, as have the demographics of our clients”.
It includes seven videos, one which introduces the concept and six showing how it reflect the existing values of refuge. They are:
- Whakapapa:Relationships built on kinship and reciprocity.
- Wairua:Honouring diversity.
- Mauri:Maintenance of the individual identity and values within a collective.
- Tapu:Promoting self-understanding and development.
- Mana:Inspirational leadership.
- Tikanga:Practising with integrity.
Each five-minute video is accompanied by resources, infographics, and training guides for facilitators with references.
The package “honours the key role that lesbians, bisexual and queer women have played in the refuge and other feminist movements,” Elizabeth says. “It promotes an intersectional feminist analysis where the definition of women is inclusive of all who identify as such, including trans and intersex women.
She believes “that sexuality and gender are driven by our wairua” and gives the example of karanga.
“Karanga is a sacred cultural role. I respect the right of any Māori who identifies as a woman to karanga, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. Based on our connection to Papatūānuku, if your wairua says you’re a woman, you are. Conversely, the role is not available to those who do not identify as a woman, including cis gay/bisexual/queer men, trans men and non-binary people.”
Elizabeth expects the training will roll out to refuges early next year, and is keen to “work with other feminist organisations trying to come to terms with these issues. How do we create safe spaces for all people who identify as women? It’s so critical to hold women’s space as long as gender inequality and gendered violence still exists.” JR
Seven lesbian groups are currently featured in the digitised and updated online version of Women Together – Ngā Ropū Wāhine o te Motu, a 1983 book about women’s organisations.
The earliest was the Amazons Softball Club. which ran in Wellington from 1977 to 1993. The Lesbian Mothers Defence Fund, founded by Yoka Neuman to support lesbian mothers fighting for custody of their children, operated in Dunedin from 1979 to 1992.
Tor Wainwright wrote about the nine Lesbian Summer Camps for lesbians and their kids in Canterbury between 1975 and 1991. SHE, Sisters for Homophile Equality, founded in 1973 in Christchurch, also formed in Wellington and published the country’s first lesbian magazine, Circle. Wellington’s Lesbian Community Radio started in 1984, included lesbian voices, music, news and opinion on a wide range of topics, and is still broadcasting.
Hamilton’s Lesbian Links started in 1987 and ran a lesbian drop-in and phone line. Auckland group Lesbians in Print also published a magazine from 1985.
Women Together was first published to mark the suffrage centenary. Original editor, Anne Else, has worked with the Research and Publishing team at Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage to update individual organisation entries and thematic overview essays. Some of the lesbian entries will be updated and entries about significant new organisations will be added in 2019. And of course lesbians were involved in most of the other organisations featured. Search the site https://www.nzhistory.govt.nz/women-together JR
The seventh Auckland Pride Festival runs from February 1 to 17, and will include more than 80 events. Copies of the Pride Guide will be distributed nationally from mid-January.
Major events include the Pride Gala on Friday 1; an extended Same Same But Different writers festival from Monday 4 to Saturday 9; the Big Gay Out on Sunday 10; the Heroic Garden Festival on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17; the Pride Parade along Ponsonby Road from 7.30pm on Saturday 16; the Lick Auckland Parade Dance on later on Saturday 16; as well as the Proud Party.
Contact Festival Director Julian Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss proposed Pride festival event before completing the registration form.
Registration fees subsidise free and low-cost events in the festival; they are $50 for events that are free, charge a koha, a gold coin, or a donation; $140 for ticketed events where the full adult price is up to $25; and $210 for ticketed events over $25.
Registrations for Pride festival events must be received no later than 5pm on Friday December 14.
The concept for the Pride Parade is the ‘Rainbow connection: Full colour, full strength’. Contact the Parade Director (email@example.com) to register your interest in entering a float.
Registrations are in five categories, starting at a base of $200 for a Rainbow community group or individual with a vehicle, up to $5,500 for businesses. Additional charges apply for advertising or product sampling and additional vehicles.
Registrations must be received no later than 5pm on Friday, February 1, 2019 and late registrations will not be accepted. JR
Wellington’s LILAC (Lesbian Information, Library and Archives Centre) has been struggling for a time with reduced membership and activity, but a positive AGM in November holds hope for a continued presence in the city, and beyond.
“We had a good number of members attend,” said Carole Hicks, who facilitated the AGM. “A lot of discussion over proposed constitutional changes (how LILAC operates) and ideas for fundraising and other activities.”
The current collective of seven has had two more members added, and other supporters offering input to fundraising and other events.
Limited finances and the cost of rent have led to reduced purchases of books, which in turn may have discouraged women from joining or continuing their membership, and from borrowing. LILAC is open 8 hours per week, 47 weeks of the year. These hours may be subject to further discussion.
Fundraising and social events included two theatre events in the last year and proved popular. “We hope to arrange something similar in the coming year, with another women-focussed theatre production, and there are considering other ideas including, for example, for a speaker series and a fundraising quiz night”, Carole says.
Membership rates are on a sliding scale, and you don’t have to be a member of the collective to work a volunteer shift, help organise events, or contribute to fundraising activities. Contact LILAC via the website.
Wellington’s Pride Festival, Tū Whakahīhī e te Whanganui-ā-Tara, runs from March 8 to 24 to coincide with the ILGA World Conference 2019.
Details are yet to be confirmed for most events, but some regular events are scheduled. The Pride Picnic will be held on Saturday 9 from 11am to 2pm in the Wellington Botanical Gardens with a relaxed line-up of local performers the Sound Shell.
The Pride hikoi from 10-10.30am on Saturday 16 meets at Waitangi Park and walks to Civic Square to open Out in the Park. All ages from babies to seniors are welcome along this accessible route.
The iconic Out in the Park fair will be held from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 16. It features stalls, activities, food and free all-day entertainment with talented local performers, including drag kings, queens and in-between, musicians, singers, dancers, and comedians.
That evening is the Wellington International Pride Parade, starting at 6pm from Tennyson St to Kent Tce, Courtenay Place and Taranaki St, finishing outside Mac’s Brew Bar on the Waterfront. The main stage is on the corner of Courtney and Taranaki Sts, with a big screen at Mac’s. Applications to participate are due by Thursday February 28. Go to wipp.nz or see the Parade Facebook page.
The Out in the Park After Party runs from 8pm to midnight at Mac’s Brew Bar, Taranaki St Wharf and is R18. It is hosted by Wellington’s GAG Drag Collective with Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 9 and All Stars S3 contestant Aja! Tickets available online.
The Wellington Pride Youth Ball will be held on Saturday March 23, with more details to come.
The Wellington Pride Festival is organised by the elected Rainbow volunteers of Out Wellington Inc, and the Pride Parade by WIPP, a separate community organisation.
See festival details at https://www.wellingtonpridefestival.org.nz/ JR
The ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) conference runs at the Michael Fowler Centre from March 18 to 22, and the programme will be announced by the end of the year.
The focus of the Wellington rōpū (group) hosting the conference “is on the social programme and the cultural elements of how we host manuhiri,” says Elizabeth Kerekere. “We’re looking forward to making this a very special conference.”
The three host rōpū are ILGA member organisations Tīwhanawhana Trust, which Elizabeth chairs; Intersex Trust Aotearoa/NZ; and Rainbow Youth, and the conference theme is ‘celebrating the past to liberate the future’.
The social programme includes a dinner and reception on Monday 18 at Parliament with MPs, focusing on Aotearoa New Zealand and Oceania; dinner and meeting youth Rainbow people on Tuesday 19; dinners on the waterfront followed by waka ama and other waterfront treats around Te Papa on Wednesday 20; a conference dinner, celebrating ILGA World’s 40th birthday on Thursday 21; and dinner and a Rainbow concert on Friday 22.
“We’re now receiving messages from people around the world who received ILGA scholarships and are very excited that they can come,” says Elizabeth.
She is in charge of volunteer facilitators for all the workshops, “so that each individual group gets welcomed into the space before it is handed over to presenters. I’ve only just started going to ILGA conferences, and often you don’t know who’s in the room.”
“Hosting is our responsibility, and it takes pressure off the speakers. I’d like to see hosts for each workshop go around the room naming countries, so participants can see who they are, who they have a connection with, and who they want to follow up. If we have a standard way we do that, it becomes a rhythm participants get into. It’s little but powerful.”
“We’ve also negotiated that people who volunteer for a certain portion of the conference can attend the rest.”
Writer and former Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Gill Greer, CBE, MNZM, is one of many women from Aotearoa who have had an international impact. She spoke with Jenny Rankine.
Gill lived in a small village in Malaya from when she was a toddler, where she is pictured with her best friend. She was sent back to boarding school in New Zealand when she turned eight. Her father was a railway engineer and her mother a journalist. At school she had to read Katherine Mansfield, “disliked her intensely” and swore she would read no more “precious” New Zealand literature.
“I always joke that the women’s movement passed me by,” she says. “I was lost in suburban neurosis in Khandallah.” She had a daughter and a son and now has four grandchildren.
After she became a teacher she started work at Wellington Girls College, where she couldn’t avoid teaching about their most famous Old Girl. So she read John Middleton Murry’s heavily edited collection of KM’s letters, which “turned me around”. She read KM’s hand-written journals in the Alexander Turnbull Library, seeing the blots of tears on the page as KM wrote about her husband’s affair. Phrases like: “How I hate all these things men expect of their women” jumped out at her.
When she moved to work at Victoria University in 1988 for a decade, she published three books as Gill Boddy, two about KM. The first wrapped Gill’s commentary around KM’s collected notes, poems, letters and stories in Katherine Mansfield, the woman and the writer.
“She wrote some very intimate journal entries from her times in Days Bay and Europe. About Edie Bendall she wrote: ‘Nothing remains except the shelter of her arms…I had never known what it truly was to love and be loved’. KM was very strong on women’s rights, the need for “power, wealth and freedom” and there are also implications of deeper relationships between women in her stories.”
Gill started a PhD in women’s literature at Victoria, and in 1991 published Disputed Ground – Robin Hyde, Journalist, co-edited with Jacqueline Matthews. She finished the PhD in 1996, the same year her book, Katherine Mansfield: ‘A do you remember’ life, was published. Gill’s introductory biography related the following four Mansfield stories to KM’s upbringing, and discussed KM’s relationships with as Ida Baker and Maata Mahupuku.
Gill came out during her time at Victoria, when her children were 17 and 18. “I’d been married for 14 years and realised I was also attracted to women. Coming out in teaching would have been difficult; at Victoria it was a time and an environment where it was possible but not easy. I was hugely lucky, and my grandchildren are growing up with a gay grandmother.”
She and her partner, actor and playwright Lorae Parry, right, “were friends for a long time. I came out of a relationship, she and her partner were separating amicably, and it just happened.” The pair had a civil union – “it was all that was available at the time and it didn’t bring a stereotype of marriage”.
Gill was active on sexuality and gender issues at Victoria; as Director of Student Services she launched a Respect campaign “across genders and sexualities. We enlarged student services – a lot of mental health issues they dealt with were linked to sexual and gender identity.”
She became Assistant Vice-Chancellor Equity and Human Resources, responsible for “ensuring equal opportunity for women as students and staff, as well as those with disabilities, and better support and services for Maori and Pacifica students. We founded Vic Volunteers because there was very little funding for support for students with disabilities.”
After she left Victoria, she became Chief Executive of the NZ Family Planning Association. “It was a time of great change; like many other NGOs we moved away from grants to a contractual arrangement with government. We weren’t computerised and didn’t know the financial value of our work.”
Gill helped set up a forum between the Ministry of Health, NGOs and DHBs. “It was exciting – we had a one-page statement of government intent, where the government promised respectful relationships with community organisations and Māori – it was a commitment to accountability, consultation and good communication.”
She visited FPA clinics and schools around the country. In some areas, such as the West Coast, she was told, “young gay and lesbian people left or sometimes they committed suicide, because they couldn’t be who they are. The limited data we have show trans students today are more likely to be bullied or self-harm; boys and young men who don’t fit the masculine stereotypes are too often rejected, and all these people can struggle with mental health problems. We’re still so far from the recognition that gender stereotypes impact on everyone, limiting us all.”
The FPA’s international work was with peer organisations in Pacific countries. “We advocated with governments for services for young people, women, men and for choice. That was a critical part of the work.”
In 2006, she was asked to apply for the Director-General’s job with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which is made up of 141 organisations funded by 19 donor governments. “To my great surprise I got the job. The first task was to develop a Sexual Rights declaration in the midst of the HIV epidemic.” She and the president, a psychiatrist from Trinidad, worked on it with a group from around the world, consulting with the member agencies. It took two years.
“New Zealand, in passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act, decriminalising sex work and setting up needle exchanges, was a world leader. If every country in the world had followed that model, the impact of the epidemic would have been very different,” she says. “In some countries sex workers still are refused health care”, denying their human rights and contributing to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
“There are still 58 countries where sexual relationships between men are criminalised, which has a major impact. The declaration looked at all the ways people are refused basic human rights – privacy, passports, choosing who they married, saying no to sex – on the basis of sex, sexuality or gender and linked that denial to all the human rights treaties, conventions and covenants. The representatives from 36 countries who made up the IPPF governing council agreed that this was the centre of our work.”
[With her above are a committee member from Canada and the Co-ordinator of the Volunteer Groups Alliance from Madagascar.]
The sexual rights document was also the foundation of training courses on sexual rights, which included sexual and gender fluidity through life. “It was challenging work, given the cultural and religious diversity. One of the board representatives was opposed to the declaration; she would rather I hadn’t been appointed and was probably happy to see me go.”
Gill used paper clips and boxes to illustrate sexuality and gender fluidity across the continuum – “people often change across their lives. We did a lot of advocacy, developing research and data about oppressive laws, setting up women’s social enterprises, supporting women to stand for parliament.”
“If you look at complaints to the UN Human Rights Council, many have been from IPPF member associations about their own governments. One of the first was the Cameroon FPA about their government’s refusal of health services to HIV+ people.”
“Associations couldn’t become members unless they had at least 50 percent women on their board and at least 20 percent under 25 – the aim was to help women and young people learn about good governance, and show what they can contribute.”
She used the shorthand that “human rights are for all – there are no non-people”, and quotes suffragist Kate Sheppard: “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome”.
Gill’s five years at the IPPF came after George Bush cut funding for international reproductive health services that could be used to fund advice about legal abortion, so her job also included finding new funders. Above she is pictured signing an IPPF funding agreement with the German Government.
She fought to get access to family planning included in the Millennium Development Goals in 2007 after it was omitted at the request of the USA and others. “It taught me that if your critical issue isn’t on these kinds of international shopping lists, your chances of driving change are much smaller.”
Gill has seen the usefulness of the UN’s Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review machinery for community groups and IPPF associations trying to change laws and policies blocking sexual human rights. “CEDAW has said to our government for the last 12 years that it needs to do more about gender equality, the gender pay gap, women in leadership.”
The UN Universal periodic review process includes “around 30 representatives of other governments interviewing NGOs and government ministers and commenting publicly on their human rights failures– governments don’t like being seen as less than their peers, so this drives accountability and change.”
In 2011 Gill returned to Aotearoa, where she saw the lack of a strategy that was urged overseas – “we haven’t followed the principle of investing in women to reduce child poverty and inequality; we can’t do it any other way”.
Gill supports quotas and targets to get women into parliament, and corporate and state sector leadership roles. “My belief in quotas goes back to my time in the IPPF. The women parliamentarians in Uganda got there due to a quota, and they’re an extraordinary group driving change as hard as they can.”
“CEDAW has said again and again that we need to use special measures, such as time-limited goals, targets and quotas so that women are represented.”
“Because, if they are, policies and priorities change. Even one woman on a company board reduces the risk of that company failing. The research has been out there for decades that women in senior leadership increase loyalty, innovation, inclusion, return on investment, and share of markets. But one woman isn’t enough – we need 30 percent of any minority and to address intersectionality.”
She’s heard comment, including from women in debates against female quotas for the public service and private sector that made her “amazed that we ever got the vote. The question always seems to be ‘can we find enough of the right women’, but I don’t hear that asked about men.”
From 2012 Gill was CEO of Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA). “One young woman working at VSA said she was grateful to have an openly gay CEO. In her rural town coming out would not have been an option. VSA sends skilled Kiwi volunteers overseas to work with local communities. New Zealand volunteers have an impact in building organisations and understanding of human rights, including in countries where same-sex relationships are illegal or not accepted.”
From 2017 to 2018 she was the first out lesbian Chief Executive of the National Council of Women. The NCW leads the Gender Equal campaign, which includes a gender attitude survey, a gender dashboard, and the development of a gender culture and media task force. “A hundred and twenty-five years after women won the vote we ask ‘What would a truly gender equal household, school, organisation or country look like?’ No vilification or stereotypes – it would be a very different country.”
She points to the fact that in the last Global Monitor report, “women were the focus of only seven percent of news stories in mass media, less than it used to be, though this may have changed with Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister”
She’s opposed to mainstreaming of gender issues – “it makes us invisible”. She gives the example of asking a government staffer about whether they used a gender analysis. He didn’t know what that meant, and hadn’t got a framework for asking about the impact of proposed policies or changes on women or how women had been involved in decisions about those policies. She advocates the same process for Māori and Pacific peoples and others who are marginalised including those with disabilities.
She gives the example of Treasury’s proposed new Living Standards Framework, asking how “data about women in all their intersectionality” has been included. She doesn’t believe it’s enough to compare women’s pay with men’s; “comparing Pasifika women’s pay with Pākehā men’s is very different”.
“It’s amazing that there’s so much more to do to finish the suffragists’ work 125 years after suffrage was achieved; I would hate this anniversary year to be just a talkfest. It needs to be a real start on addressing sexual and family violence – where we have the highest rates in the OECD – and other issues.”
Gill says being out “was sometimes not a plus, but I am who I am and you get the full package”. At times in her life “it would have been a professional and personal risk” to be interviewed for LNA. She is pictured with Maggie Eyre in Santa Monica.
She is working on two books, one about the impacts of George Bush and Trump’s policies on women’s voice and choice around the world. She’s also interested in working with her mother’s letters to her father during World War II, and the log he kept while he was at sea.
She also serves on several boards, including Evofem Bioscience, a US Nasdaq-listed biotech company developing a non-hormonal contraceptive gel that will prevent chlamydia and gonorrhoea. “And I want to spend more time with my family and friends”.
Some readers may recognise Elizabeth Marshall from TV show MasterChef, while Wellington readers may know her as the organiser of Out in the Park earlier this year. She spoke with Jenny Rankine about her career in hospitality.
Elizabeth grew up in Massachusetts in the north-eastern USA, but did a year of high school in Christchurch, where her dad had a job as a paediatric neurologist, dealing with problems in the brains and nervous systems of babies to teenagers.
“I really fell in love with New Zealand and didn’t want to leave, but I was too young to stay by myself.” She finished high school in the USA and went to university. “My two passions, hospitality and acting were not considered appropriate professions.” Instead she studied performing arts and communications, performed in university and professional shows, and worked in hospitality jobs on the side.
“Then I said ‘stuff it’ and went into theatre and acting fulltime. I always said I’d come back to New Zealand, and I did in 2002 when I was 23.” She’s now a New Zealand citizen, has spent half her life in each country and identifies as Pākehā. “I’m definitely tied to New Zealand”.
“In Wellington it was difficult to get full-time acting work because I couldn’t use my American accent, so I worked in event management – corporate events and murder mystery dinners where there was still acting involved. Then I did more office work and administration but realised didn’t want to keep doing that.”
Elizabeth learnt her love of cooking from her mother, “a stay at home mum who entertained a lot. We have lots of old photos of me standing on a stool licking the spoon.”
She started volunteering to cook lunches for 30 to 50 senior citizens every Friday at Newlands Community Centre. “I’d supply the ingredients – I had to create dishes for very little and use all parts of the produce; that was cool. We might roast a head of broccoli and puree the stalk and all into sauce for pasta or soup. I found some pretty creative things to do with it. We’d sit and chat over lunch with them; they really valued the food and the interaction.”
Elizabeth was in her early 30s, and it was “too expensive to go to culinary school – it means taking a whole year out and it costs more than a chef would earn in a year for a top school. So I applied for MasterChef. I combined my true loves – I’d already been on TV as an actor, doing minor and extra roles.”
“When you watch shows and don’t know the background, you think ‘Oh my god, I could do that’. It’s a totally different kettle of fish to have three cameras down your neck and a director asking questions when you’re in the middle of cooking. It was a lot of fun and I’m thankful for the experience, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“They start with about 50 applicants and whittle it down; we had around 20 for the show and I came eighth. I met a lot of amazing people, I learned a LOT about cooking myself and working with other people. It was 24/7 food, cooking, eating, talking, learning. The interesting thing is that after the show only two of us out of the 20 were working in commercial kitchens.”
Elizabeth had never chefed in a restaurant before. “I was lucky enough to get a job as a kitchenhand at Martin Bosley’s in Wellington before the show aired. He paved the way for molecular gastronomy and fine dining in New Zealand.”
“Molecular gastronomy involves altering the shape and texture of food to create a wow factor.” Elizabeth gives the example of “a caviar-like ball that starts as a soft puree, develops a skin and ends up being a sphere, a caviar texture that pops. I always wanted to do dish with peas in a sphere on MasterChef but never got to.”
Elizabeth is still bound by a contract not to talk about how the show works behind the scenes. “Watching reality TV now I know there is lots of film that doesn’t make it to the screen, so when you see it it’s a different story to being part of it. All those monologues – there’s a director asking you questions, prompting certain reactions.”
Making MasterChef took two months in Auckland, but didn’t air until nine months later. “By that time I’d been working in a commercial kitchens for six months. Most of the time restaurants take people who’ve been through courses but chefs like passionate, hardworking cooks, so sometimes they’ll take someone who wants to get stuck in and doesn’t mind starting at the bottom.”
“I learned a lot from Martin’s sous chef, about cooking in a restaurant kitchen and seasoning. It is so different from home cooking. Home cooking is a lot more relaxed, less formal, less rushed – you can change the dish halfway through. In a commercial kitchen, time is money and you have to make sure the dish is identical to the last time the customer ate it. There’s not much flexibility with flavours.
“I did struggle at times in the commercial kitchen environment because I wasn’t as fast as the other chefs. It’s a lot of multi-tasking – doing eight different dishes at once, looking ahead to see what’s coming up so you have the things you need. Making sure that your entrees go out to that table altogether and the mains to another one.”
Elizabeth still continued cooking lunches at the Newlands Community Centre while she was cheffing. “I only stopped two years ago when my dad died, after I’d done it for six years.”
“I wish I’d been able to work at Bosley’s for longer, he’s an amazing chef and person; unfortunately he went into liquidation.” Elizabeth moved to another job with the Nourish Group, which owned Shed 5 and Crab Shack. “Bosley’s was only open for dinner, so it wasn’t as gruelling as Shed 5 (above), which is open for lunch and dinner. They were long days – I started at 10am at Shed 5 and sometimes didn’t finish until 1am. You get up next day and do it all over again.”
“The chefs worked at those two restaurants at the same time. We’d do fine dining for a month or two, then casual seafood, and then I did desserts for both restaurants on pastry section. It’s very hard on your body and mentally challenging; you’ve got to be really fast, the pace is insane. It’s a similar rush to performing onstage – hard work but fun.”
Eventually Elizabeth had to have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. “I started teaching people how to cook and doing stuff for friends, and wound up making more money doing my own stuff than working 80-something hours in a commercial kitchen. I was old enough to be everyone’s mum – it was a no-brainer.”
Making her own business
“I started doing masterclasses, renting commercial kitchen space in the Crave Cooking School; I also cooked in people’s homes and in community centres. Cooking in different kitchens is fun, it keeps you on your toes.” Elizabeth had started making her alcoholic cakes for a friend’s birthday, before she was on MasterChef.
“She doesn’t like cake and loves bourbon, so I made her a bourbon chocolate cake and she loved it. The alcohol is one of the ingredients, not just drizzled over. You can’t taste some of the alcohols, but it makes a real difference. Friends started asking me for birthdays, and then I started selling them at the city artisan market at Schaffers’ Dock every Sunday.”
Elizabeth is also testing recipes for “a lot of ‘free-from’ snacks and items for sale in Commonsense Organics and other places. I’ve always had family and friends who have to avoid certain foods.”
“It used to really frustrate me that people who couldn’t eat certain things were ostracised and had to eat by themselves, so I taught myself how to create those things. In those days all the gluten-free stuff tasted like crap and all the vegan stuff was horrid.”
“I’ve re-invented all my friends’ favourite dishes and classics that they couldn’t have because of things like Crohn’s and Coeliac disease, so they actually tasted good. I knew they were good if I tested them out on my flatmate and workmates who didn’t have allergies, without telling them. I like people being able to eat all together and feel included – it’s not rocket science.”
Elizabeth’s voluntary work remains largely food-oriented. She has been involved with Good Bitches Baking since a friend started it four years ago. “We bake for people in need; it’s about spreading kindness for people going through a rough time. A treat or a cake for the neonatal ward or Women’s Refuge lets people know there are bakers out there who care about them. Sometimes I bake once a week, sometimes once a month, usually during the week.”
She’s also part of a related group teaching long-term male prisoners at Rimutaka Prison how to bake, as they prepare to leave prison. “We just did a six-week pilot in July/August with six guys, and we’re hoping to continue it – it was received very positively. I was one of the teachers; we have one teacher per prisoner and a floater or two, up to eight bakers at a time from a roster of 12.”
Elizabeth came out when she was 28. “In my US high school I was part of the gay-straight alliance – I always thought I was the straight one! I’d had an experience with one of my best friends – I thought everyone fell in love with their best friends, that it was part of growing up. All I knew about lesbians was that they looked like boys and I didn’t fit into that mould – I didn’t look gay and didn’t dress butch. I was so naïve.”
“One of my friends was one of the first openly lesbian girls at high school when I was 14. She held hands with her new girlfriend, and kids got stones from outside and threw them at her. I thought it wasn’t right to ostracise people and treat them differently, so I got involved with GSA. We had about six to 12 in the group, we met regularly to talk. The straights in the group looked out for bullying and stood up for our gay friends. It was a upper middle-class White Catholic/Jewish community.”
“At uni I got dared to kiss other girls at parties and I really loved it so I thought I must be bi. It wasn’t until I came to Wellington and followed The Drag Kings at Pound Bar that I thought ‘This is totally me’. When Our Bar opened, run by women, I had a couple of hook-ups and that was it. I’m definitely a lesbian; for a while I liked dyke but now I’m older it doesn’t feel right anymore. In saying that, I don’t really like the word lesbian – I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t have to label people. We don’t want to put ourselves into boxes yet we do.”
Elizabeth is in The Drag Kings. “I’ve been with them for nine years now – as everyone’s getting older we’re doing fewer shows. I have a few personas, including Just-in Thyme, a wannabe Justin Timberlake, and a drag queen Litsea Liqueur.” Her first name is Elizabeth’s favourite essential oil, and her whole name is a pun.
Elizabeth organised Out in the Park in 2018, and is on the Out Wellington Inc Wellington Pride Festival organising committee again, involved with Out in the Park for 2019. This time is with a co-director Karen Harris, and Roxy organising the entertainment.
Elizabeth became involved in Wellington Pride “because I had told Virginia Parker-Bowles I would and I never had. I always wanted to – I just never had time. I did lots of volunteer work but not for our community. On the day she died she had a big party, but was too sick to be there. Her message was read out: ‘Get involved with your queer whānau and do things for our community’. She touched a lot of people. So, on her deathbed promised I would.”
Photos: Second: Dessert canapes for Well Travelled Bride launch; Fourth: Guest chef for Wellington on a Plate event; booze cake for Wellington Pride 2018 launch; Elizabeth’s cake celebrating 30 years of homosexual law reform; Guest chef at GF Masterclass of Gluten Free Food and Allergy Show.
We appreciate the original cartoons provided by Helen Courtney. This one, Flight of fancy, seems to fit particularly well with Media.
Wantok*, an exploration of Melanesian cultural values expressed through relationships to hair, will show at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt from Saturday December 8 to April 28, 2019.
Curated by Auckland-based Fijian lesbian artist Luisa Tora, it features work by Dulcie Stewart (Fiji/Australia); Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Vanuatu/Aotearoa New Zealand); Salote Tawale (Fiji/Australia); Tufala Meri (Reina and Molana Sutton, Solomon Islands/Aotearoa New Zealand); and Luisa.
She describes the exhibition as expressing de-colonialised views of beauty and mana, using the lenses of spirituality, symbolism and rites of passage associated with hair.
At 11am on Saturday 8, hear a free talk between artists Jasmine Togo-Brisby and Tufala Meri (Molana and Reina Sutton) and artist/curator Luisa Tora about knowledge and practice for Melanesians living outside Melanesia. RSVP here.
Wantok was first exhibited at the Mangere Arts Centre earlier this year. Pictured is a detail from Jasmine Togo-Brisby’s 2018 Post-plantation series.
* Wantok refers to a person with whom one has a strong social bond, usually based on a shared language.
Auckland lesbian writer Sandi Hall has written a musical play about little-known suffragist, Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, and raused $2,000 in a Boosted campaign to pay a theatre deposit for an Auckland performance in 2019.
Meri (Ngati Te Reinga, Ngati Manawa, Te Kaitutae) was born in 1868 on the Hokianga Harbour, studied at Auckland’s St Mary’s Convent and was a skilled pianist. Her husband Hamiora Mangakahia was premier of the Kotahitanga parliament from June 1892.
In 1893, the Speaker of the Kotahitanga lower house introduced Meri’s motion that women be given the right to vote for and become Kotahitanga members. This proposal went further than the aims of Pākehā suffragists at the time, and Meri was the first woman to talk to the Kotahitanga in its support.
Says Sandi: “When I read Meri’s speech, I realised that here was a woman who was as passionate about the vote as Kate Sheppard, yet almost unknown in her own country”, and Sandi wanted to change that.
Sandi, who describes herself as “manuhiri pākeha kuia with a Canadian accent”, has worked with Meri’s direct descendants and whānau on the play, When Piwakawaka Fly. “I chose that name because of the piwakawaka (fantail) is a message-bringer.” They have also collaborated on a website about Meri, and created the When Piwakawaka Fly Charitable Trust to make her better known.
The trust’s goals were to ask secondary girls’ schools to use the play in their drama selections, and then to take the play overseas, including to indigenous theatre audiences. “However, before a play can be offered to schools, it first must have one successful season in a theatre,” says Sandi.
The trust’s Boosted campaign runs until Wednesday 12, and any funds over the $2000 will go towards the performance in Suffrage Week 2019. See the video on the Boosted page. JR
Summer holidays are coming, Lesbian News Aotearoa won’t update till February, so that means … lots of time for reading! Summer reading can mean something light, as some of these are; it can also mean you have more time and attention to give to works that will offer you more in return, as some of these do.
Here is one collection of suggestions; feel free to make your own. If you are like me, you can make it a mix of your own books (if you have a large-ish collection of To Be Read) and library books. Your own might be those you have bought new from your favourite independent bookshop, finds from second-hand bookshops, and gifts.
You might want to include some you have read before – re-reading can be a real joy, some works by authors you know but are a title you haven’t previously read. Maybe something recommended by a friend. Maybe a genre you wouldn’t usually read. (Note, I have still to add some poetry to this collection – I’m thinking about Jackie Kay or Carol Ann Duffy.)
And your focus of ‘lesbian literature’ may be one or more of written by lesbian/s, written about lesbian/s, written for lesbians.
How To Keep An Alien is the script of an autobiographical play that tells the story of immigration and lesbian love of Sonya (Ireland) and Kate (Australia). It was written and is performed by Sonya Kelly, who brought the play to Aotearoa in 2017. It’s got love and contemporary culture.
She had eyes like the rabbits in Watership Down. Kind, blameless, cheeky, brown, and they were locking onto mine like the perfect game of Tetris.
Marguerite Yourcenar was an important French writer, notably as the first woman elected to the Académie française, and the author of Memoirs of Hadrian. This work was translated into English by her partner Grace Frick.
Just quietly, in spite of it being a magnificent work, I found Hadrian difficult to read. So this summer, I am tackling the biography, Yourcenar, by George Rouosseau. It’s a thoughtful, comprehensive work, concluding with an epilogue: “Is Yourcenar a GayHadrian Writer?” – because while openly living with the same woman for over 40 years, she did not publicly identify as lesbian, or bisexual. And her work celebrated male homosexuality, not women.
Tove Jansson is forever, for some readers, the Moomin person. They are worth reading, of course (a project for another summer, for me), but she wrote for adults too, and this is a great find: 13 stories first published in 1991 but only translated into English in 2017. More about her on the Moomin website and Wikipedia.
I picked up Hope Mirrlees’ Lud-in-the-Mist on the basis of its beautiful cover and the cover quote from Neil Gaiman. It is added to this collection on the strength of the biographical note that describes her as “living and working with Jane Ellen Harrison”, although the information on either of them, let alone their relationship, is limited: try Wikipedia for Mirrlees, Harrison, and the novel.
Lud-in-the-Mist is a fantasy work, and social commentary mixed with some social satire. It was first published in 1926, but the language and style could easily be 21st century.
The wealth and importance of the country was mainly due to the Dawl river. It was thanks to the Dawl that girls in remote villages wore brooches made out of walrus tusks, and applied bits of unicorns’ horns to their toothache, that the chimney-piece in the parlour of almost every farm-house was adorned with an ostrich egg.
Grandzilla, Lisa Williams’ latest novel, was reviewed in the November LNA update. It has a number of themes, particularly around ageing and youth, also exploring the consequences of our actions.
The Lotterys More or Less is the second in Emma Donoghue’s younger reader series. (Yes, I have read the first, see comment below – we reviewed it in February this year.) She is an author with outstanding strength in the power and consistency she brings to the voice of her narrators. if you have read Room, you will have observed this. It’s also evident in Hood – see a review by Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian. (As an aside, search that site for more reviews.)
In her Lotterys series, Donoghue gives us an improbable and improbably constructed family: 2 gay dads, 2 lesbian mothers, 7 children of varying parents plus a grandfather. It could be seen as an ‘issues’ novel, and in the hands of a less skilful writer, that might be all it is. But here, with the strength of her narrator Sumac, aged 9, slightly precocious, often just slightly missing what must be obvious to parents and older siblings, you get a moving, challenging, interesting story for any age reader.
If you are going to read a series, you need to start with the first book. Beloved Poison is the first of (so far) three Jem Flockhart medical/crime historical novels. The story is told in Jem’s voice. The world of apothecaries and pre-antibiotic hospitals was dirty and dangerous, and it is explicitly described. “Jem has a secret” the cover tells us, but there are really two: she presents to the world as a man, and she’s a lesbian.
Susan Calman will be known to some as a stand-up comedian, and to others as a contestant in 2017’s Strictly Come Dancing. Cheer Up Love, Adventures in depression with the Crab of Hate is a memoir, an account of living with debilitating depression, quite possibly a self-help book on mental health, and certainly a good read. Notice how the library’s cataloguing system abbreviates her surname to ‘CALM’ – that’s a nice touch.
This is both an easy read – she writes in a friendly, chatty, accessible way, and she’s a comedian – and not easy to read: there are some challenging descriptions of low points in her life.
Read this for the humorous commentary on society (“Television is obsessed with a particular idea of women. And it seems that their idea of the perfect woman is a woman who is caked in so much make up that when she smiles large cracks appear in her façade.”) and the serious (“Whenever people ask me why I am so open about how I feel and about my life, I know it’s because of that one time in my life when I felt completely alone. I can’t sit with you in your house and hold your hand but I can tell you that you are not alone.”).
Enjoy your summer!
Who are you reading? Here’s our blog roll; send us links for other lesbian blogs.
Blogs and sites from Aotearoa
The Charlotte Museum “The Charlotte Museum Trust is part of a network of archives preserving lesbian culture for the benefit and understanding of future generations in New Zealand. This is where the Charlotte Museum blogs about her exhibitions, events, archives and lesbian history.”
Making a Peanut, chronicles Grace & Em’s baby making adventures, and a collection of information that may help fellow kiwi lesbians navigate the road to motherhood.
We don’t have to be the building, a blog about Sian Torrington’s project of the same name, about lesbian, bi-sexual, queer female bodied, trans* and female identified activists both 30 years ago during Homosexual Law Reform, and now” who are telling our personal stories as a form of activism”. Sian drew and interviewed lesbian, queer and trans* women for an exhibition in Wellington in 2016 and Auckland in 2017.
Renée’s Wednesday Busk
He Hōaka Kim Mcbreen’s queer Māori political blog.
Out There Pat Rosier’s perceptive comments on her reading and the writing process, the last posts very poignant after her death in 2014.
The Hand Mirror Lesbian, queer and other feminist writing by a variety of bloggers.
Egg Venturous Claire Gummer’s whimsical writing about her backyard chooks and beyond.
Butch on Butch A Facebook page of photographs and comments.
I’m local Info and resources for queer & gender diverse youth around Aotearoa.
Blogs from elsewhere
Carolyn Gage A playwright, also a writer of lengthy and thoughtful blog posts.
Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA) Fiji An active group of young lesbians linking their human rights with gender, social, ecological and constitutional justice; also on Twitter (@diva4equality).
Feminine Moments – Queer Feminist Art Worldwide An art blog that “presents fine art made by lesbian, bisexual and queer women artists worldwide”.
Isle of Lesbos “A place of art, culture, and learning dedicated to lesbian and bisexual women.”
Lesbians Over Everything A place where lesbians can share our own stories. Segments include “Aaah real lesbians” and “Everyday lesbophobia”.
The Lesbrary “The humble quest to read everything lesbian: a lesbian book blog”. Maintains its own “(Lesbian) Book Blog” roll (16 at last count).
Listening 2 Lesbians A page recording women’s experiences of being abused or silenced as lesbians and of being subjected to misogyny and lesbophobia within and outside the community;news stories on lesbian rights, violence and discrimination against the lesbian community.
Lizzy the Lezzy Lizzy started as an animated stand up comedian. The website hasn’t been updated since 2016, but she also has a Facebook presence.
Not writing but blogging is Stella Duffy, Pākehā Londoner, also on Twitter as @stellduffy.
Robin Morgan is an American poet, author, political theorist and activist, journalist, lecturer and radical feminist.
Sister Outrider is the award winning blog of Claire Heuchan, a Black radical feminist from Scotland, with a website, Facebook and Twitter online presence.
The Total Femme “Your friendly neighborhood femme mom bookworm” has a Meditation for Queer Femmes posted Mondays, links to other blog posts or articles in “Pingy-Dingy Wednesday”, Fridays highlight queer femmes from all walks of life.
Women You Should Know “a digital media property and community all about dynamic women …” with a website and Facebook presence.
The compromise decision by the Auckland Pride Board that Rainbow police were welcome in the Parade but not in uniform has been controversial, resulting in heated debate on social media. The board announcement says it came to the decision after hearing from people at feedback meetings that the uniform “made them feel less safe about participating” in the parade. LNA invited two opinions on the issue.
Lea Carlson, ALBA chairperson
At our November meeting we had an open discussion and the sentiment was that we acknowledge there are ongoing issues with government departments (we know there are bad eggs in all professions, even caring ones like teachers and nurses) who are still imperfect in their treatment of marginalised members of our community, in particular our trans brothers and sisters, Maori and Pasifika.
We took a vote, which was unanimous, to allow uniformed Police to participate in the parade, as we didn’t see how a ban on Police uniforms would improve relationships and the treatment of our minorities.
These issues need to be dealt with in productive ways such as the recent inaugural Joint Government Agency Rainbow Conference, which spent two days with agencies such as Police and Corrections collaborating with our community, including transgender, Maori and Pasifika members, to focus on solutions to address these problems.
On the last day of the conference the news came through of the Pride Boards decision, which disseminated like an icy shower on the warmth and kotahitanga (unity) of the event.
Research supports collaboration not separation as the answer such as Glasser’s work saying that people are far more willing to engage and change when we do things ‘with’ them (restoratively), not ‘to’ them (punitively), ‘for’ them (permissively) or excluding them (neglectfully).
The pedagogy of oppression is when those who were bullied can become bullies, abused become abusers, and in this case, those who have been excluded for who they are, and what they do, (LGBTQI) are now excluding others (the Police in uniform). This perpetuates the negative behaviours we want to change, causes division and stops groups working together (mahi tahi) to find solutions.
At the hui in Grey Lynn it was sad to hear the racism and disrespect expressed from both sides.
I spoke briefly telling the board of the ALBA vote for inclusion of uniformed Police. I also shared my experience as a mother of a Pasifika son who has been victimised by the Police, and that I still believe working ‘with’ these institutions is the best way forward.
The issue here lies with the majority at home on the couch, while community volunteers such as the Pride Board whom we do not wish to vilify, work tirelessly to create these events, often with little gratitude.
The outspoken voices that attended the Pride consultations were heard by the board, which allowed the mandate for this stance. It’s democracy in action – if we don’t vote or become a member, we can’t really complain. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, let’s be respectful of each other, and stop this tortuous implosion in our diverse community, which is delighting homophobes.
For some of us, our days of fighting for inclusion have eased and we have become comfortable and generally accepted in society. Let’s remember our brothers and sisters who still experience discrimination, and utilise more constructive ways to address these issues, other than making our parade a place of exclusion.
We know what that feels like; some of us still bear the scars. Let’s fight for change in a mana-enhancing way, not tearing each other apart. He waka eke noa, we’re all in this canoe together.
I was one of the ones saying there shouldn’t be any police at all, given what they represent and people’s ongoing experiences with the police. In the parade they’re marching as that institution, which for some is oppressive. Violence is an inherent part of policing.
They represent the most direct means by which the state imposes its will on its citizens, as in the Dawn Raids. They are trained and authorised to use force as at Bastion Point. Police violence was implicit in just about every one of those encounters. For me, police represent violence as well as the law.
I remember being in the back of a police wagon with Pacific and Maori young people after arrested for hanging out at the bottom of Queen Street. A couple of cops hassling us and nek minit we were surrounded by cop cars. Knowing our rights didn’t help us. On our way to the cop station we were beaten for not doing as we were told, and at the station, we were beaten for not moving fast enough, for being defiant and for sticking up for each other. Complaining would have caused further distress.
Some would say – what’s this got to do with being lesbian? Being Samoan is enough to be treated violently by police, to add being a lesbian could be worse.
I know a trans sex worker in South Auckland who was recently dragged by the hair, had their clothes ripped off them recently by the police. There’s no way she wanted to make a complaint cos it would cause her more harm. She has no trust in police process or them enforcing the law equally.
Some of the experiences with police were raised by young people at Pride meetings. I worry for my nieces and nephews out in their cars in the evening, they get stopped all the time. Racial profiling exists. When they challenge police about their rights, the police will hassle them more.
My nephews were pulled up by police at Mission Bay, they had a sober driver. They called me to tell me – I get calls often, cos they know to call me if that happens. This time they were let go, but being pulled up happens all the time. They’ve learnt to shut their mouths and be silent. Getting hassled by the police is normal for Māori and Pacific youth, they expect it.
We teach them to shut their mouths to survive and be able to come home. Always have a sober driver and don’t talk back – the law is always more powerful than you.
The police have done some good work in heterosexual domestic violence, we’ve made great relationships with some police over those issues, but they still haven’t got there. They don’t know how to deal with domestic violence between same-sex couples – they just say it’s a domestic and walk away.
Police talk about us in quite derogatory ways. There’s a long way to go before their oppressive behaviour stops. The police may have done lots of work, but our experiences haven’t change. We don’t want to be confronted with the police in our parade.
The Pride consultation meetings were transparent; police and corrections were there – I went to four of them. PAPA [People Against Prisons Aotearoa, formerly No Pride in Prisons] wasn’t at all those consultations, it was other people speaking. The issues raised were discussed a lot.
Asking the police not to wear their uniforms was the Board finding a way forward, a response to the voices over three months of consultations. The police declined the offer of compromise.
I get asked how many people were at the consultations. Why does it matter? Some talk about majority rules, but I will always be a minority among White people.
White people with privilege who pull out funding and support for Pride are supporting police over people who are in the margins.
Miriam Saphira was in Berlin in time for their Dyke Pride March on Christopher Street Day.
The first CSD LGBTI parade, with lots of truck-based floats, took to the streets in West Berlin on June 30 in 1979 and Dyke Pride Marches began in 2012. They had also been held in New York in the 70s, and since in 1981 in Vancouver.
Dyke Marches are a platform for lesbian visibility, anti-sexist and feminist topics. They are free of commercial advertising and political party banners and floats.
Dyke on Bikes, including a bike group from Hamburg, led the parade of 5,000 women including many lesbian feminist groups and issues. The sole vehicle pumped out women’s music, and was pushed for part of the parade to save petrol.
Among the placards were ‘Lesbians are the new queer’ with a women’s sign intertwined with a labrys; ‘The lesbians are coming’; ‘Remember the riots’; ‘We have so much clit we don’t need balls’; ‘my wonderful aging programme loves sex’; ‘lesbian against the right’, ‘For my own chosen living space when I am old’; ‘The future is fluid’; and many waving labryses.
The march ended with the Dycyles – Dykes on bicycles.
Although the placards represented difficult aspects of discrimination, ill health and housing, it was a very jolly parade. After the closing speeches at the Südblock, the celebrating and discussions continued at three nearby bars.
The Dyke March was very different from the CSD Parade the next day, which included many corporate and political floats, involved a million people and lasted more than six hours in 36° heat.
What I also found exhilarating was the lesbian show at the Schulz Museum. Usually this gay museum is male dominated but this year it had a large lesbian herstory exhibition. It featured early music in podcasts, which visitors could listen to on earphones; film clips from the early lesbian movement; and a range of poets, writers and artists. I saw work from Claude Cahun (1894-1954) that was new to me, and my friend Käte Weiss who founded a woman’s centre and gallery.
I was sad they did not show a copy of Die Freundin, the first known lesbian magazine in the world (1924), recently found in a box in an attic. Spinnboden, the lesbian archive, had to raise €6,000 euros to buy them. Several other gay groups pitched and they are now archived, with copies at Spinnboden to view. The Charlotte Museum Trust in Auckland also has copies as well as other lesbian magazines in different languages.
We were so lucky to stay in Schöneberg, the old gay district I have been visiting since 1986. We were able to see the tribute to poet Hilda Radusch, who survived incarceration in a concentration camp for being lesbian. Hilda and Käte Weiss are no longer with us but their memory is recorded. It was a poignant time for me.
Photos of the march by Brigitte Dummer.
Bay of Islands
Waikato/Central North Island/Hawkes Bay/Te Matau-a-Māui
Otago/Southland/Te taurapa o te waka
Saturday 8 Gay in the Bay Christmas pot lunch pink drinks, 4pm, 2472 State Highway 10, Waipapa. Wear Christmas theme, bring food to share and togs for swimming pool. Gold coin donation. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Sunday 16 December Lesbian Salsa dancing An introduction to salsa, open to all ages, sizes and dance levels; no partner needed, singles welcome. Taught weekly by Susanna, but no class on Sunday October 21, Labour weekend. $10 per class. 6.30-7.30pm, Auckland Women’s Centre, 4 Warnock St, Grey Lynn. Phone Susanna on 021 260 9145.
Sunday 2 Dyke Hike on Waikowhai tracks [Please note new location due to protected kauri.] This series of walkways runs through reserves linked by suburban footpaths and back along the coastline. Lovely harbour views with some muddy parts – be prepared! Moderate. Meet at 11am at the carpark by at the end of Waikowhai Rd in Blockhouse Bay. 3-4 hours. Email email@example.com, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.
Thursday 6 Auckland Pride Special General Meeting Four Auckland Pride members expressed a lack of confidence in the board and requested this Special General Meeting. Any community member can attend, but voting is by members only, and membership closed in November. 6-8pm, Pitt Street Methodist Church, 78 Pitt St, Newton.
Wednesday 12 aLBa end of year celebration and arts and crafts fair, with organic food, funky jewellery and bookstall with Carole Beu from the Women’s Bookshop. Email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP if you or any lesbians you know are interested in booking a stall. Koha box for donations of cash, supermarket vouchers or AT Hop cards for homeless women through Lifewise. Socialise and enjoy the stalls from 5.30pm, free nibbles from 6pm. Please bring cash. Garnet Station, Westmere. Free for members, otherwise $10 at the door.
Friday 14 Singer/songriter Sam RB plays Nomad 5 Pt Chevalier Rd, Pt Chev. 5.30-8.30pm. A mix of originals and covers.
Saturday 15 The Favourite, historical drama screening as part of OutFest. In the early 18th century, a close confidante (Rachel Weisz) of an ailing Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) competes with her cousin (Emma Stone) for influence and power at the English court. 8pm, Academy Cinema, Central Library building, 44 Lorne St, city.
Sunday 16 Coffee & Stroll. 10am, meet for coffee at Brick by Brick (also Facebook), 359 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga – beside Tin Tacks Reserve (see Timespanner). 10.30am a choice of pleasant 40-minute stroll: A is Onehunga foreshore, a loop walk starting and finishing at Onehunga Bay Reserve which offers off-leash and on-leash required areas; B is Cornwall Park, Campbell Rd entrance. To be added to mailing list, message email@example.com.
Sunday 16 Mosaic workshop with Natasha Norton, free, 10am-4pm, Charlotte Museum, 9 Bentinck St, New Lynn. See the Facebook event page.
Thursday 20 Thelma, screening as part of OutFest. A new university student falls in love and discovers she has mysterious powers in this Norwegian paranormal drama. 8pm, Academy Cinema, Central Library building, 44 Lorne St, city.
Friday 21 OUT, screening as part of OutFest. A documentary montage of videos posted on the Internet by young gays, bis, lesbians and transgender people, showing the groundbreaking moment of their coming out. 6.30pm, Academy Cinema, Central Library building, 44 Lorne St, city.
Friday 21 Collette, screening as part of OutFest. Keira Knightley plays the titular French novelist in this biopic. 8pm, Academy Cinema, Central Library building, 44 Lorne St, city.
Saturday 22 Vita & Virginia, screening as part of OutFest. True story romance about the love affair between socialite and author Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) and literary icon Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki). Co-stars Isabella Rossellini. 6pm, Academy Cinema, Central Library building, 44 Lorne St, city.
Summer Saturdays Rainbow Warriors women’s softball team play in the local league at Resthills Park in Glenview, Hamilton, either at 1pm or 3pm, depending on the draw. Check their Facebook page.
Thursdays Social dodgeball for Hamilton takatāpui and LGBTIQ+ people Nau mai haere mai! Folks of all dodgeball abilities are welcome and a gold coin koha is appreciated. 6.30-7.30pm, University of Waikato Faculty of Education Gym just off Gate 4, 213 Hillcrest Rd. See the Facebook page.
Every Sunday until March Lesbian Social Group at Gourmet in the Gardens, rhododendron section of Hamilton Gardens, 4 to 8pm. Look out for the Rainbow flag. See the LSG Facebook page.
Sunday 9 Lesbian Social Group Wetland Walk at Te Aroha. Meet 10am at the entrance on the left as you go into Te Aroha, just off the main road before the bridge. 4km walk, dogs on leads welcome, followed by coffee/cake. Spas available, please pre-book. Phone Donna 027 557 7199.
Friday 14 Lesbian Social Group dinner night 6pm, Original Thai Restaurant, 8 Alma Street, Hamilton. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 December. Bring a $5 wrapped festive season gift for some christmas games. Dust off your Santa/Mrs Claus’s hat and come have some laughs.
From Friday 28 at Vinegar Hill campground. Vinegar Hill is on the banks of the Rangitikei River within the Putai Ngahere Reserve, near the junction of State Highway 54 and State Highway 1, about 5 km north of Hunterville. Some LSG Waikato members are travelling down on this day, others earlier. Email email@example.com if you want to come.
Anytime Self-guided LGBTTI walking tour of 24 historic rainbow locations around Wellington’s waterfront in one hour, free. Start at the former site of Carmen’s Balcony on the corner of Harris and Victoria Sts, now the City Library, walk through Civic Square, onto the waterfront, down to Bats Theatre and then back to the Michael Fowler Centre via Courtenay Place. Hear short eyewitness accounts at each location with your smart device using the interactive Google Map, or download the mp3 audio before you set off. See the website.
Saturday, 1 Rainbow Wellington Christmas banquet Phu Thai Lana, Thai restaurant, 39-41 Vivian St, cnr Tory St. Pre-dinner drinks from 6.30pm, dinner after 7pm. BYO wine (no corkage fee) and fully licensed. $40 for Rainbow Wellington financial members, $50 non-members. Deposits to Rainbow Wellington account 03-0566-0164688-000 with your name and banquet.
Sunday 9 Lesbian Overlanders Waikanae River walk. Meet about 10.20am at the Olive Grove cafe between the Mahara Gallery and the Shoreline Movie theatre in the Waikanae shopping area. We walk from the cafe along Marae Lane to the river, follow it downstream to the lower footbridge, Otaihanga Park and then to the beach. Then back upstream on the south bank to complete the loop, and to the shops, cafes or train.
An easy flat walk, about an hour to hour and half each way – boots not needed. A swim at the beach or a splash in the river is possible. The Suffrage Year exhibition Being female here and now at the Mahara Gallery is open 1-4pm on Sunday. Text Lainey if you are coming on 027 303 9006.
The Tasman Lesbian Connection (TLC) sends a monthly email of events in the area, Nelson and Motueka in particular. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to go on the mailing list or for more details of any events.
The Christchurch Women’s Centre keeps a diary of events in Christchurch and elsewhere on their Lesbian Support (now “Rainbow Support”) page. Check events on the Christchurch LGBT social events page. The Lambda Trampers and Lambda Lattes are mixed social tramping and walking groups for lesbians and gays living in and around Christchurch, and their friends.
Friday 14 CAMP! Drag show and dance party, with drag talent and DJs to keep you dancing throughout the night, including Nyte Mare, Poppy Beardhammer, Peggy The Basic Cheesecake, Fantasia D’Vyne, Lady Bubbles, Aurora Borealis, Tony Chestnut, Reno Remitál, Sera Tonin and Aurora Storm. Hosted by Hugo Grrrl, best dressed prizes, $10- $20 from Eventfinder, 7.30pm, A Rolling Stone, 579 Colombo St, Christchurch. See the Facebook event page.
Saturday 1 Wild Women Walk at Waikouaiti, combining beach, lagoon & Matanaka farm & finishing with a shared lunch. Meet for a 9.30am departure from George St by the Woodhaugh Gardens entrance & bridge. Carshare from there. $5pp contribution to drivers. Bring food to share. Drive on to northern motorway for ~30m to Waikouaiti. Turn R into Beach St (signposted to beach & motorcamp), and L into Stewart St & park at 48 Stewart St where the walk begins. RSVP by Thursday Nov 29 to email@example.com or text 022 133 9529. If weather unsuited for walk meet at that address at noon for shared lunch.