Haratua (May)

Our Haratua update – all items collected in one handy page!

Dyke Diary

Ngā pitopito kōrero, News

Building a national rainbow strategy
National Shift hui
Rolling out Silver Rainbow training
Will the Whangarei circle be broken?
Rainbow Youth moves house
Whangaflock alights
Wellington activists heading to ILGA World

Building a National Rainbow Strategy

shift hui 2016 insideOUT-13Takatāpui activist Elizabeth Kerekere (Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Whānau a Kai) ran the first workshop in a long round of discussions towards a National Rainbow Strategy at the recent Shift youth hui in Wellington (see more about the hui below).

Elizabeth, founder and chair of Wellington-based takatāpui group Tiwhanawhana Trust, will lead the trust and work with Rainbow leaders to develop the Strategy. She hopes “to co-ordinate our efforts across the country, highlight the issues for different parts of the Rainbow spectrum, and make us aware of each other’s issues”.

shift hui 2016 insideOUT-18At the Shift workshop, “40 young people discussed the values that need to underpin the Strategy and its development; the components we need to be mindful of, such as  our diverse sexualities and genders; the structural ‘isms’ we face such as racism, colonialism, patriarchy, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; and the specific issues young people face. These included the curriculum, bullying in schools and homelessness. It was very quick-fire.”

“Last week I was part of the Intersex Round table. We discussed the genital ‘normalising’ surgery for intersex babies that is routine and legal in Aotearoa – getting rid of that is a priority,” she says. She has a meeting scheduled with Auckland Council’s Rainbow Advisory Group in August to discuss the Strategy.

By the end of the year Tiwhanawhana Trust also intends to have held a Wellington hui of kaumātua – LGBTIQ people aged over 60 who have been active in Rainbow issues over decades – a research symposium and run a Strategy workshop at the Takatāpui Hui-a-Motu. The work is currently self-funded; “if we get funding, we will bring people together to discuss solutions, and how we build the capacity and infrastructure we need in our communities.”

EK Takatapui Workshop 1“The National Rainbow Strategy will be kaupapa-Māori based and Treaty-based from the beginning”, says Elizabeth. She hopes to engage with community organisations, allies and government agencies, and different cultures including Pacific, migrant and refugee peoples. She plans to tour the country in 2017, holding regional community hui and meeting Rainbow groups in each area, “to ensure that the Strategy values their work and incorporates their goals and priorities” she says.

Elizabeth’s vision is to gain community consensus on priorities for action. “For example, we could choose three key laws that need to be changed over the next two years and agree we’re all going to push for this. Reports and meetings will be important, but protest raises awareness of issues, and poetry, songs and art capture people’s hearts. I want our creativity to be an integral part of it.” She’s not thinking of the Strategy as a static document; “it will be a living and evolving entity in its own right – the first of its kind”.

Email Elizabeth.

Watch out for Elizabeth on new anti-violence ad

itsnotokElizabeth is the first Rainbow person to be included in an It’s Not OK campaign advertisement against family violence. This ad is the second of the series aimed at changing social norms about violence. See the ads this month on Sky channels, popular programmes on free-to-air channels and Maori TV.


Shift success

Shift hui2The annual Shift Hui, for queer and gender diverse people aged from 13 to 22, attracted 105 young people from Whangarei to Dunedin to Wellington in late April.

Another 14 young people and 44 slightly older people associated with Wellington-based youth group InsideOUT helped organise the event. The hui included a range of workshops, including sharing stories about identities, learning about healthy relationships, leadership and running groups. Practical life skills workshops included how to change a tyre, tie a tie, vogue (house dance) and write creatively.

Says Tabby Besley, InsideOUT’s national co-ordinator, “It was incredible to see the confidence and support that grew around the young people who attended Shift throughout the weekend. Many of them came in extremely anxious, but something had definitely ‘shifted’ in them by the end. We had families asking ‘What did you do to my child?’ as they didn’t recognise the talkative, bouncy, smiling person they picked up to take home. Being in a space like this where you are fully accepted and free to be yourself, surrounded by like-minded people is pretty powerful.”

Many will be going home to set up or lead support groups in their schools and communities and spread what they have learnt in their own regions.

Tabby says that InsideOUT hopes to run Shift in the North and South islands next year, to make it more accessible for people across the country.


Rolling out the Silver Rainbow

The first Silver Rainbow seal has been awarded since the national training service for the aged care sector transferred to Affinity Services, an Auckland-based non-profit community mental health organisation.

SR launchA University of Auckland team developed the Silver Rainbow training kit with videos to counter heterosexism in the sector, and a train-the-trainer programme. Affinity already runs a Rainbow Liaison and Training team for the mental health sector and service users, and the Rainbow Tick certification process for companies, as well as providing mental health services for 400 people in the Auckland region.

Affinity employed Julie Watson, standing, as permanent part-time Programme Lead for Silver Rainbow in late 2015, and launched the service in March. It includes an organisational needs analysis and education workshop for care workers and managers, which aims to make services inclusive and safe for people of all sexes, genders and sexualities. Once an aged care facility has completed the workshop and needs analysis, they receive a Silver Rainbow Seal that is valid for two years.

“We’re not using words like audit or accreditation,” says Julie. “We want to help people, not test them or set them up to fail. We aim to work beside them so they can achieve a seal and use us as a resource.”

Silver-Rainbow-logoThe service’s steering group includes aged care consultant Jessica Buddendijk; Claire Mooney, who formerly managed the project at the University of Auckland; OUTLine general manager Trevor Easton; Stephen Parks of the Rule Foundation; and dementia specialist Nigel George, of the University of Auckland and the Auckland DHB.

Julie started by expanding the service to add trans and intersex people, and piloting and refining the expanded kit, needs analysis and workshop. The needs analysis looks at indicators of inclusivity in policies, forms, marketing, staff training, and resources for residents such as libraries. “They’re not tokenistic signals but genuine inclusion,” she says. “For example, if you’re a lesbian do you feel comfortable taking your partner to visit your mum?” During her work, Julie has become aware of the significant number of lesbian and gay staff in aged care.

On May 2, the programme awarded its first Silver Rainbow seal to Awanui Rest Home in Auckland, an independent secure dementia unit.

SR water“If an organisation wants to renew their seal, we revisit,” says Julie. The sector has a high staff turnover, so she expects ongoing staff training. An onsite workshop costs $500 for three hours with 20 people; “$25 a head for a half a day – we think that’s pretty accessible”. For smaller organisations who cannot spare 20 staff at once, public Silver Rainbow workshops are offered at the Affinity headquarters in central Auckland for $50 a person.

The workshop includes discussion about other residents’ behaviour. “Residents sign an agreement on behaviour when they enter. If they make another person’s life terrible they do have to be censured. I’ve heard about people who’ve sexually harassed others being asked to move to another facility.”

A needs assessment costs $500 for up to five hours’ consultation. “That includes walking through, talking to small groups of staff, reading forms and policies. I would detail anything I thought needed to be looked at.”

Julie has run six workshops so far, mostly onsite, and has workshops booked in Wellington, Motueka and Christchurch. One of Nigel’s PhD students is studying the success of the project has been and whether it is changing attitudes.

The next Silver Rainbow public workshop is on June 13 from 9.30am, at level 1, 300 Great South Rd, Greenlane, in the Affinity boardroom.

See the Facebook page; contact Julie on 027 700 0432 or by email.

Jenny R

Will the Whangarei circle be broken?

Circle regionThe Whangarei Lesbian Takatāpui Bisexual Queer Women’s Circle will be wound up at a meeting on May 24 unless other women offer to take over the organising.

An AGM of eight women in April voted for the move, as the treasurer and list organiser did not want to continue and turnout at meetings was low. Newsletters had become irregular and the regular pub nights had not been well attended.

Most of those attending have been aged over 40, with occasional younger women. Few phone or email enquiries had been received in the past year. List organiser Fran Hazid thought attendance may have reduced because “it’s easier to socialise now, since we’re more mainstreamed – people don’t feel like they need the support”.

If no one else wants to re-energise the group, the May meeting will decide on what to do with more than $900 in the group’s account.

The group started in 2004, and ran monthly pub nights, several dances, and irregular camping weekends, dinners, car rallies and garage sale fundraisers.

The meeting will be held at 6pm at Careers New Zealand Whangarei office, Spire House, 35 Robert St.

Contact the group at whgcircle@hotmail.com.


Rainbow Youth moves house

RY-Abbey-StAuckland’s Rainbow Youth will open its new office with a dawn pōwhiri and blessing on Sunday May 22, followed by kai and socialising.

The group long ago outgrew its tiny shopfront on Karangahape Rd, where it had lived for 15 years, and staff are revelling in the spacious and light new rooms just down the road.

The new location runs between Edinburgh and Abbey Sts parallel to the western end of Karangahpe Rd. The main drop-in centre entrance is at the end of Abbey St (top), and the staff entrance is 11 Edinburgh St. The space includes a large open area, with new furniture; offices at either end, including a meeting or quiet room; a much cleaner kitchen, two gender-neutral toilets, free wi-fi and space for the community wardrobe and library.

RY-Edinburgh-StIt is big enough for events, can be rented by other organisations, and enables staff to do more than one thing at a time, including dealing with young people in crisis.

The office at 11 Edinburgh St (left) is open from 11am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. See the RY website.


Wangaflock alights

JenniferWhangaflockA social group for lesbians/gay women in Whanganui, Wangaflock, is now established, and founder Jennifer Colton-Dougherty, pictured, plans to establish a Wangaflock website and a Whanganui LGBT association as an easily accessible and visible point of contact for social, events, support, and advocacy.

Five women came to the first Pink Drinks gathering, and two more have since linked in.

“We had great conversation and a good laugh. We also realised that between us we knew of at least another 20 lesbians and gay women in Whanganui,” says Jennifer.

“I had a busy month beforehand checking out potential gay-friendly places where we can meet, talking with various LGBT people and community organisations like the Community House and the Women’s Network Centre, putting out posters and advertising. I also met the women who contacted me one-to-one for coffee before the first meeting so they would at least know someone and it would be less nerve racking.”

Wangaflock plans to meet on the first Friday of the month for Pink Drinks, and on the third Sunday for lunch.

“As well as getting visible social groups going so people don’t have to feel isolated, I also like to be available to meet LGBT women one-to-one. Sometimes we just need a friendly person to talk with when dealing with society’s biases and myths to feel that life is worth living.”

Jennifer firmly believes in face-to-face contact. “The internet has its value, but to build a strong, healthy local LGBT community we need more than ‘someone in cyberspace with no face’. We need to be seen here as valuable and contributing to of this jolly community, no more shame or second-class citizen status or feeling it is better to remain hidden. The more we are linked, the more we can do for ourselves on a whole raft of issues, taking responsibility as a community for our own health and welfare.”

“For example I would like to see a Whanganui LGBT Association stand at the local vibrant River Traders Market each Saturday, where people can chat to us, link in, or find support or information. And to raise awareness that we are the butcher, baker and nurse – just ordinary people.” Jennifer wants to build a group of keen people and asks anyone interested to get in contact.

“There have been great changes made over my life-time and I praise all that have pressed through so much, but there is still a way to go in acceptance especially in the smaller townships.”

Organising the social group and canvassing for the Whanganui LGBT association idea inspired Jennifer to get a T-shirt printed: “It has an Approved stamp with the words ‘100% God Made Lesbian’ over it. It might cause a stir, she says, but it is where, what, and who I am after 57 years.”

Email Wangaflock


Wellington activists heading to ILGA World

The ILGA (International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association) Oceania Human Rights and Health Conference was held in Wellington in March as part of Proud. One of the outcomes was increased interest in participation in international ILGA events.

ILGA logoA sub-group of the original conference team are fundraising to send at least one more Wellington person to the ILGA World conference in Bangkok in late November. ILGA Oceania Board representatives Rawa Karetai (also now an ILGA World Board representative) and Mani Mitchell are already attending.

The first of a planned series of fundraising activities is an afternoon tea (donated by Field & Green) and garden tour hosted by Des Smith and John Jollif in Ngaio, on Saturday May 7 from 1-4pm for $15.

Lesbian Conor Twyford, one of the organisers, says “We’re initially fundraising for Bella Simpson, a young transwoman, to build up youth voices and experiences in queer communities in an international setting.” If sufficient funding is raised for Bella, the group plans to continue fundraising to increase the number and diversity of attendees from Aotearoa. At least one lesbian is keen to participate.

Thanks to the sponsorship provided, all money raised will go to a dedicated account for the ILGA World. To book, or for more information, email the organisers.

Donation online to Wellington Gay Welfare Group, 38-9012-0255378-00 with the reference B. Simpson.


A positive deviant

Out lesbian feminist Rachael Le Mesurier has made a career of leading organisations that advocate for social justice, equality and human rights. She spoke with Jenny Rankine, first about coming out and then about her roles leading major New Zealand non-government organisations.

Rachael“I was aware of being attracted to other girls when I was about 13. I was very lucky – we had these two dykes living at the end of our road in Devonport who were very out. My family were warm and welcoming of them. They were my brorher’s best friends! But I was scared shitless of them because I thought they would know, and of course they did. I didn’t tell anyone for two years, then my parents emigrated to the UK and I put it all on hold. Then they split up a year later and it went on hold for longer. In the end I came out when I got to university.”

Rachael did a law degree at Sussex University whilst becoming politically involved in feminist and lesbian activism. “I helped set up Brighton Women’s Centre, and started the first young lesbian group in the UK.” She trained as a barrister, but chose to return to her voluntary work rather than carry on in law. She worked at the Brighton Welfare Rights Centre, the Bristol Women’s centre and lesbian campaigning groups on some of the major issues during the Thatcher years ­– deportations, Section 28 of the Local Government Act against homosexual rights, abortion law, anti-fascism, miners’ rights and others. Her first paid job was with the Citizens Advice Bureau in Catford, Lewisham, initially as an advice worker and soon as manager of Mitcham CAB.

Learning about disability advocacy

When she returned to Aotearoa, her first job was as the Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) from 1996 to 99. “It’s a national support organisation for people and families living with neuromuscular conditions; it was opportunity to build my knowledge about disability and discrimination in New Zealand. I helped the association relocate from a tiny house in Papatoetoe to a large purpose-built location in Morningside, which offered space to other neurological organisations, supporting people with Parkinsons, motor neurone disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. It was a fully disabled access building, one of the first at that time.”

RM1“Those organisations are the Cinderella of the health sector – they receive less financial support and rely on already over-burdened families to make things happen. Few families have the time after the work of caring to do any political advocacy. Many disability NGOs had only part-time field officers; with the MDA move they could offer shared support and resources. We were able to increase our services. We helped start the first national neurological network, and we were able to advocate with a unified voice on key issues, especially around medicines and Pharmac.”

Having seen the possibility of a career in the non-profit sector in the UK, Rachael decided to try to build a career in NGOs, so she moved to Wellington for a job leading the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.

“There were very few CEOs who had built a career in the  NFP sector at that time; there were a lot of male bank managers, a couple of ex-Army men, and other people who had taken it up as a retirement job. I was 33 in the MDA job and 36 when I got down to Wellington – it was quite unusual to have a younger person in that role.”

However, she decided to leave after only a year in the role. “I felt bad about returning to Auckland. I’d fallen in love and I didn’t like living with the earthquakes in Wellington – my first day was when a big 6.7 hit! It wasn’t feasible to bring the national role to Auckland so despite enjoying the role and feeling very responsbile for causing such a hassle for the board, I resigned.”

Her next position was as northern regional director with the Family Planning Association, responsible for clinics and health promotion in the area north of Palmerston North. “It was a great organisation to work for; it mixed clinical services, health promotion and advocacy on sexual and reproductive rights. I started the first lesbian fertility clinic – but even in Auckland there weren’t enough clients to keep it going. I was part of a senior team that brought about a more efficient structure, creating one national clinical service and a national health promotion service, so I made myself redundant!”

Leading the NZ AIDS Foundation

Rachael owed her next Executive Director role to a chance meeting with Kevin Hague, now a Green Party MP, but then the outgoing Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, which was seeking his replacement. “I said, ‘I’m a lesbian, they won’t want me!’ but he told me to apply. I was probably as surprised as most of the gay male community when I was offered the job. My being a lesbian was an issue for a very small proportion of the gay community but for the majority not at all.”

RMTPPA March, Feb 2016“Within 18 months, we’d hosted the Pan-Pacific HIV/AIDS conference, the largest HIV conference for the Pacific and the first for New Zealand. Soon after we brought in the first rapid HIV testing kit in the Southern hemisphere, turning around the very low number of tests we were doing per year. This also led to setting up the Access To Medicines group of NGOs, which lobbied Pharmac for improved access to funded medicines. We also brought in a social marketing approach. Health promotion used to be ‘do a poster and people will use a condom’. It became obvious that didn’t change behaviour.”

“We looked at research on social marketing and the men who have sex with men who we wanted to reach, and stopped producing posters. We used social media, peer pressure, community engagement, ambassadors, a range of strategies – it had to be sexy. You can’t be frightened or bludgeoned into using a condom. It was a different way of promoting health as it made us focus on what makes us change our actual behaviours.”

“We were the first NGO in the world to produce a live video of a condom being put on an erect willy. A very plain and non-sexy instructional video, but it got huge numbers of hits! We did a lot of evaluations, before and after campaigns. With increased testing and savvy and effective social marketing, we managed to bring down the HIV diagnosis rate by 2010 to one of the lowest since 1999. We also made good decisions for the broader LGBTI community. There was a lot of pressure for NZAF to drop the organising of Big Gay Out, but I resisted that – it provides a great platform for more than NZAF to reach our communities.”

The NZAF has a “very highly engaged workforce, which was often a delight but sometimes a challenge. We introduced the first heterosexual programme for African communties, and there was a small internal revolt. However, very soon the programme was accepted – it helped that one of the African male health promoters was drop-dead gorgeous! There was concern about Muslim fundamentalists, but that never happened – the majority of people affected by HIV were Zimbabwean who are secular or Christian, and were very appreciative of the support offered by the gay male community.”

Rachael led the NZAF at the time a lot of community-based HIV organisations in developed countries “were debating who owned the organisations. Some thought it was a gay male organisation working in HIV, and others thought it was an HIV organisation working with gay people. Our trust deed was in the second camp – legally it was very clear. However it was also clear that lesbian and straight women had been involved all the way along”

“It’s a natural and healthy tension, common in disability and health organisations set up by the people who need the support. Researchers, health experts, support groups, affected communities and HIV-negative gay men can have very different views, and the management in the middle has to make it work. I think we did it well; the groups for people with HIV grew in this time – particularly Positive Women, which was a priority for me. It also provided an anchor for the emerging and very diverse African communities. There was no funding for anything else African – it gave a structure for those communities to develop.”

After seven years at NZAF, Rachael left and worked as a consultant in New Zealand and across the Pacific on human rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health for organisations including UN Women, UNAIDS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “I’d been cynical and suspicious of consultants; I felt they tended to tell an organisation what they needed to do better and then leave, and not always understanding the complexity of implementing it. It was good to try it out from the other side – I learned a lot but in the end came back to wanting to be in the challenge for the long haul, working with talented teams to do what we can to make the world a better place.”

“But it really helped me understand the context in the Pacific, the challenges and strengths of civil society, of women’s, lesbian and gay, and HIV groups. Lesbians and same-sex-attracted women tend to be on the periphery of the gay and fa’afafine groups in the Pacific. We’re still a long way from women being free to fall in love and live safely with whom they wish.”


Heading Oxfam

Rachael oxfamRachael has been in her current job, as Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, for just over two years. “It’s one of 18 global Oxfam organisations, so we get the advantages of global campaigns about inequalities and climate change that we couldn’t drive on our own. It started in the 1940s in the UK, and now there is an Oxfam shop on practically every high street.”

“It’s relatively new in New Zealand, one of the younger NGOs focused on supporting development of communities and groups in less well-resourced countries. I’ve been delighted by the number of lesbians I’ve found who are Oxfam supporters – I had no idea of the ones in my own social network.”

She recently put her body behind her beliefs, walking 50k around Whakatane and Ohope in the Oxfam Trailwalker event as part of a women’s team of four called the Cryptic Cross Country Queens. “It’s a really important event for Oxfam; it raises significant money for our work in the Pacific. I loved seeing how many people truly put their bodies and considerable determination into the event – particularly as the weather was horrible!” She is pictured above with her partner Linda during the event.

Rachael thinks it’s an exciting time to be involved with Oxfam. “Globally Oxfam is going through big changes, building more autonomous organisations in the countries that have traditionally been the recipients of its work. For us that means building a regional Oxfam in the Pacific with our pacific partners, we’ve already started in Suva; and will hopefully get there by 2019. That is a transformation, understanding how to be an equal partner with emerging Oxfams in those countries, not a benefactor or the manager of the funds given.”

Finding new income for NGOs

The other challenge is to the income of development organisations and NGOs. “Charities can’t always expect to get most of their income from government funding – we have to find other ways to raise money. We need to look to a social enterprise model; there aren’t many charities from a government-funded model that have moved in that direction.” Oxfam is looking at all possible income streams, she says.

“It could be from a product that we sell, (like the Cancer Society’s sunscreen), or a hybrid training programme funded by the government, where apprentices earn income for the programme. It could be asking supporters to buy one product and give one to a family in the Pacific. We aim to have a viable income stream on top of public donations that allows us to be independent, to innovate and adapt. We need an income stream that we can take risks with – run radical campaigns, experiment with new development processes which could fail – we don’t want to use government funding or donors for that.”

Rachael says she’s never had a problem as an out lesbian CEO. “I’ve always made it clear when I was offered the job. There’s never been a blink; it’s never been a problem with staff or boards, whether in a gay-focused NGO like NZAF or a heterosexual one like Family Planning. And I’ve never been the only one. I will talk about Linda as much as others around me. People accept it, and ask about my step-children.”

Rachael says that her political activism has been very influential in her work. “I’ve learnt from radical lesbian feminists, radical takatāpui, radical gay men, radical fa’afafine, radical disability activists; they’ve shaped me hugely. New Zealand has similar challenges about inequalities and injustice, we haven’t ‘solved’ domestic violence or inequality for women despite decades of activism. We can’t turn round and slam developing nations for being slow when they are just beginning to struggle with changing social norms on violence against women and girls – it takes decades and generations.”

“Lesbian feminism has influenced my understanding of human rights and power dynamics. It stuns me that some in international development don’t understand that they are part of the power dynamic that’s playing out, that the ‘personal is political’. That those who are White, tertiary trained, middle-class and heterosexual have a great deal of privilege and power in their own well-resourced countries. As a lesbian I know what it means to be marginalised, and as a feminist I have learned how my being Pākehā, middle-class and able-bodied puts me in the privileged majority.”

“Organisations like Oxfam have huge potential to effectively support women and marginalised groups in developing countries, who are wanting to challenge power, injustice and the drivers of poverty. The international development sector describes activists who challenge power structures using new or different tools and approaches as ‘positive deviants’. A lesbian feminist somewhere probably coined that. I think I’ve been a positive deviant all my life!”

Media/Te ao pāpāho

Cafe art with Sam RB
Graphic lesbian memoir

Cafe art with Sam RB

FrasersSamRBFancy a coffee and snack, or a meal, with viewing art? Like contemporary art surrounding you when you go out for a meal? Now you can do both, and it’s lesbian art besides!
Sam RB, well-known to us for some time as a musician, is now also becoming well-known as an artist.
Her second exhibition is in Mt Eden this month, at Frasers, corner of Mt Eden and Stokes Rds. “If you’re going to try and exhibit in a cafe where people aren’t going specifically for art, then you may as well give it a go in a busy one!” she says.
The works are inspired by Auckland nostalgia, “something I’ve realised I’m only beginning to really experience (and enjoy) as I enter my mid-forties.”
All the art work is for sale, the exhibition runs from Tuesday May 3 to Tuesday 31, and Sam may well be there: she lives locally and could join you for a cuppa.

Graphic lesbian memoir

SnapshotsOfAGirlBeldan SezenSerendipity is a wonderful thing.
You wander into a public library, not looking for anything in particular. (You may, perhaps, be avoiding doing things you are meant to be doing …)

“That looks interesting”, you say to yourself, picking up Snapshots of a Girl. It’s a graphic memoir, interesting images on the cover (don’t believe anyone who says they don’t judge a book that way), not a Western European person. Better, a woman. Then, amazing! – a lesbian!!

When you are reading any book, there are several elements that you might respond to: at a minimum, what is written, and the way it is written. Often there is something about the audience, what kind of message (deliberate or not) that the author is conveying. When you have a graphic novel, you also have the, well, graphic elements to consider: what is shown, what is not, what the style is like, use of colour (or not). ‘Graphic’, of course, also means revealing, and this also applies to this work.

Snapshots is practically perfect. First published in English in 2015 (in Italian in 2014), it’s astonishing, remarkable, inspiring. It is at the same time both a very familiar story and a very foreign one. Many of us will understand and empathise – perhaps remember – the coming out processes: dealing with men, dealing with feelings for women. Then there is getting involved with women’s communities, the excitement, the challenges and the traumas.

Sezen was born in Germany to Turkish parents, and her experience of being foreign, and theirs, while not the same, inform every page of her work as well.

Snapshots is held by Auckland City Libraries, and may be available in other libraries around the country – request it, if not. For another astonishing view of Sezen’s work, check out the postcards produced as part of her ‘Butch It Up’ project, funded by the Astrea Foundation. Follow her on Twitter.

Dyke Diary

Information is organised by region (north to south, then overseas), then by date.

Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau
Waikato/Central North Island
Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara
Nelson area/Whakatū


Sunday 1-Sunday 8 Paid Parental Leave (PPL) events around the country organised by 26 for Babies, in support of the second reading of the Bill to extend PPL to 26 weeks, likely to be debated rainbow UNon Wednesday 4, and marking Mothers’ Day on Sunday 8. See the website.

Tuesday 17 International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), organised by the United Nations Human Rights Office project, Free & Equal. See the video and the website.PinkShirtDayLogo

Friday 20 Pink Shirt Day an international day against bullying, with a particular focus on LGBTI youth. Visit the website and Facebook page for details of activities and events.

Auckland / Tamaki Makaurau

Sunday 1 Dyke Hike Atiu Creek, Wellsford. North on State Highway 1 to Wellsford, left onto Port Albert Rd, right at the intersection with State Highway 16 and head toward Port Albert. Turn left at the junction of Port Albert and Wharehine Rds. Follow Wharehine Rd for a further 6km and turn right onto Run Rd. The park is 5km on the right. Meet at the park car park. 3 hours. Grade: Easy (okay for regular walking shoes, not many hills). Email hike@lesbian.co.nz, visit www.lesbian.co.nz or the Facebook page.

SamRB exhibitionTuesday 3 – Tuesday 31 SamRB painting exhibition, Frasers Cafe, 434 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden village, inspired by nostalgia.

Wednesday 4 26 weeks parental leave for babies picnic, 9.30-11.30am, Alberon Reserve, Parnell. Help make the giant Mothers’ Day card the campaign will deliver to John Key and hear speaker Jacinta Fa’alili-Fidow, manager of TAHA Well Pacific Mother and Infant Service at the University of Auckland. Bring food, babies, toys and games, all supporters welcome. Organised by the NZ Nurses Organisation, others unions and advocacy groups in support of the second reading of the Paid Parental Leave Bill. See the Facebook event page.

Friday 6 1.30pm & Wednesday 11 6.30pm Those Happy Years (Anni Felici) Italian Film Festival, Academy Cinema, Lorne St, central city. Set in 1970s Italy, with a lesbian sub-plot, although no promises of a happy (lesbian) ending: “his previously devoted wife’s extra-marital inclinations” is code for “she has an affair with a woman friend”.

EquasianSaturday 7 EquAsian Coffee Group 3pm, for Asians within the rainbow community. Friends and family welcome. Socialise and meet like-minded people. Held every first Saturday of the month. 3pm. Visit the EquAsian Facebook page, and for location, email info@equasian.org.nz.

Wednesday 11 aLBa meeting Garnet Station, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere. 6pm, Sonya Apa Temata, clinical nurse, Auckland Sexual Health service: recipient of the NZNO Award, Service to Nursing/Midwifery, Sonya has a passion for indigenous health, LGQTBI/ Pasifika Rainbow space, social justice, equity and equality, advocacy and activism and a keen interest in public health and policy, politics, and strategic planning. $10 non-members; aLBa members, no charge.

OrbachFriday 13 “Feminist Days” Susie Orbach: the author of Fat is a Feminist Issue talks with Carole Beu, Women’s Bookshop. 1-2pm, Auckland Writers Festival, tickets $25/$20/$12.50.

Urzila1Friday 13, Saturday 14 Urzila Carlson, Unacceptable, International Comedy Festival. 7pm. Skycity Theatre, tickets $28/$30.


WintersonOrbachFriday 13 “Creativity & Craziness” Jeanette Winterson and Susie Orbach riff with each other and the audience on the subject of madness and creativity. Auckland Writers Festival, 9-10pm, tickets $25/$20/$12.50.

equasianagmSaturday 14 Equasian AGM 3-6pm, Rainbow Youth, 11 Edinburgh St, Auckland central. Visit Facebook event page for details.

WintersonOrbachSaturday 14 “Creativity & Craziness” Jeanette Winterson and Susie Orbach riff with each other and the audience on the subject of madness and creativity. Auckland Writers Festival, 3-4pm, tickets $25/$20/$12.50.

ToppTwinsAPOSaturday 14 Untouchable: The Topp Twins & the APO 8pm, Auckland Town Hall. Tickets $20-95 from Ticketmaster.  Visit Facebook event page for details.

ToppTwinsAWFSunday 15 “Do your ears hang low?” Topp Twins 9-10am, Auckland Writers Festival, ticketed but free for 12s and under; students $12.50, adults $25.

Sunday 15 Coffee & Stroll 10am, meet for coffee at Domain & Ayr, 492 Parnell Rd, Parnell; 10.30am, a pleasant 40-minute or so stroll: around the Domain, if weather permits, or around the museum if that is a better option.

WintersonSunday 15 “The Gap of Time” Jeanette Winterson 10.30-11.30am, Auckland Writers Festival, tickets $25/$20/$12.50.

Sunday 15 Fifth Season Gardening Group visits Grahame Dawson and Alex Ross’s garden, with an orchidarium, waterfall, reflecting pond, outdoor entertaining areas, topiary, dry river bed, mature cycads and palms. Meet at 6 Woodford Rd, Mt Eden, 1.30pm; followed at 2.15pm by afternoon tea at Ralph’s Café, 225B Dominion Rd, Mt Eden. Email Ron Judd or phone 021 031 5446.

170px-Eileen_Myles_at_the_2008_Brooklyn_Book_FestivalThursday 19 Eileen Myles US performer, memoirist and ‘rock star of modern poetry’, the only NZ appearance. 5-6pm, Auckland University’s Owen G Glenn Building, Case Room 2/057, 12 Grafton Rd, central Auckland.

Reading, Q&A. Free.

Saturday 21 Mosaic workshop from 10am, may run Sunday as well if requested. Charlotte Museum, 8a Bentinck St,  New Lynn, email the museum (charlottemuseum@gmail.com) or phone 550 7403 to book.

equasianSaturday 21 EquAsian potluck dinner Social group for Asians within the rainbow community. Meet new people and bring a plate of food to share! For location, email info@equasian.org.nz or visit Facebook page.

InsideTheChineseClosetSunday 22 3.45pm, Saturday 28 5pm Inside the Chinese Closet Doc Edge Film Festival, Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, central Auckland. Tickets $17, concessions available.

AklndPrideFestCommunityHuiSaturday 28 Auckland Pride Festival Community Hui (first of 2), 2pm, Studio One Toi Tū, 1 Ponsonby Rd. Details on Facebook event page.

Sunday 29  Badge-making workshop  1-3pm, Charlotte Museum, 8a Bentinck St,  New Lynn, email the museum (charlottemuseum@gmail.com) or phone 550 7403 to book.


Sunday 29 Dykes on Mikes open performance space for lesbians, 7pm, Garnet Station, 85 Garnet Rd, Westmere. Koha at the door. Details on Facebook event page.

BGASGTuesday 31 Boardgames are so gay! Peach Pit, 352 Karangahape Rd, central Auckland. 7pm, koha suggested: $1. Some boardgames provided, you are welcome to bring any you wish to share. For LGBTQIA mates and allies; visit Facebook event page for details.

Waikato/Central North Island

Sunday 1 Lesbian Social Club ten-pin bowling 3.45pm, games start at 4pm. The Bowlevard, upstairs, Sky City Casino. Two games with space for 24 players, email lsg@hamiltonpride.co.nz to book.

ShiftWhanganuiSaturday 21 10am-8pm & Sunday 22 10am-4pm Shift Whanganui Whanganui Tuhopo Complex (Rangahaua Marae), 97 Bell St. An opportunity for youth to understand, explore and create solutions to support the challenges and aspirations faced by young people of diverse sexual orientation and gender, making Whanganui a more diversity-friendly community. Details on Facebook event page.

Saturday 21 Lesbian Social Club Dinner, The Bank bar & brasserie, cnr Victoria and Hood Sts, Hamilton, 6.30pm. Email lsg@hamiltonpride.co.nz to book your seat.

Sunday 22 DecoDivas potluck lunch 12 noon, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, email DecoDivas for venue.

Friday 27 DecoDivas drinks 6.30pm, Cabana, Napier city.

Wellington/ Te Whanganui-a-Tara

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.

Urzila1Wednesday 4-Saturday 7 (4 nights) Urzila Carlson, Unacceptable, International Comedy Festival. 8pm. Mac’s Function Centre, Shed 22, tickets $28/$30.

fundraiseforbellaSaturday 7 Garden party fundraiser for ILGA World conference 1-4pm, fundraising for Bella Simpson, to build up youth voices and experiences in queer communities in an international setting. Afternoon tea and garden tour, $15. Email fundraiseforbella@gmail.com for details.

InsideTheChineseClosetSaturday 7 5.30pm, Thursday 12 6.15pm Inside the Chinese Closet Doc Edge Film Festival, The Roxy, 5 Park Rd, Miramar. Tickets $17, concessions available.

OITPCommunityConsultationMeetingTuesday 10 Out In The Park Community Consultation meeting 6-8pm, St Andrews on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, central Wellington. Help celebrate the 2016 Wellington Pride Festival I Tū whakahīhī e Te Whanganui-ā-Tara, Out in the Park and Wellington Pride Parade; let the organisers know what you enjoyed and give your thoughts and ideas about what you’d like to see next year; if you would like to get involved and help plan next years’ events, this is a way to find out what is going on. Details on Facebook event page.

Tuesday 17 Rainbow Wellington dinner Pizza banquet, Mediterranean Food Warehouse, 42 Constable St, Newtown; 6.30-8.30pm. Entertainment by musician Italiano. Antipasto, pizza with sparkling water or wine, a sweet, coffee and tea. $45 members, $55 non-members. RSVP essential by Friday 13 to rainbowwellington@gmail.com.

Charlotte Yates & Gil Eva CraigThursday 19 Charlotte Yates & Gil Eva Craig Thunderbird Cafe, 154 Featherston St, Wellington Central. 5.30-7.30pm, free entry. “Two decent sized sets of original acoustic music with acoustic guitar/acoustic bass/tenor/horn/vocals”. Visit Facebook event page or www.charlotteyates.com for details.


Saturday 21 Women’s Red Dance 8-12pm, Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba St, Te Aro (corner Cuba St and Karo Dr). $15 and $12, come along wearing RED! DJ and supper provided. Visit Facebook event page for details.

Fabulunch2016Sunday 29 Fabulunch 2016! 12.30-3.30pm, Portofino, 33 Customhouse Quay, central Wellington. Fundraiser for School’s Out, Tranzform and Naming New Zealand. These groups will talk about their work for young Rainbow people; entertainment by Lily Loud Mouth, Blue Virtue and drag kings. $35 adults, $15 children under 14. Cash bar. Discount for groups of 6 or more. Details on Facebook event page.

Nelson area/Whakatū

The Lesbian Connection (TLC) sends a monthly email of events in the area, Nelson and Motueka in particular. Contact them at tlconnection.link@gmail.com to go on the mailing list or for more details of any events.

Wednesday 4 Nelson Pool night, from 5.30pm, Shark Club, 132 Bridge St, Nelson.

Wednesday 11 Nelson Games night, from 5.30pm, Prince Albert Hotel, 113 Nile St, Nelson.

Wednesday 18 Nelson Pool night, from 5.30pm, Shark Club, 132 Bridge St, Nelson.

Saturday 21 Nelson brunch/lunch, 11am, YazaCafe, 117 Hardy St.

Sunday 22 Motueka brunch/lunch, 11am, Elevation Cafe, 218 High St.

Wednesday 25 Nelson Games night, from 5.30pm, Prince Albert Hotel, 113 Nile St, Nelson.


The Christchurch Women’s Centre keeps a diary of events in Christchurch and elsewhere on their Lesbian Support page. Check events on the  Christchurch LGBT social events page.

Lick ChristchurchFriday 27 Lick Christchurch party for girls who like girls from around the South Island, Bean Scene & Cargo Bar, 359 Lincoln Rd, Addington, 10pm-3am, with DJs Knoxette and DangerGirl playing R+B, hip hop, electro jams and hits, $15.


OUSAMonday 16 – Friday 20 Diversity Week, Otago University an annual event aimed at raising awareness and visibility of sex, sexuality and gender diversity on campus. Events on each day, visit website or the OUSA Queer Support Coordinator Facebook page.


LBQ women's health confFriday 27 Lesbian, bisexual and queer women’s health conference: Connections, creativity, care, about mental and sexual health, alcohol and other drug use, and other women’s health issues. Jasper Hotel, 489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, Australia. See the conference website.

News, pix and profiles about lesbians and queer women in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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