Anne Speir profile

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[00:00:00] This program was funded by a generous grant from the gay Oakland Business Association charitable trust. For more information visit gabba.org.nz said [00:00:12] my name is n spear. I grew up in Topanga [00:00:16] and nice middle class, family entertainment, my parents, Caesar, people that were heavily involved in amateur operatic. So I had quite a straight bringing up that it always had different people around me because operator tricks, quite different people. So that's where I first Mitch gaming actually because he went mini lesbians and went to an all girls school, heavily involved in Civ lifesaving was the first professional female lifeguard on the beach in the 70s. very much a sport but I certainly loved it. But I hit this bizarre surf lifesaving during the day and see at night, there's a small professional theatre company in Toronto called gateway players that I did a lot of volunteering and hanging out with. I moved from Toronto to Christchurch. Just sort of because I decided not to do any of the traditional nursing social work or teaching and was looking to just have a gap year really, so moved to Christchurch discovered feminism, in many ways I went to was quite bizarre. It was a famous Wellington radio announcer it's your New Zealand radio announcer goodly heavily. And I admit Lee Lee's daughter Lindy, through gateway players and total and we have the same birthday different ages but we born on the same day. So we had an instant bond anyway, I was moved to Christ Church was hanging out, walking down clubber street on my birthday, and I ran into London and London. And what are you doing? I said, Well, nothing really, I don't know many people here and she said, Come back to my place. We're not doing anything either. So just come back and have dinner with us and I went Okay, so we've walked into this house and it's really quiet and did and Lindy guys are I don't know where everyone is. I'm just going to the loo you go in there into the lounge. And so I opened the door to the lounge where she disappeared to the loo in this room just erupted with Happy birthday, and then everyone looking completely shocked at not knowing who was standing there for the beta. And the Lindy Imperial the Twitter propaganda goes on, as well. It's when I first met Linda and a whole lot of broadcasting type people in Christchurch. And Lee, knowing my background has told me to sort of apply so I ended up applying to get South Pacific TV in Christchurch. [00:02:57] What year are we talking [00:02:58] in Tokyo 96 2776 was the year I applied 77 was when I started. So that took a little bit of hurt, not harassment, but you know, fear of bureaucracy ran around. And I ended up going back to work on the beach at the mount for that summer and had an accident on us right on the back of one of the little motorbikes we had on the beach, and we came off and I got severely burned in my league. Which mean I had to finish on the beach couple of weeks early. But it also means in I by the night got a start date for TV. So it means I started on crutches, I was on crutches and my fist and TV and Gloucester street is a tower building that was on that. And all our studios were upstairs. So that was my that was how I got into television through Lee. Lee was at the time doing some TV work. That was his New Zealand's most famous woman, kids writer, and Margaret Margaret. That's right. She was we were doing some TV with Margaret May, which was a really beautiful show. And Lee was the principal character and the unfortunate thing in classical broadcasting. And those days, the tapes are too expensive. So it was all raised. And yet, there's a show that we made in the 70s that would be distributed around the world now. Being Margaret may have worked on the first ever episodes of a week of it, which was really nice and comedy. And haunting. We will go which is another classic children's program. I worked on it. And anyway, so I'm I had this career in television. And it was the International Women's convention in Christchurch, and I decided to go to it. And it was fascinating, actually, because I couldn't get time off. So I was having to do night shifts through doing breaking convention during the day night shift at night in the media. And what happened in that year 77, a women's convention was that the organizers had asked the media to please see and women only crew or reporters. And one media organization, I think it was radio. But I can't remember exactly whose organization it was. But one organizations seen a man alone. And I never understand why he didn't just run actually, because he was this auditorium. It was crushes channel. So there's an auditorium of 1300 women in it. And this is early days of feminism. So there was quite a buzz around with this one bloke sitting in the middle of it and he was so out of place. And what happened was that the lesbians him, this I'm still and identified as or undefined, sexuality and defined. Anyway, the struggle is built. I'll sit behind them and did what we used to do to the wizard in the square, which was just discuss, you know, get out of here. And then one woman poke them to get them to leave. And he created he created an issue around that of being an assault issue. And effectively, only other media organizations banded together and banned any reporting it was International Women's year 1977 and banned any reporting of the convention or International Women's year on the basis of the abuse that this one men experienced, which is really classic of headspace of the time basically that no one thought about 1300 women and the abuse of having one men and amongst an environment they were trying to create which was safe for them to talk about whatever they wanted. And there's two tables a tune, but my lasting memories effective invention. Whenever I hear I am woman, I am strong. That was sung by 1300 women and the energy in that is still palpable today. Like I can still conjure that the minute I hear that song was quite phenomenal. [00:07:15] It was an awakening for me about to feminism, and to stuff that I innately knew, but hadn't been able to actually name or label in that sense or that others out there had the same perceptions as me or or head space around it as me and went to a few of the session events and stuff like I remember walking down the street with a good friend of mine from TV. Like just feeling like we were so powerful nothing that happened to us, you know, we were really strong. And then from there, it was fashion of the time to have what we call consciousness raising groups or car groups showed his and talked about. So I joined the car group because it was about talking about your experiences and stuff. I mean, quite and it was quite amazing night. Early it was it was consciousness rising because it was fascinating to hear other people's stories and realize it, it the consciousness writing was about realizing you weren't alone, that the common stories for women all over the place. And then me and my mate decided to go to the Adelaide Arts Festival. So we went on our first trip overseas trip to the LA festival of arts and they happen to be orientation week at the uni at the same time. And we came across all these lesbians at orientation week and got along well with them and ended up hanging out with them for the week and decided I decided as a lesbian in so again, that sort of statement at the 70 step it was a headspace thing rather than a foreign level suddenly, someone It was like No, this is right. Different aliens being so I came home with all the gears like the just funny because it's still fashionable today really but the cargo pants, the army pants and the shirts and stuff and came up as as as an aurora at night as out as a dyke and right and, you know, trying to find that I found I didn't meet a woman in Christchurch, who was my first lover [00:09:25] but the funny thing was that [00:09:28] my friend who I went away with as quite a stunner and so that was all right that we I came home as a lesbian you set was sort of accepted this is at work and stuff. And in my mate came out about eight months later. And it was so funny because we couldn't handle it and they were saying things like we understand about and but she's just too gorgeous to be at least feeling like it was all of their attitude as well. But interesting time is it we were we were pretty ready. Then we had we did a lot of abortion protesting pro abortion protesting I secretly made a videotape about a thing called a minstrel extraction, which just is a quasi abortion but it's a way for women to get the pic the menstruation over and done with you just suck it out yourself. And that was sort of to show women that they had other options. There was also sister services service that was set up in Christchurch that I little bits to do on the periphery of that. And that's was sending women to Australia to have abortions. Some pre her horror stories came out of that. But there was a steady trade of women flying to Sydney being me having an abortion and flying home, which I must be traumatic for any woman. Interesting as well. There was the lesbians at the forefront of a such a heterosexual issue basically didn't and also working in television, which was quite collegial, everyone covered for each other. And you could swap shifts quite easily or do little favors, was all about like being collegial. And this was a space that we could create and all that sort of stuff, which is fascinating in today's day because nobody's collegial. Now it's all about your own self, your job someone in if you want to rather than cover for them and work it out between you. But it's irrelevant, really. So anyway, after a while, I wanted to move to Oakland. So I managed to get a transfer up here to Oakland and hung out with so he released being separatists. When I came out I came out as a lesbian feminist separatist. And we could have hours of debate around the kitchen table as to whether you are a lesbian feminist, secretive story feminist, lesbian, separatist. And the difference waltz means. So, you know, there was still because s feminists and really take into account at the time, the whole history that there was a secret culture of lesbian history anyway. But that was the really secret culture, it was even more secret than the men really, in the sense that men had a place out there on the street and the world are Petra, we live in a patriarchal world, they've immediately had a place in it, of which women didn't. So the dikes rather had called bad acts, you know, the fortune of theme, and it says death all just quite hidden. Like, looking back on it, I had at least one lesbian teacher. But there was no way until I had a consciousness about lesbianism that I would have ever picked it. It was just natural that it was classic, the real classic excuse of those days was she lost her fiance and the war, you know, if any women in their 40s or whatever. And that was the excuse that we'd all heard about my teacher, and it was, as I am, we just accepted it. So at least one of them was very invisible. And so we were determined to make it visible. There's a couple of moments of crossover in both my visibility in my career that were interesting. It always mean I had a glass ceiling, there was never any chance of me advancing anyway, because I was too scary in the sense that I was an ESPN. And even though I was never actually saved, every promotion I went for was turned out everything I went for was turned down. But the real telling one was is to telling things about it. Some women at the time, actually, Miss World was on here on this New Zealand was New Zealand, it would have been and I knew, everyone asked me what we should do. We would everyone protested about that. [00:13:52] I mean, it's, I mean, it's patient about that attitude or imagery of women in this world was definitely not one that we were after. Everyone asked me what they should do to protest and I just laughed and said the only thing you could really do it, we could a huge magnet and run it down the side of the outside. Brooke has been of the OP van now that would fuck everything right. But knowing that that wasn't quite feasible, but at least I had given someone some experience and I I made sure I wasn't rusted on it, or there wouldn't be any way because I knew how I felt I wasn't rusted on it. And on that particular night, I was out drinking with people from work like it was a conscious decision to be visible that I was nowhere near there. I knew some protest had been planned. But I was also ethical. And then I asked everyone not to tell me a word about it. I didn't want to know I didn't need to know. And so I was happy that was Anyway, there was a major protest the women got on stage, got into the room and got on stage and stops the broadcast, which was a live broadcast. That was an immediate stroke, commercial break and stuff. A couple of months later, I read I found that on my record at work, I was the one blame for that protest. I was like it like on record which disgusted me actually, that I was the linchpin of allowing these women to get into the building and protest, which I can't see how they could have been justified knowing that I was in a completely different place. But I did find out which was quite lovely. Those are the days that broadcasting used to have really nice cafeterias really good cafeterias because they believed in feeding us because we worked such bizarre shifts. And the cat that caught the cafeteria women were real diehard classic Kiwi women and always wearing it hidden Nathan enough for you know that you've been working another night shift and you were looking a little bit pale, or they're always have something like that. So anyway, that was one of the little old gray haired ladies that had lit the protests. And consciously that was her conscious protest. But that that just shows you the measure of the management, the that was the one pen for. And the other thing I had was happening around the time was that we went going through us another restructure whether we were called program operators or technical operators or because I started I was working in television and as a videotape, editor, operator editor in the engine room, basically. And I left to go and do my own way. When this review was still in process, and I ended I lived on 12 months leave without pay, like I was planning on coming back in 12 months, which I never did. But I lived to go to London. And after about six months in London, I got Alicia from TV New Zealand to tell me that I had been underpaid by three grades, which anyone in broadcasting will realize it's actually quite a lot of money. So I was maintained, I was kicked on the lowest grade feasible. Because of being a doc, prominently, I can say that now that would be the reason. And yet the work in when they did this review, the only thing they could look back on was the rosters I had done leading up to leaving. And the work I did on my roster shifts should have been I should have been paid another three and a half thousand dollars more. And we're talking in the early days. I mean, I started in television as 77 my my starting salary was four and a half thousand dollars a year, which is just, it just wouldn't conceive now. So by 1979, when I lived, I was still only on about $8,000 and should have been on 12. So that shows the value of women or women who stepped above the pulpit, I suppose, or, you know, were prepared to stand up and be counted. I have some great friends from that time. I have a couple of regrets of that time to we did a major protest at ANZAC Day when you Yeah, it was heavy. And it was doing to this and we were calling servicemen rapists, and assholes and oppressors and which was sort of the rhetoric of the time. And but there was quite funny it was just before. [00:18:17] We know that before, we were chased by the cops going home that was quite entertaining, we sort of had to do a mini car chase to get away from the cops. wasn't until years later, to be honest, that I thought about the horror of war. And what those mean it really been through and felt quite guilty or horrible that we've done it to those mean, in that in the heat of our own battle. We hadn't seen the bigger picture. And it's only in retrospect when you when you're breathless, possibly a little more embarrassed and full of flames that you can look back and think that sort of stuff. [00:18:56] So just going back to that 1977 conference. Did you have a lot of feminist energy? Prior to that we did we did was it just like a complete watershed for you. It was like a moment where you thought wow, [00:19:10] I really was like a watershed it was the energy. Every woman knows when I've been stopped or in that you don't realize but you know, say like types of life saving, for example, I was the strongest swimmer as the club captain for women's club captain. I did a whole heap of things like just there was just too I was a big strong woman that we couldn't do craft. We couldn't do the safe ski or safe boats or the or the canoes or the pedal boards, because we were women. You know, women didn't do that sort of stuff. We could have gotten to travel in the safe and I'm going what's the difference between swimming out to 12 foot storm safe and rescuing someone and you know, that sort of stuff. So you had these questions that you you had anyway. But I was quite fortunate in the sense that I went to a girls school, turn it goes college, enjoy Drayton Headmistress at the time, was a pioneering feminist. In sixth form. I was in sixth, she had sent women to the school girls, you know, like students to the very, very first open women, the very first women's convention, which I think was in 75, or 74, here in Auckland, and then arranged a mini convention of speakers that were at that convention to come and speak to us in school. So in some ways, the consciousness rising had really sadly began at that point. And the interesting thing was, I am I at school, I used to hang out at theater, I used to work a lot basically go down to the theater, and we'll go to the beach and chill and stuff. And the hipness just sort of users of me. So when she arranged this feminist day, and this woman's convention day at school, she a week earlier called me into her office and blatantly said to me and I know you're probably to wake the social stop you that you're introducing three of the speakers, you know, like so she had my major to probably, and it seems it was a great day. I really I mean, I mean, Marin wearing was a speaker in those days, she was a very, I'm not sure she will, she must have been in Parliament, the injustice in Parliament, mira sassy. So there was quite an interesting mix of women. So in that sense, I think, what, what the feminist revolution in per se did was actually just give context for women for stuff they innately felt. But in this, it 77 convention in I went to a radical lesbian, radical lesbian workshop, and was, this is even before I thought I was, but how could I thought I wasn't when I ran away from any man that tried to date me, or, you know, like my head, or I just didn't, [00:21:54] I didn't conceive that I wasn't heterosexual I just didn't like the concept of having to go out with the. [00:22:02] So it gave me a lot of awareness. I mean, in those days, the rude lesbian would have been hardly used or was it would have been incredibly derogatory. There was no positive imagery of anything like that, in, in the media, what you know, at the MIT films and stuff, and the imagery of can't mean we're loud. But of course, feminist lesbians were certainly not can't mean in not with the same value or aesthetic. So it didn't really fit. But at the same time, at least I know, and if you came in, I kind of seed that I didn't having my involvement in theater. But see, lesbians weren't really allowed in theater. There's a few directors from that era, who's still a pretty closet about the fact that they're being lesbians all that time. And they're quite prominent now, here in New Zealand. And that always saddens me that they're paid to stay in the closet, but it pretty much is because they didn't want to be typecast or the Nets around. So that 77 convention just opened my eyes really absolutely admires and gave me a kick up the ass. [00:23:13] And then did your travel to London, literally, I was used to that, I guess broaden you even further. [00:23:18] I was quite interesting. You know, we believe that we at the end of the earth and everyone else is far ahead of us and stuff. And so I went to London and there was a squat and Hackney there was the Australasian women, Antipodean women because the English woman was sick of KB and rz women arriving on the doorsteps going, you know, so it's over, you know, sad. So he told me I could come here and stay. So he's originally stayed in the scores in Hackney, lots of different women. And we're doing the big thing. I mean, to a convention D actually a year into being in London and English politics as more socialism and class. I went to a convention here and I remember sitting in at that time going, Oh, my God, New Zealand's way ahead of here. Like we were way ahead, especially our concept of bicultural ism, and or multiculturalism. racism, classism, maybe not so much. But yes, at the same time equal. But the fascinating thing. The thing I never forget about that convention was, this is just after play a patriot being killed, spent a year or two after Blue Peter being killed, or the special patrol group was still enforce it to have now in 2011 2013, they were blamed for killing people he was was denied. Anyway, the special patrol grew there, we had a dance that night to celebrate the conference in Notting Hill. And it was sort of an a hole in a venue that was surrounded by one way street. So you hit it all everyone arrived on the same street and Lyft by the same stage of you know, me. And there were a whole lot of all night. There were these skinheads and heavies trying to get into smash the lesbians and smash the women and stuff. So everyone was told to leave in groups don't leave alone, it wasn't safe to leave in groups and all that sort of stuff. And I am debate [00:25:24] and one of the early groups to leave. [00:25:28] And we were walking down the road, and we came across versus eight of us eight or nine hours, long down the road. And I came across a bloke threatening his beating of his wife actually. And so we were across the road and yelling at her to be strong. And you know, she didn't have to take this abuse and rah rah rah rah. And we cross the road to see if we could help her. And honestly, seconds later, there was just in all of this time is women starting to leave this road, this being. And so we went across to help her and we were just sort of, it was nothing violent about it. But we were supporting her and standing between a husband. And here. He was doing speed rap, and mixing. All these veins of cops just suddenly arrive at an over there must have been waiting just around the corner. And I arrived on a nowhere and just get out of the event and start indiscriminately bashing women. So you had there was something like two and a half thousand women at this at this event. And you had two and a half thousand women because of so London's finishes at 12 o'clock, like people forget the idea that at 12 o'clock it stops. So everyone was leaving the venue pouring into the situation of this complete bear shop. It was horrendous. And it didn't get brushed over here. I'll never forget that. This guy standing in front of me with a button in his hand. And I'm screaming at him the fact do you think you're doing what is this about? We've done nothing. And I looked him right in the eye because I was his high and he turned around someone else like you know, and we about nine women were arrested some of my group I wasn't but nine were arrested. So we will indict. Nobody had any money. And of course, the Chiefs Schatz and older sister. So we went down to loading your police station to support them or see what we could do to help them. I asked to go to the toilet. And they asked we are toilet well said I could use a police station in the cop put a rubbish bin on the counter and said scum like you that's all you require. It was his idea of a toilet renegotiated. And we were told by the senior surgeon that we should all leave and go home. This is like three, four in the morning. Because the women weren't being released until seven o'clock in that face court the next day, and no one would be released. So we did discuss this. And we were given the assurance that that was the case. So we did leave. So those of us with cars, anyone with exits, okay, we did leave. And then Murphy discovered and this is pre cell phones as well, you could remember. And what we discovered was that the cops released the women that arrested half an hour after we lived, which gave them absolutely no resource. They had no money. No tubes are open at that time of day, nowhere to get home. It was quiet. So that was the attitude towards lesbians and feminists in that day. And but and it was my man my lasting imagery of the special patrol group. So I clapped and cheered with no Finally, finger pointed that they killed the page, because they were nasty and vicious. So that was London. But that was that was my only convention I ever been to in London. And as I say I also decided from the reshare recovered and how the bisexual women tried to capture it and socialists that New Zealand was actually where he politically and it seems we have hang out, hang out and get my stole it was a little kitchen with lesbians that you won't hang out given. Then I came home. And the scene has changed a little bit here. I missed the tour. I missed the Springbok tour. So the community here had gone from we've done heavy protesting like for the abortion protests. One of our protest was to rope off Victoria Street Queen Street intersection at five to five on that I can't remember it was a Friday night or what it was, but it was you know, Russia, Oakland, Russia, we wrote off the introduction and sat down and refused a badge. And you know, here's the cup going on around your waist and we'll just wait till they get tired of it because we don't want to give them publicity. And it was people were pissed off with us and everything that you didn't get publicity, or that you didn't get bashed either. It was sort of like the m&s situation or latency. I mean, one of my other really classic moments, and I'll never forget either is [00:30:06] some women who shall remain nameless, and I wasn't one of them. But I do know who a couple who did it, managed to sneak into the best station, the best to be the best Israel held and spray pro abortion. And banners, right all over the buses, right before they rolled out for the 6am like rush hour, so there was no way they could get rid of the banners that were across the buses. The gorilla goes he did it told me it was one of the scariest moments of my life. But we you know, we did sort of protest slightly ahead and in it, but then, as I say, I missed the Springbok tour, I did see some of it through the satellite because I was working for ABC News, actually in London. But set sure because we'd had the Brixton riots, search ahead and Edict of no rioting to go to we're so very looked at footage he got weird England, because of that ad, but I managed to see and it was quite freaky sitting there taking the satellite feed seeing your mates on the front line. So they were the lesbians in the front line again, with the with Marty, like, at the to fight and charge and stuff. So when I came back, the same was a little bit different in the sit in the seats that New Zealand had been bloodied as well by what they witnessed or experienced in as the same whatever. For me, it's anecdotal. [00:31:30] And then we moved on to things like the homosexual law reform. [00:31:34] Well, the interesting thing for that is, first of all, the HIV pandemic sort of started. And as much as I wasn't involved in the early days, I didn't know women who were women pretty much rallied to teach the boys how to effectively communicate or disseminate information because as protesters, we had the classic telephone tree situation, so you could get your information out to a lot of women very quickly, you know, you ring, you had 15 on your list, they had a check 15 on the list, as exponentially as it goes out. Didn't have a six year law reform. Yeah, it was interesting for the docs, because effectively, we had nothing to fight for, because we were in the legislation. So I do remember. And again, this is the difference of gay men and lesbians are really different. No matter what way we look at it, they are really different, and so on. If another memory of that time is the Empire, just down the road from where we are actually was sort of the gay bar of Oakland. And we there was cool to have the first ever homo match gay match in Oakland. So there was a meeting called for the gays and lesbians at the Empire and I remember being in the making and everyone, it was all sort of, you know, you can do this and do that. It was rare. [00:33:00] Very ain't someone sort of he was British Shepherd stood up and said, [00:33:07] Now for those who want masks will be available for the mean. And of course, the lesbians go are you wearing masks for you gotta stand up and be counted at a completely, really not conceiving that, that identification has been gay for me and could mean loss of job and child really, or, you know, like prosecution. And it seems because there's a say, we went on the legislation and the statute, so we had this huge walkout and this big split that we wouldn't match up until the main honest about it. And that political split between the lesbians and the men lasted a long time there was a lot of distrust in the in the bars at the time, it was the Alex the time that is to take the lesbians but the clubs like staircase and stuff at the club was for the dikes was forced to be refused entry point at the same time, you can pretty much guarantee that if the dates came up, so it's one of those dilemmas but yeah, we were discriminated in that within our own community on a sense we maybe had the money or the political push. And then came Laura form of which the main use I had to use some women's energy to get that through. And then I suppose united us to a degree. But it's funny how hindsight is a fabulous thing, isn't it because only later on that I realized the I knew I knew the importance of law reform. But it was more you know, that it so this means you didn't really have to think about the the follow on of being bastard you know, of. But at the same time game in the life of Riley here that time they had the secret clubs, the secret parties, the hidden, some of the main I know now still mean that they wish those days were back, there was more of a cohesion and more sensitivity. intergenerational relation relating because someone had to teach you what the codes were to get into the clubs or whatever. So you did talk to your other generations more, whereas now the Yankees don't seem to be interested in going into their place. Thank you very much. It [00:35:17] was the hero parade, which started in the early 90s was a way of trying to bring more of a community since back. [00:35:24] We're now here I was started initially as a dance party to give HIV positive people a sense of empowerment, sense of that, you know, like a feel good thing for them. So here has always been steeped in net being born from the age of the nation, actually. And it grew into the great celebration that it was that it was, but it's in its initial sense was a small celebration of being of positive positive people being positive, I suppose. And it's it's, and also it was early days for dance parties, dance parties were happening offshore. And so we were the first to really experience it's difficult to explain to people have never been to one but that's parties can be quite fabulous, really they can be hell or sometimes even nice way to say nice, but never really quite amazing. You open your eyes and they were wonderful experiences of people just being free to be who they wanted to be. [00:36:29] A net I think has a lot of validity. [00:36:33] So [00:36:36] on a personal level by the end of the 80s by here I time. [00:36:40] I'm I made a little antinuclear film with a couple of women, women on the move umbrella films. Me and Lisa Prager made it actually. So we made this film called women on the move, and which was about the big anti nuke match because of course, that was the next thing that we were protesting for was for coming anti nuke and stopping the warships coming in. And the inherent was born sort of beyond that again. And I was by that stage, I'd moved into making socks and shoe laces on a personal level for me a little bit of freedom. Straight laced was the name of Ashley nice company. And I did a post graduate diploma at Victoria University here in Atlanta. I'll never forget, I used to stand up from these seminars and go Hi, my name is Dan spear. And I'm the CO owner of calculus film called straight laced, and everyone would always laugh sort of plus to be off in the end. But I'm going even when I tried not to look, at least be an Astro look. Luckily, we never get over there. But as partly that's being six foot tall. I mean, you know, like, now there's more photos of us, but they should have pretty much the tallest rapper well. So hero was a funny thing here. It was very closed. It was dance dance parties. It was fun to go through. And I was trying to think when I came down here, what was my motivation for standing for the hero committee. [00:38:17] But I just think I've always been community. [00:38:20] I know what it was, I do know what it was. I went through some personal issue when my clique of dice that I'd always hung out with push, put me on the shoulder, gave me the cold shoulder for a while actually, rightly or wrongly, that happened and that was the first time I personally had to look elsewhere for my support network. And there was a colleague, a gay colleague who I knew through television who we ended up hanging out a bit together so I started to mix a bit more with in mixed environment not so much all just lesbians but in a mixed environment. And through that came when hit their calls for nominations for the hero committee I decided to stand because I was Yes, my head was open to working with me Nikki and I was one of two women on the committee when I first joined and it was a very interesting commission patient batch but very closed and then slowly over the years and then I ended up being the chair is here with us different incarnations [00:39:31] it became a huge parade [00:39:33] yeah was and it's interesting now and people calling for bring back the Europe right I just say to them yeah, and why should Why should the queer community put up the nice days it was like $280,000 it takes to put it on when no one pays you and you're there and didn't get much gold coin. But I just think it's the you know, Hero infrastructure of there was nothing like the feeling Ponsonby road on that day on that night you really really did feel that you owned the street and shown in many different ways like one of the one of the parades I remember there was the same year is the same day as the different ports secret festival. So a lot of drunk people would come over to the parade and I was towards the end of the parade and this guy was being a real asshole to some women and this cop had hit the but even the women is that have grabbed the sky and cool to place and this woman cop him over. And then me blah blah blah. Exactly. And he goes I just find assholes and she said I'm going to turn around if you want to punch and go right ahead. You know, like that was the and it sounds really volunteer when I say it like that, but the reality was it was one of those moments when you just saw cnet's you know he was just a drunk so being an asshole in the cop going is your night. This is yours straight you're not you know, you can you can deal with it. And it was fascinating after the demise of here either different conversation when you forget, you know, I've talked to older women who straight women pulled up their families loved your parade went to everyone because they just loved people seeing people celebrate celebrating who they were and how they wanted to be. And so yeah, it was a big night and parts of people united possibly right pay for it know, the look at King on possibly register do more turnover on hero night than it did for the whole of the Christmas New Year break. And nothing nice to give us $100 towards putting the parade on so and the demise of dance parties as much as we hit some really good ones and I'll never forget about for that always remember of the hero parties one is really early runs at the wharf down at the waterfront. That was amazing was beautiful. But we lost the ability to use the waterfront because of the Catholic head of the hoverboard at the time. And what hero used to do is always put its own cleaners through the party before the official cleaners arrived because we knew what debris could be there. And this particular year, the last year of the Wonder waterfront the official cleaners arrived before our cleaners did through some I don't know why. And so you know, the fact that needles are found and condoms by the global fan and stuff was reported back to the habit board and we were never allowed to use that venue again. And it moved out to green lane, which didn't really work entirely it did for a while. But the dance parties were on the way and everyone was doing dance parties by the end you know, but we had the wedding the town hall. It was fabulous a sin Town Hall pink seeing the queer flag rainbow flag flying above the town hall. Some Christians got in and hit the fire alarm button about half an hour into the beginning of the party. And so heats the fire engines because it's the town hall so he keeps the fire engine head around. The old boys was about half hour into the party. So they were all just beginning to peek in all standing outside loving the fact that there was 20 or 30 uniformed Butch gorgeous looking firemen running around for them. And the fire department seems as if the hero committee Alicia afterwards saying it was the most orderly mess evacuation of anything that ever done. And I was tempted to write back and said, Oh yes, well you know when you've got a sort of from 1000 people picking thousand mean picking in European uniforms. They just got there. They weren't even so there was quiet so the old Christians didn't stop the party at the stage the boys have extra to laugh about at the time. And Nick party went off it was gorgeous was a man it was amazing. We had Georgina bear coming through the from the series of floor of the town hall is my hero Hayslett has has Brazilian dancers and Stephanie huge number back wait came down from the roof of the town What was she was loaded from the roof. We had random acts of theater going throughout the venue was just one of those really amazing, amazing parties. And it's and the nice thing is that was the last year I Patty, not quite actually but it was the last of the old style of hero. The nice thing is to think about it in those terms of setting us what happened after it. You know? [00:44:33] Yeah, there was quite a lot of negative energy and publicity around the way that kind of eventually kind of wound down. How did you cope with with that kind of negativity? [00:44:50] In the previous 18 months I'd always promised was I wanted to be a comedian by the time I was 40 and so I've done a comedy course and 50 at the age of 39 done my head Dinah complete a stand up. I've been in a show and done stand up before I was supporting which was one of my goals. And I created this character called divorced tourists. And she was a head of a time in some ways and that she was dyke. Just a drag Elise being comedian dressed as a drag queen. So to get it out there so I wore miniskirts and midriffs and, you know, like that sort of apparel. And I talked about the difference between men and women, basically, lesbians and gays. And also tried to prove that lesbians can have a sense of humor. We do have a sense of humor, but you know, show that lesbians have a sense of humor. So I was out I was starting to do a normal performance of that and during the year 2011 I did a dating show with back quake that people still laugh about Steve Krystal Hester's me about that. And and I as the jewelry also insisted, did you know that the hero gala return to before I think all the two before that was the third Gala. So it was interesting because I was I performed as Dolores but I also had the [00:46:12] opportunity to introduce Helen Clark as our new [00:46:16] P. Actually, at the end, we were at the in the Civic in Oakland, which is a beautiful, huge theater, there was about 1800 was a large number of people for nothing. So if it talks to turn, I think we had 14 or 1600 people in the audience. For the show that went on and on and on and on. It was about five hours long, but the input, what are moments armor, remember, is standing on stage, and introducing Helen Clark and feeling and there was an immediate standing ovation. That feeling this wave of energy war, I would almost say this wall of energy that started at the page and just waved forward just pushed forward into it. You on stage it was amazing, amazing experience. like you'd be really happy to be rid of Shipley and him. But um, yeah, so that was sort of maybe so. So what happened when all the negativity when it all the shit hit the fan and I was the public face of that stuff. It was fascinating. The lesbians ran away. And some would come to me and say, Oh, and I heard the stuff about you. And I know it's not true. And I know it's not like you. And I would say, Well, did you defend me and I go, Oh, well, you know, I thought I'd tell you came in with far more up front, they're just come and challenge me and talk to me about it and either walk away, knowing a little bit more or choosing stay ignorant, or whatever position they help, but they would be upfront about it. I was absolutely assassinated by the media by Express. And what I did was, I just don't like it performing as glorious for a good year and a half after it to try and put a different face on and perform about hero, but I just stayed out there. I have to say that the drag queens were amazing, they completely shielded me or put me under their umbrella and the sense that they knew that some of them did actually know the truth. And so wish to support me in this scene. So that's when I became a real drag. And the funny thing about that is that drag goes right back to my upbringing in it. It's, it's like the same as amateur credit you work towards, you can save and work towards and perform shows. And that's where I'm very much at home and feel very at home around. So I really love doing it in a recording summer. And then I dropped Dolores. For a while I just sort of after I hit the Haight sort of dissipated a bit and I could just take a step back. It's hurts personally, every time I read some of the misinformation about here, I live here I was badly managed. And then the next thing you know, we actually put on the best hero that was ever had, we had a face amazing festival, a great parade and a great party that night. And it really saddens me that that achievement is never acknowledged, it's always talked about in the negative. And I fought for years like because what we did was we handed hero onto a community, you know, society created a society so there was no open and transparent. But all of the people on that committee were harassed or hounded in some way, by people with their own personal vendettas and stuff. You know, they were public meetings held sustainably on the, on the future of hero by some lesbians here, and I got 75 because I chose not to go prudently. You know, I just there wasn't a place for me to be live, I was still being blamed for everything. And I've been many anecdotally many an account that it was a positive meeting until people were prepared to move on. But the injera going, you know how to get rid of that they change it personal, which made people get up and leave and not like it. The society really should have been, should have been allowed to flourish, and it probably would be here, but again, personal vintages I just kept hacking and hacking because I still had something to do with the society and in you can't divorce yourself of all of that institutional knowledge. Basically, why handed over to a society was none of that prior knowledge. And, but some people just wanted me lynched. So I'm not saying was my fault that the society collapsed, because it wasn't at all but nobody light. What became the stench of being involved with hero really, it carried around, followed you around. [00:51:02] One of the really positive things that were happening around that time, or just after that time in 2004, was the TV production that you worked on. Am I right in saying that was like the world's first indigenous? talkin top week is being transgender program? [00:51:20] Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was the world's first to be played on an indigenous channel. So you know, Queen nation, of course, has come a long way before I took it away. But it was the creation of multi TV. And it's called it how it from front of the box productions. [00:51:41] He'd handed me to produce for the show. [00:51:48] And it was great, actually, there's a lot of a lot of work. We needed five to seven, five to nine, sometimes people on the show for each half hour each week. And so the real work was getting the talent, or the people on the show without them having any references to what how they were going to be represented, or what the show was sort of like, how we manage that. We knew we had a great time I had had we had we, but I'm still called anti Pilar, the Mahdi out there now. And I'm wondering, is anti gay, anti any. And I'm proud of some of the stuff we did one of the things I'm really proud of us. We started coming out stories where we just had someone sitting on a chair telling these stories. You know, we had some really, really positive and it was nice to see the community rally again. It's hard. Ultimately, it's hard as a podcaster be driving that sort of thing. And in the end, you know, like, there was a platform. I mean, you know, yeah, it was time for me to go and I finally went, killed me actually. took me a long, long time to get some energy back after there. But I'm really proud of the shows that we've put to we're in defeat, we made it to here in the fact that we made it for so little, in fact, all manager in very small budget to work with, [00:53:23] and Isn't it amazing that in the space of what 2025 years when you think of when you started in broadcasting to to actually being having a queer show on mainstream television? [00:53:35] Oh, yeah. Although Queen nation broke that, I mean, and it was interesting, because that really came out of when we tried horizon TV. I mean, we tried to have local TV here and they put on the local show. And TV picked it up, but it was also interesting the way TV was able to squash it because Queen nation that community itself was studying a bit bored with it or whatever denies it. TVNZ, cold, colder, a focus group of all sorts of different people from the community and used the feedback from that group, which used it against us your feedback from the group was we want something a little bit less tired or more vibrant, or more challenging. But we still won't quit broadcasting, but broadcasting change around to poor Johnny and Leanne. Well, I think it's time and not at us. I'm sorry, that's deep. It's gone now. And that never, they gave it to a straight company. And we had Kiwi fruits, which he thought another guy produced it, he thought it was the funniest thing that ever come out with. And it was a it was a tedious show you the thing I learned and that's why I said as well. You have to come from a show like that. And lose your own when I say this, but the reality is you must have a level of politic around it for that sort of thing to work. If you don't have the politic. It just meanders nowhere. It just goes nowhere. So yes, we had politic around the top way. I mean, I was delighted at putting together we interviewed radical lesbian from the east coast, who had a whole load of photos of her standing was done RTD and that was being done our materials being super right wing in age. And so I was delighted to put together pictures have done our duty as a lesbian protester. Just to remind you h party, people that we actually can origin rhinos lesbians of how fascist sold us out, you know, like, on that level? No, it was great. It was really upset MRT TV for, for doing it really. But the interesting thing is I don't think it's required right now. I don't know. I think we we were repeating too many stories. And still, even within doing that there were stories that you couldn't touch. Because as much as you knew the story you couldn't he get the person involved or the him to come on and talk about it. So this still is huge levels of homophobia out there. And just hidden, just a slightly more hidden and what we then the blatancy that we were used to [00:56:10] and when you say homophobia is that like internal homophobia or external? [00:56:13] I think it's it's both I mean, I think the is a lot of know, like gay community isn't really investigated its own internalized homophobia. But whenever I see guys behaving badly, that's what I put it down to, you know, like, but there is still just blatant homophobia out there. And unfortunately, you can start to see it in Cairo right now, when the hordes of people come in from the south and the West and just have no respect, and have the tickets on some form of alcohol or some other stimulant. And there's a lot of violence happening and Kairos at the moment, and, you know, like I remember, we did our first reclaim the night matches just sort of against violence at night, we women could finally walk the streets safely at nice and it's nice to really, you cannot do this bit with an aside, but it just made me sick to someone recently, or maybe we have to have another reclaim the night match. But for guys to reclaim it, I'll be straight. You know, Kairos been synonymous with clear culture for years. For years, because we are the We Are the red light district We are the secret nightlife. [00:57:31] So this series is all about kind of making a difference and both kind of personal ways and and also kind of broader community base. How I mean, would you have any advice of somebody said, Oh, how do I make a difference? [00:57:46] You know, you can only make a difference. The only person you can really make a difference to is yourself and that's saying the old feminists saying is still so true. The personal is political. And you are so you shop in I like if you take your dollar, if you don't like that shop, you take $1 somewhere else or, and and then also the whole is when a hate of mine is how the media screwed the term politically correct or PC. And it comes right back to that 1977 women's convention and I know 75 women's convention in Christchurch, Sydney 777 graduate soon. Anyway, my Pete height is the corruption of the template, great. The concept of political correctness that I grew up with as a feminist was that if something challenged you, you looked inward at yourself to work out why it challenges you. And whether that challenge the feeling you have is valid and you should fight for that feeling, or whether it's right to have been challenged. And maybe it's time to shift or to move. Not necessarily always paradigm shifts, but you know, move the way you think. So it's always been a concept of the personal. So I now read in the media and the way people we use it as an external box that if you step outside the box, you're stupid or stuff and riles me. So in terms of making a difference, it is about that being big, the personal is political stand up for what you believe and do what you can for what you believe in. I mean, like comedy coffee probably wouldn't find a think of himself as a political person. But he did a huge amount for around a year just by actually standing up doing something that he probably didn't realize the impact of at the time but I've just been watching Celebrity Apprentice Cyndi Lauper giving her manager a really radical Stonewall gay group because his sister came out and she realized what a hard time so just be who you are based on a true to yourself and and that's how you will make a difference. If you see someone in phobia stand up to it. If you see racism stand up to a light. We can you know, like don't just meld them to the crowd and pretend that everything's [01:00:03] this program was funded by a generous grant from the gay Auckland Business Association charitable trust. For more information, visit gather.org.nz id

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