Bill Logan - early years of HIV AIDS in Wellington
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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. [00:00:05] I was a late starter, and I came out it really about 1980 in my very early 30s [00:00:18] and at that stage well it was still illegal to be gay. It was still a criminal offense to have on sexual relationships. [00:00:30] And so you couldn't be openly gay and expect to have a reasonable career [00:00:42] It was very close it [00:00:46] was [00:00:49] certain amount of sexual life and the balls that were Sooners. There were people who lived in capital relationships. There were capital of clubs. Right. There was the door and society. And then Victoria club standoff. [00:01:13] It was Yeah, very, very [00:01:16] private thing to be gay. And it was a segment of gay bashing. [00:01:24] The scary thing became [00:01:28] I haven't heard of some of the, when you say bog, so we talked about public toilets. Yeah. What What were the public toilets in Wellington that were being used the time? Well, [00:01:39] almost any public toilet was potentially a place where you could meet someone for sexual activity. The public toilets outside what was the in the library was one major meeting place for six? Many others. [00:02:01] And the two the two clubs that you mentioned the Dorian and the Victoria, what were the differences between those two? [00:02:07] Well, the Dorian had been going on much longer. And was [00:02:14] General I became more a party club. [00:02:21] Particularly on Friday and Saturday night. [00:02:26] You [00:02:27] belong to it, and you paid so much to go in. I can't remember what was very reasonable price to go in. And then you could drink as much as you'd like when you got in there. The Victoria club was a bit more select [00:02:48] premises in oriental Bye. [00:02:56] more refined. [00:03:00] But those overlapping membership, [00:03:03] and so will your member of both [00:03:04] youth is [00:03:09] as I say, I think the Victoria club probably didn't start until say 1982, something like that. [00:03:17] And you were saying that you're a bit of a late bloomer. So what was what was life like, for kind of coming up for you? [00:03:24] Well, I was married. I didn't even recognize myself as gay until I'd say 28 or something. I guess that it was, the possibility of being gay was so scary that I managed him I'd hide from it completely. Even myself, never Fantasy Life at all. [00:03:49] And we use the word gay. But back then what were the words that were being used? [00:03:54] Almost sexual, I suppose gay came to be used in the 19 70s. By it certainly by the middle to late 1970s. Gay was used. Yeah. [00:04:09] Can you tell me your kind of coming up process [00:04:16] is I was I was in New York City. And I had, I had been very, very thoroughly involved in politics, left wing politics. And was working full time on Lyft when politics. And I developed a dispute with the organization I was working for, and I was suspended from political activity wasn't allowed to do the only thing which I enjoy doing, and which I suppose I was hiding in. And in that context, I had a lot of time to think I've heard of clergyman have gone through the same process actually had a dispute with the church hierarchy and spinning their wheels and started to become aware of their gayness or the game has become more pressing. [00:05:23] But [00:05:25] I [00:05:27] had a job [00:05:30] working for rich [00:05:32] book dealer. And he sent me to [00:05:37] another more downmarket book dealer to look at what they had. See if there were things he should look at. And a young man who worked for this book dealer pressed his leg against my son, suddenly, I realized that I was gay, just like there. I was out of there. I was so terrified, after that bookshop very, very, very, very quickly to what had to be done and ran [00:06:13] to the later is had [00:06:22] a nice liaison with the young man. [00:06:25] And that's, yeah, that's how I [00:06:29] discovered by gayness [00:06:33] and [00:06:36] started going to the St. Mark's bath, which was a sauna, really, big sauna. In New York City, this would have been 1979 [00:06:52] it was the height of the [00:06:58] excitement of being gay. Just before I was hitting. After the the development of post Stonewall development, and things were really bad, it was the time to be gay. It was really something pretty magnificent. [00:07:26] I think that that is actually we the first signals [00:07:34] of of a [00:07:36] fulfilled because someone gave me a card saying [00:07:43] free checkups. [00:07:46] went for this fried chicken. I said, and would you please additionally give some extra blood for some tests with doing something going on? And we don't know what it is. But we'd like to do some study of Gaiman's blood? And I don't know, I but I suspect that this was a response to early signs of, of HIV. In New York [00:08:23] concert, it was 1979. Yeah. [00:08:28] So I came back to New Zealand in 1980. forgot about it entirely. [00:08:35] And [00:08:37] I think it must have been in 1982. [00:08:45] I'm not sure of the date, it could have been [00:08:48] 1983. [00:08:51] But there was a group of young [00:08:52] younger people coming out at the university who [00:08:58] were kinds of free. [00:09:00] of mine, I was a, [00:09:04] I was tutoring in politics. [00:09:08] And so I was the oldest of this, this group of [00:09:15] perhaps eight [00:09:19] guy guys. [00:09:21] And some of them came to see me and said, Look, we're reading the stuff from overseas about this peculiar disease among gay people. [00:09:31] And I'm full of denial. [00:09:35] Look at some homophobic kind of stuff, you know, I shouldn't worry about that. I persisted and found the articles and make me read them. And one of them got this fellow, john Clements from the Ministry of Health to come up and to the group of us on the campus, and insisted that I should share this meeting. Probably eight or nine of us in the room in this little room. And john Clemens actually couldn't tell us anything. But he said, Yeah, there's something funny going on. [00:10:22] We don't know anything about [00:10:25] perhaps it's, Perhaps it's because [00:10:30] the body doesn't like seem and then your anus. Or perhaps it's someone features agent, but we can't see anything. We just don't know. That was the beginning actually have quite a long relationship with john Clements, who became the ministry of health expert on on HIV and eventually went to the World Health Organization. [00:11:00] Can I ask back in those early days, so we're talking What 8283? How quickly didn't use travel, say from the US to hear so when people are coming to you saying I've seen this article? How quickly did that news come? [00:11:14] Well, by email? [00:11:20] away two weeks, you know, [00:11:23] the, the advocate, [00:11:27] New York native was a magazine, which carried a lot of this stuff. Get, you know, fairly quickly and people who, who are interested would would get it within [00:11:49] less than a month anyway. [00:11:50] What was the kind of tone of those articles? [00:11:56] concerned, some of it was a little hysterical. Some of the was reflecting similar values to mine. And this is just a hysterical thing they heterosexual they're trying to scare us out of. [00:12:17] And so there's this debate going on. [00:12:21] And I was I was certainly I think the debate here was the same as the debate everywhere else, really. And I was at the skeptical end of the spectrum and tried to bury my head in the sand. Phil Parkinson didn't let me bury my head in the sand, the sea. He's he read everything very, very carefully, and would bring it to me and photocopy these things out. And, and say, Look, you got a responsibility to discuss this at all, I didn't get a switchboard, which was the predecessor of the one to get a wallpaper was the main welfare group in the open. And white man told me exactly what to do. He was usually right. [00:13:20] And [00:13:23] so I would, [00:13:28] in a semi obedient way to what I was told. [00:13:32] So give me a wee bit of background on full. [00:13:35] Well, I fill also Late Bloomer, we're about same age, and came out about the same time. [00:13:44] And he was on the International Committee, which determines the scientific name for the various species of LG. He is some sort of a license, man, you know, he sort of very knowledgeable on all sorts of disparate kinds of things. [00:14:10] And [00:14:14] very clever and not, [00:14:17] and not very [00:14:18] good socially. But makes up for that by being [00:14:27] extremely [00:14:30] well informed and good at at compiling, and distributing information. [00:14:42] He would do that to me. [00:14:46] And he eventually introduced me to Bruce, Bernie. [00:14:51] I want to get onto Bruce Bennett, a wee bit later on, and we can come back on Phil, but I just would like to know, in terms of it, group meeting up at the university, what was so they were obviously interested in what this new thing was, what about the wider gay society? How were they interested? [00:15:13] Not the stage No. smells bad enough. [00:15:21] On the whole, it was [00:15:26] a look, there might have been some bad. I think it was pretty, pretty small group. Now that that group at university overlapped with the gay switch board, and some talk about and gay switch boards, circles. And gay switchboard is really important in, in everything that happens for the next five years or so. It provides personnel for the support network and Wellington at first and, and also for more form to [00:16:06] such a pleasure, an important role. [00:16:10] We did the case which will come from [00:16:13] it came out of gay liberation really, in their late 70s, like probably 78, something like that. I joined it and about 81. [00:16:29] And what was its main purpose, [00:16:31] well, rare telephone [00:16:33] council law, peer support service, really. [00:16:39] And then it also helped run a community center and did all sorts of other things, from time to time as necessary. [00:16:53] When the other kind of peer support groups for LGBT and at that time, [00:17:01] all there was a small group with the unfortunate name gay aid, [00:17:11] which might have been two people [00:17:15] which wanted to join together with switch board, but there was some disagreements on ethical principles. But that's the only other one. [00:17:31] And how big was the gay switchboard? How many volunteers [00:17:34] at that time? Probably 12 or 14? [00:17:42] grew slowly over time. [00:17:45] What about internally yourself? I mean, did you ever feel conflicted about being gay? Or were you once you had that moment in New York, that would that was a, [00:17:56] I was clear that I was gay. [00:18:00] Wasn't and it wasn't easy to [00:18:05] to make the adjustments to my life. As a gay man. I was married. And I didn't. I didn't. My wife had to [00:18:20] adjust to this. And I know it was a complicated [00:18:26] unbundling which has not completed [00:18:31] personally, but will be [00:18:34] in May, you can undo something like a marriage. If If you still love someone in but I was clear that I was gay. No doubt about it. [00:18:53] And will you hopefully house? [00:18:56] Well? [00:19:00] No, not really. I mean, I was I wasn't secretive about it, particularly, but it wasn't till homosexual Laura form, or that I had to, I had to be really sort of funny situation where we were looking around for someone to front TV appearance for I think the cattle had made a statement against homosexual or form. And we needed someone to get on TV to disagree with him. And I looked around and pointed at me and said, You've got to believe that's how my fam or some parts of my family found out I was gay content, which is a very efficient way to get everyone to know you don't have to go around telling people went by wireless, all at once, but a little which makes it easier. How would I go down? Oh, no, there are no. [00:20:07] in those early 80s. What was? Or was there? Things like safe six? I mean, was that was that happening with people using condoms, where [00:20:19] people use condoms. As far as I know. Before, a before we realize there was an infectious agent. We didn't know what it was. But we eventually worked out that there must be an infectious agent and started saying, Look, you've got to use condoms, and [00:20:47] published a leaflet to that effect. [00:20:52] in Wellington, we think we mimeographed if I remember rightly, or photo, it was something very primitive. Anyway, I can't remember exactly how he did it, and put it out at the sauna. And when there was a big news thing about someone arriving in Wellington, personally called Gary the first. And it was sort of like little bit of exterior about it a big bit of the Syria that in the newspaper, we try to put that out, we put out a reassuring leaflet, and one of the places we distributed was [00:21:34] in the sauna. [00:21:37] and use that as an opportunity to say, use condoms. [00:21:43] Now I've seen a video clip from July 1985. We're saying it's the first local case. And when I'm in the shots of a leaflet being handed out to gay people, is it the same? [00:21:59] Probably can't be sure what you saw that that sounds like the right time slot. [00:22:07] So July 1985. So he would have been known about for what, three or four years? [00:22:14] Well, it was not about him in stages. So so something was not about, but it wasn't known as a. And then, even when it was not about it wasn't known to be caused by an infectious agent. So, you know, the knowledge, even when it was known about was very, very limited at first. But if I'm not mistaken, the first tests were available in New Zealand in I think 1984. And I had one of the first test because seemed the right thing to do. You know? [00:23:04] What was that? Like? Considering that 1984? There was no treatment as such was there? [00:23:10] No. [00:23:13] I, I was a bit scared. [00:23:17] I didn't feel [00:23:21] a great danger, probably because I have great powers of denial. Probably should have. I mean, I've been at if I think about her at huge danger playing around in New York and 1979 51 what to have got the virus was me. [00:23:42] I've been very, very lucky. [00:23:46] Can you recall what was in that? That lyst role that that kind of circular things? [00:23:53] No, I cannot I guess it's available in the archive. [00:23:57] But what can you recall for the the time was it [00:24:01] was attempting to be reassuring and decide look, [00:24:07] be safe. I know he's safe. [00:24:11] use condoms. He can't get AIDS except I unsafe six there. It's not catchable off door handles. [00:24:28] Worry. Be safe. It'll be okay. [00:24:34] It must be one thing to kind of reassure, say like the gay community. But another thing being to take that message to the wider community, how are they reacting? [00:24:45] Are there's a huge amount of hysteria. And it was very difficult not to be flippant, sometimes. I remember some argument in the newspaper about what happened with [00:25:00] someone came across someone. [00:25:03] Street and how would they know they had a someone was collapse on the street. And I think I made a statement that though, as long as you would continue to have sex with someone you picked up from the street. Okay. [00:25:22] What about within the gay community itself? I mean, was there you know, tension of people being frightened or complacency how to [00:25:36] the range of emotions, you know, when Gary the first arrived, we got this call. And I took him to see john Miller. At the time, there was already news articles about him. So on the medical officer for health run was switchboards, wanting to make sure that he was being looked after properly, and they were worried that he was a drug addict. mentally unbalanced. No, he hit. They thought he was six crazed. And so we we never having met him, we had to come. And then then he, then we made him and took him to john [00:26:36] had a long talk with him. [00:26:39] Made sure there was a relationship between them was going to work. And of course, he was only too happy because he found a good doctor who was going to look after him. And that made everyone happy. Because the medical officer of health knew that it was in the hands of a doctor, there was a network of support what's around them. So [00:27:07] john Miller, write me up and said, Look, in you're going to laugh, Bill, this is really ridiculous. But after you've taken Gary, I boiled the cap and source that he used. And I think that's, that's emblematic of the of the general social fear that permeated the whole of society, including gay society. And john knew that it was stupid. But the fear was so great. And so irrational [00:27:59] people that do rational things. [00:28:04] And [00:28:07] I mean, this fellow, Gary, his family, were homophobic anyway. [00:28:18] But he was close to a brother. [00:28:21] But the brother wouldn't let him anywhere near his children. [00:28:28] And [00:28:31] there was a whole thing was a disaster and he suicide. [00:28:37] Brother, then six weeks. That [00:28:42] was was terrible, ghastly situation. Everyone's completely devastated. [00:28:49] And I think we counted as a [00:28:53] as a complete failure. From the point of view of doing our job, which was sort of supporting people. [00:29:11] What's there like 100% support for people in the gay switchboard or so I can imagine that some people would go the other way and kind of ostracize people. [00:29:22] I don't think there's anyone in the gay switchboard who would have had that position, I don't know. I don't think I would have got away with it. If they did, they will just moved on. So that would be a fight about that they just wouldn't filled out a place. I'm sure that there was a level of prejudice in some parts of the gay community and come coming at it in a way is so rumors that someone might have HIV or a sort of thing, sometimes. [00:30:13] You briefly mentioned before Bruce Bennett, can you tell me a bit about him. [00:30:21] He he was a brilliant, charming [00:30:28] guy, [00:30:30] highly educated social worker, who'd been to UCLA studied and Ivan [00:30:43] and [00:30:45] had also got involved in the shanty project, which has a particular take on caring for people with HIV. And he's all he also had, he wasn't a political person by nature, but he, he developed a good political instinct. [00:31:11] And he, [00:31:15] he, he would, he could, he could see it and see the importance of politics and good see how to find political people and use them. You know, he, he, he got me onto the political side of things. He got people motivated, he was inspiring. So the fellow said, kinda charisma. [00:31:45] So he, [00:31:48] again, he lived two years in New Zealand. [00:31:52] But in that time, he managed to get a job with the head to be made specially for him with the Ministry of them. [00:32:04] And [00:32:07] put together this network with strong branches or [00:32:13] whatever they call them in, [00:32:18] in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and, and outlying bits in Hamilton, Linda Dayton, [00:32:30] and probably other places, [00:32:34] around these workshops, using videos and all the ordinary techniques of listening and empathizing. [00:32:50] Mostly training people [00:32:55] to, to be buddies, or be with HIV. [00:33:04] But also [00:33:06] making people think about all [00:33:12] and educating people a bit in safe six, will say for six, [00:33:20] and buildings, aid support network [00:33:26] as a and then we saw this as a purely voluntary thing, [00:33:32] which would be [00:33:34] ancillary to [00:33:37] the main publicity work, which would be done by the Ministry, which we thought so we're done. But then the ministry just didn't seem to want to do anything. [00:33:53] This is the Ministry of Health. [00:33:56] So we, we [00:33:59] thought this, and I argued about this, some must have been [00:34:07] Christmas ad for a 9494 84 Christmas ad for that I spent with [00:34:16] Bruce, in Oakland. [00:34:21] And we [00:34:24] talked a little bit with the Ministry officials, and someone had said, you know, it's too much of a hot potato for the ministry. And there's lots of things in New Zealand health system, which are done by independent charities. Think of Plunkett [00:34:50] and I was discussing this with Bruce. [00:34:54] And we got [00:34:58] to have a, [00:35:00] something like that. [00:35:03] And so we set up the AIDS support network trust. [00:35:10] We made some telephone calls, broken to john Clements Christmas holidays, to see if this would like to likely to fly. And he said he thought it would. And we made a list of potential trustees. One of them was What's his name? Paul. [00:35:37] We became Governor General. [00:35:39] Already you [00:35:40] see his, so he was going to be a trustee. And he accepted. And then he had to say, Look, I've got to turn you down. I'm very sorry. [00:35:55] We didn't know why. [00:35:58] And then I found out why. [00:36:01] Excellent, actually, is much more valuable to get material he was trusted. [00:36:10] We set up this trust in early 1985. [00:36:16] But Bruce didn't live much longer. He died, I think in May. And we changed the name to the AIDS AIDS Foundation. [00:36:32] Just want to go back on on a couple of things. When you say that Ministry of Health thought it was a bit of a hot potato in terms of prevention is just coming directly from the Ministry of Health. Why do you think that was [00:36:47] the same thing, we had to kill gay me and how to have sex. [00:36:53] And [00:36:55] that quite right, that gay men don't want to be told how to have sex, by the Ministry of anything. [00:37:06] By straight, so anything else? That's powerful. [00:37:11] But also, [00:37:14] I did actually bring out one or two heads. And they really were great. And there was one about trying to sell condom, parachute [00:37:28] or skydiving without a parachute is. [00:37:32] And I mean, it is difficult to actually Apple [00:37:39] what, what it was supposed to do. [00:37:44] So [00:37:47] to get something through the ministry, the process of a ministry that was going to work would be difficult. [00:37:58] So [00:38:00] yeah, if they were right, they couldn't do it. [00:38:08] And it was it was necessary to do it this way. And we we, when we saw that it was possible. Bruce, I said, right, we better go to the Minister now. And we hadn't spoken for at this level of politics will be dealing with bureaucrats before. But now is the time to go see better. So Bruce, and I go and knock on the door, we bring up and make an appointment. And Beth says I don't think it will be a real problem. I don't think you need wherever. And you can see his officials fidgeting. He says I think it's only some gay men who have some particular kinds of practices who are likely to get this disease. And Bruce nearly exploded at that point. I had to say, an average. And I said, No, I think you should talk to your officials. Because actually, it's something which is spreading among whites in the gay community. And it's going to be a very, very real problem. So we're asking for $200,000. I think they gave us the last or at least half of much more than we expected to start off. And that was only a staff. Right? I they were they gave us library. You know, they gave us huge budget very quickly to deal with the starting up of this thing. [00:40:08] And that was Michael Bennett. Yeah. So can you recall your first meeting with Bruce many [00:40:17] years was in my shop, I had a little bookshop. The stage was in Farish Street, which is not part of Victoria Street. Little bookshop. And Phil brought them in when it arrived. And he was going to be giving a lecture. And we're going to be in the library to lecture the place which doesn't exist any longer. [00:40:52] With arrange to pick up a video [00:40:56] recorder or separate project or something from a [00:41:03] matter, we chatted for a few minutes, we would [00:41:07] talk on the phone before [00:41:10] and that would have probably been in [00:41:14] all say August at four. [00:41:19] So was this one of Bruce's eight right trip and right here [00:41:23] things? [00:41:26] So he did he go up and down the country. [00:41:30] He must have visited Wellington, two or three times here. [00:41:36] So those roadshow presentations who they named it? [00:41:39] Well, various people, [00:41:45] general public, [00:41:48] the AIDS come in the gay community. And people who were volunteers. So there's three different categories. We had very early on I an all day workshop, in tumble house, I've got some photographs of it somewhere. [00:42:16] That was a workshop training people to be buddies. [00:42:22] And then I, I think in the same trip, there was this public talk in the what was called the library lecture theatre in the old library building. And it was probably a different trip, where he talked in the Dorian society aimed at anyone in the gay community was interested [00:42:51] in how those talks received [00:42:54] over the anyone who was there was really interest. [00:42:58] No one can who [00:43:02] was going to be hostile. It was good speaker. It was engaging is warm speaker. [00:43:14] Now, I don't think we've actually put this on the recording here. So I might just say that my understanding than the narrative of that, that I noticed that that Bruce was in San Francisco was feeling ill and around about 83 came back to New Zealand, and then started doing kind of AIDS education in in support. Is it kind of your understanding? [00:43:42] I'm not sure if he was in San Francisco or Los Angeles. I didn't know that he had lost his education in Los Angeles. [00:43:50] Prior to him coming back, and in doing that kind of AIDS education. Were you saying that the story board was doing stuff around eight? Was anybody else doing either support or education or [00:44:08] not that I know of and Wellington? Not that I know, at all. [00:44:14] And how did the say the gay switchboard fit into the eight support network? Did it kind of the same people doing the similar stuff? [00:44:24] Yeah, I mean, [00:44:26] not all switch borders, join the eight support network, but most did. [00:44:36] And [00:44:38] increasingly, people [00:44:39] who wouldn't switch borders [00:44:43] would join the AIDS support network to the switchboard was gay me and only, for example, whereas women, lesbians and and heterosexual women, the heterosexual women tended to be but weren't exclusively nurses, or counselors. [00:45:12] But that's an exaggeration. [00:45:16] And [00:45:19] some church people. [00:45:23] So yeah, it became broader over time. [00:45:27] And you briefly mentioned the shanty project. And my understanding is that the AIDS support network was based on the principles of the shanty project, what were those principles? Well, [00:45:41] it probably was, and a lot of the resources, the films, the videos were shanty things, but it was never, [00:45:51] it was never explicit [00:45:54] that the eight support network [00:45:58] had to follow the principles of the Santee project. And I never bothered to find out what the principles of the shanty project were. I gather that they were in some way inspired by some sort of Eastern religious things, which I instinctively thought that probably wouldn't be very interested in that it didn't seem to matter very much. It was a practical thing. As far as I was concerned, [00:46:28] can you describe some of the workshops that the network undertook? [00:46:32] Sure, [00:46:34] they would often be of video, [00:46:38] which would, perhaps some place [00:46:46] a body and someone with a, [00:46:50] doing some things together. [00:46:55] And shows typical life situation relations or say shopping, or making a meal, or whatever. And either being too tired to do it, or having some energy, [00:47:15] wanting to have some fun. [00:47:21] And [00:47:23] it is modeling how you support someone. And perhaps how you face how you talk about feeling, processing, incidents of prejudice that are experienced, or [00:47:44] unpleasant things which happen. [00:47:48] That might be typical for someone with some bad news that you receive medically or whatever. So it might, it might start off with a bit of video like that. And in fact, there might be several such bits of video like that, through a day's workshop. And Bruce might talk about some of his experiences with people that he'd worked with, and perhaps [00:48:30] some experiences in New Zealand to, [00:48:34] to make it more concrete and real. [00:48:39] And then they'd often be or they'd always be some role plays, where people would [00:48:50] role play, and they'd be fishbowl role plays where people would role play, two people would roll play some conversation in front of everyone. Bruce would be the body first, perhaps? [00:49:12] Or someone more experienced toward? And [00:49:17] then some other people would, and then everyone would be in small groups, [00:49:25] perhaps [00:49:27] an observer, two people doing the role play? [00:49:33] Can you describe the atmosphere and those workshops? [00:49:40] It could be quite emotional. [00:49:42] Because a lot of us knew each other fairly well. [00:49:49] And [00:49:51] we were role plan, [00:49:56] impending demise. [00:50:00] And that was quite heavy sometimes. Yeah. [00:50:06] You know, it's sitting there talking to a buddy about the fact he's going to die in the next few weeks, few months, there are many people I started fairly quickly on. So it could be quite heavy [00:50:28] and quite scary. In [00:50:33] you were facing up to the fact that we were in the midst of an epidemic, which seemed to be out of control. And you could be safe personally. [00:50:52] But, [00:50:54] you know, community wasn't safe. [00:50:58] So can these workshops was Bruce quick one about his own health issues? [00:51:03] He was open that he had an age related condition. He wasn't necessarily open about how seriously he really was, all the time. [00:51:18] One of the things that's always you know, I'm just so in admiration of Bruce about as being kind of out there in the mainstream media, not only talking about AIDS, but also talking about his homosexuality. And I kind of wonder, do you have any thoughts on like, we have it kind of what you were just that energy come from? [00:51:42] I don't wanna [00:51:45] I don't want to lead the way. But [00:51:51] he, he didn't think he had long live, he didn't have much to lose. He had a bad passion to do something about this, and to change this. In the sense in which this was his reason for living. And I think that, in some ways, life was very hard for him. But [00:52:22] doing all this made it worthwhile. [00:52:25] So in Wellington, who will be the main people involved with the eight support network? [00:52:33] Well, David hapa was one. [00:52:40] He became chair immediately after me. [00:52:46] David Sim, [00:52:49] Kevin green. [00:52:51] Later, all right below agent [00:52:58] Neil Fulton was the very important [00:53:02] who MCI? [00:53:07] Rob Blake. [00:53:10] Jaron. [00:53:13] And you also mentioned for Parkinson's, [00:53:14] film, Parkinson us, although I don't know that he did, what he did, he did the workshops. [00:53:23] And then [00:53:26] later on, Jane Hinson [00:53:31] and [00:53:34] other names have gone [00:53:38] the name eight support network, and wondering how much our network was saved between centers, so like open Wellington, Christchurch, or were they quite individual groups of people. [00:53:51] We had meetings, national meetings, and communication between the centers. [00:54:02] Sense of democracy ever. [00:54:05] Did you see this there was a different kind of vibe between the different centers, [00:54:08] not particular. [00:54:12] There wasn't a sense of decisions being made in a particular place, because there were no decisions to make. It wasn't just work, and an education wasn't [00:54:28] any decisions were? [00:54:31] What should go on the workshop. But we were happy for Bruce to decide how the [00:54:37] how the workshops were put together. [00:54:41] It wasn't it wasn't a bureaucracy. It wasn't. It wasn't there wasn't an organization. Really, it was a [00:54:49] collaboration. It [00:54:54] didn't have a budget. [00:54:57] So there was no squabbling over sources. [00:55:06] So do you think that changed, possibly when it moved into the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, where you did have a budget? [00:55:14] Slowly? Yeah. [00:55:20] I think inevitably, as, as you grow, as you become more dependent on government, as you have to fulfill criteria laid down in contracts. Yeah, as you have staff that are controlled from a central point. [00:55:49] Things change. [00:55:52] We had branches, we had branch meetings, we have branch chairs, and [00:56:00] we would [00:56:04] decide on who was going to look after someone and, you know, [00:56:13] it wasn't, it wasn't difficult. [00:56:17] It was not, for there was any power, or anything it was, but it was, it was self organization. And as you as you develop a staff, there's no self organization that it's a top down organization, it's a very different kind of feel, you no longer need a local community. And so there's no sense of power of the organization. And so there's no sense of community ownership of the organization. And I think it's a bit problem for organization like the AIDS Foundation, because you need community feeling of ownership of the organization. [00:57:16] If the organization is going to be listening, [00:57:21] and being listened to is the most important thing that the organization has, I don't think people listen to the organization anymore. [00:57:32] And they don't feel [00:57:36] it's become simply an arm of the ministry. [00:57:43] I think that, that it's [00:57:45] difficult. [00:57:47] Speaking of of listening to me such as I'm wondering, when it was the eight support network, how did you get the message out? Was it through things like radio print, had you get me to jail? [00:58:01] Well, a whole lot of different ways. [00:58:05] And a lot of it was [00:58:11] leaflets that were handed out at the clubs, [00:58:16] and Sooners. [00:58:20] There were also gatherings. [00:58:24] People had gatherings and there [00:58:30] were people to save six [00:58:36] for a while, probably at least six months. There were three or four of these a week. [00:58:45] If I remember rightly, [00:58:48] I'm really interested in the kind of language and imagery that was used in those early kind of prevention and education researchers. And I'm just wondering, can you talk a wee bit about that kind of language that was being used to target specific groups? [00:59:05] I didn't think we were very sophisticated. And I don't think that we thought of targeting specific groups. I think that we [00:59:14] were careful not to use fear tactics. [00:59:21] I think that we [00:59:26] said, Look, [00:59:29] you can be safe. [00:59:32] There. It's not easy to catch this virus, except with anal sex without a condom. We might have even gone further than we ought to insane with everything else and say, I don't think we lost too many points that will too many lives. [00:59:57] But it seems to me such a contrast. For instance, the the parachute safe sex ed? Or, actually it is we're, you know, it's nothing sexualized or anything, you know, that's like people jumping out of a plane, compared to some of the leaflets that I've seen, which are pretty legit in terms of a messaging. [01:00:20] Yeah, we weren't afraid to be sexual. I knew that six. [01:00:26] And how did the Ministry of Health respond to that? [01:00:30] Right, you please. [01:00:34] As long as they didn't have to. [01:00:37] I mean, they're not stupid. [01:00:41] They, they just don't [01:00:44] want to have to answer to a minister for that sort of thing. [01:00:49] They know that that's how you stop HIV. [01:00:54] And the minister wants these things. [01:00:57] Because he doesn't want a bill for HIV. [01:00:59] He just doesn't want [01:01:01] newspapers and and so they just want to distance themselves from the religious matters and other people who might kind of criticize them for being responsible. [01:01:18] What about the coverage in rainbow media? So I'm thinking of things like save of ESPN community program on XS radio wore pink triangle for the magazine. [01:01:28] I don't read the lesbian press. So I can't [01:01:33] comment, think try, I was pretty damn good. [01:01:38] Out magazine was [01:01:42] sometimes better than others. [01:01:47] I had some funny ideas at one stage. And we had some difficulties in terms of getting condoms into this audience at one stage. And because they were speaking it that by having condoms in this owners, that this would be an admission that gay sex still on HIV, cause them to be closed down. And we had to actually be quite heavy with them over there [01:02:23] and say, Look, if you don't have them, you will have to because [01:02:29] we did it in the nicest possible way. [01:02:33] Was it would have been disastrous to close them down actually, by the Sooners, were, in some ways, the most important site of safe sex education. But it would have been easy for them not to be if we've gone along with what the proprietor of the Empire [01:03:00] running alongside [01:03:03] the emergence of AIDS and New Zealand was but homosexual law reform in what kind of counter get an 8586? How did eight affect the homosexual Law Reform campaign? [01:03:20] Well, quite directly, [01:03:25] sometime in 1985. [01:03:30] There was a TV [01:03:34] docu mitre not documentary panel discussion on on eight, which I represented the AIDS Foundation because Bruce was sick. [01:03:49] And [01:03:53] the Minister of Health was there, I think he had a phone and or something. And we were all in this panel, ministry, aerial bureaucrats and doctors and things like that absolutely agreed that condoms freely available condoms, and homosexual or form what absolutely essential for [01:04:26] preventing the spread of HIV. [01:04:32] And that was very, very clear. And was a perfect example of the way in which the two things fitted together. The interesting thing is that someone then [01:04:48] rang in with a question [01:04:52] saying, [01:04:55] but what about people who inject themselves with drugs? And I said, Will the same principles apply? We've got to make needles available to everyone. That theater prosecution. And Michael bezza minister, it's sort of explode. That's I don't think that's online. That's not possible, I won't even decide that you whether you want to be responsible for the spread of AIDS prevention, the top tier officials again, and you [01:05:34] have [01:05:34] absolutely terrified I've never done anything like this before on TV. [01:05:41] And very shortly afterwards, we had the needle exchange system. [01:05:50] So [01:05:54] I mean, the point, the point is that there is a a very clear relationship between human rights and public health, that you've got to be able to discuss your health status freely, and have a certain amount of capacity to have self esteem about it, in order to be able to, [01:06:30] to address health issues. [01:06:33] So I think [01:06:37] I think that age was actually really very, very important [01:06:43] in getting [01:06:46] through, and [01:06:50] the debate around [01:06:53] politics or war or form was also really important [01:06:58] in educating people about it. [01:07:01] And the need for condoms. [01:07:06] aids was also used by the opponents of homosexual law reform. Can you tell me a wee bit about that and what they were trying to do? [01:07:14] Oh, yeah. Gate plus get a equals a one of the slogans and [01:07:22] trying to simply identify [01:07:27] gays as the carriers of a deadly disease which will infect the whole world, but the science was a knowledge thing, the fact we're against them really affect people who have sex with gays, but if you don't have sex with someone who's got carries, and you say, [01:07:55] so did you feel that aids could derail? Laura? [01:08:03] I was never confident that [01:08:07] that law reform would go through. [01:08:12] And there were ways in which aids could be extremely dangerous. [01:08:21] For example, [01:08:24] some crazy people on our side suggested we should threaten to, to pass on HIV to straight if it didn't go through. And that was not a very intelligent kind of strategic food. That could have been if that had gone out to Matt did get that could have, but in the normal course of events, it was not likely to damage [01:09:03] Do you have any comments on people like say the in Norman Jones, who kind of tied a two homosexuality together? [01:09:12] I think Norman Jones was one of the people who did more good, for course than anyone else. He was, I mean, he's a [01:09:27] nice guy with [01:09:31] a warped worldview. [01:09:35] That [01:09:38] he was so so crazy, [01:09:45] that he kept the debate going usefully. [01:09:52] And he was rather up obviously wrong. [01:09:58] I think he did a small good the [01:10:02] thinking of stigma and discrimination. And I'm wondering, you know, was Did you see yourself stigma and discrimination say amongst health professionals around aids in the 80s? [01:10:17] Yeah, the tumor hospice [01:10:22] wouldn't take people with AIDS for a long time. [01:10:28] The [01:10:32] Wellington hospital for a long time, insisted that people with HIV is plastic knives and forks. [01:10:43] All sorts of nonsense. [01:10:48] And of course, with Mike noise and [01:10:54] often [01:10:56] the nerves that would be talking to would have been the same route things to say was just not all would have been the one who had been with seniors on assign taking the flag, which was the roof. But [01:11:17] now, there's some bad stuff. [01:11:21] Racing TV news item about Tom McClain and wanting to talk about how his friends had to all gown up every time they saw him. Did you have much to do with Tom? [01:11:36] You and you Tom quite well. [01:11:40] I remember going up for him. I'm like just refused. I can't remember. I can't remember going up for anyone. [01:11:53] new story was about Yes, has his people coming to visit him hit? We have Marcus and grab some. And then when he was able to go phone, there was none of that required. And he was thinking what you know, what is this? Yeah. But he was also quite public, wasn't he? I mean, he was you know, as he was dying. He was he was being interviewed for TV. [01:12:16] Yeah. Yeah. He was an amazing fella. A [01:12:26] funny little chap, Scotsman who did a lot of work for homosexual law reform. [01:12:33] And [01:12:36] tests and found out he was positive, wrote that book, and really wanted to see it published, was published the week before he died. And Helen Clark, the Minister of Health [01:12:56] she loans the boat [01:13:00] and [01:13:02] he said another week. [01:13:06] And actually those that was [01:13:10] I think over Easter he died [01:13:13] and there was a gay conference on so we [01:13:18] had a big support team but everyone was tired so it was actually my mother who was with him when he died [01:13:28] quietly slipped away. [01:13:32] What was the title of that book? If I should die [01:13:39] interesting title for the likely we will will [01:13:44] thinking of ways that we remember people haters brought a number of things like I'm the names project eights Memorial quote, and also things like can wise Will you will logged in either vote students [01:14:03] know this is a someone who's went along with them. [01:14:08] And can you describe what they would like in the late 80s? [01:14:11] Richard beans organize the first candlelight. [01:14:17] And that was amazing because he's, he's he made these huge beacons with on big poles with [01:14:35] kerosene. So [01:14:39] beacons. [01:14:41] And I think the first one was at Parliament. And the second one around Frank, it's backed by remember rightly, and they were they were big and spectacular, bold. [01:14:53] And very, very moving. I'm [01:14:58] not mistaken. [01:15:02] Then [01:15:03] graft host spoke at the second one. [01:15:09] I think there were tonight. And there's something about far and [01:15:19] very, very, [01:15:21] very primal. [01:15:24] Can you describe what it was like in the late 80s and early 90s, where there was such kind of sickness and death? Because, of course, all the entry. You know, the antiviral drugs haven't kind of come on by Kevin in the mid 90s. So what was that like? for you in the late 80s? [01:15:48] original list [01:15:51] of the people I knew died. [01:15:55] 46 [01:16:01] I don't think it's possible to talk about really, because it's not something you can compare with anything. [01:16:12] I suppose it's a bit like a war. [01:16:16] The first man I love [01:16:22] guys that I partied with young man I saw coming out [01:16:36] people who lived in a house and were friends. [01:16:44] I guess that it's difficult to know what [01:16:49] what a fix these things have on you. Because you don't know what [01:16:57] the alternative was. [01:17:01] You don't know what life would have been. [01:17:09] One of my very, very best friends is still alive. Got the virus? Hey, [01:17:18] works as a cleaner drinking far too much. [01:17:27] Because all his friends are did [01:17:33] you mention the number of people through through the recording? And I'm wondering, are there people that you would like to talk about that we haven't touched on is [01:17:46] we really should talk that Gary the second guy [01:17:55] who must have [01:17:57] arrived in back in Wellington [01:18:03] in late 1984. [01:18:08] from Melbourne [01:18:11] and I was on switchboard duty in the call from someone in the Victorian aids Council. They said we've got this guy's came back. I said I said what sort of a guy is he? So we don't really know quite what to make of them. [01:18:30] It's a bit of a rogue and [01:18:34] quite engaging. [01:18:36] But he's not cut long to live [01:18:39] a live for quite a long time. [01:18:43] And it was a drug user. He's also gay. [01:18:49] He had a big role in setting up the needle exchanges who set up something called the Ivy League, gadolinium and some politics, but he got a sense that it was important. And he asked he asked [01:19:09] my What do I sent him off to [01:19:14] a lawyer friend of mine gave them some free legal help setting up a trust to the Ivy League and go home to the board of the eight foundation pushed towards the needle exchange [01:19:33] or to the needle exchange system. [01:19:39] And [01:19:42] yeah, and a huge impact. never quite [01:19:46] knew what was true and what was might believe with Gary minister was always about to come to lunch and lots of money was about arrived was often bullshit but sometimes administration he did come such [01:20:10] and sometimes money did arrive. And sometimes even from legitimate sources. [01:20:20] A pen a huge a huge role. [01:20:27] And might as an individual have [01:20:33] had as much impact as most of the people talked about peppers. [01:20:41] But this [01:20:43] is different style is not like him but [01:20:49] he's he's a [01:20:52] and [01:20:54] anyone else. [01:20:57] Peter Casper, [01:21:01] who was [01:21:06] early on [01:21:09] one of the [01:21:11] Peter Daniel, man with first cohort, they diagnosed with HIV, they would have been tested the same week I was [01:21:24] and would have tested positive. [01:21:33] And [01:21:34] he was on the New Zealand aids Council. And his partner Daniel lived a lot longer [01:21:44] on the board of the AIDS nation. [01:21:47] Now they were both very [01:21:49] active organizers, very effective [01:21:54] at mobilizing people, [01:21:58] making the bureaucracy work. [01:22:03] getting results out of the system. [01:22:08] And some Peter Cuthbert. This panel on the eight one world quote is that the first New Zealand panel I think [01:22:16] that's quite likely [01:22:18] in that was the score from New Zealand was established by Danny Danny field, [01:22:23] that's quite late. Yeah, that would that would make sense. [01:22:29] What do you what do you think of something might be the script? [01:22:33] Yeah, I mean, I think that [01:22:37] we got to find ways to [01:22:41] remember. And I [01:22:45] lost track a week, but in separating out [01:22:53] caring for people [01:22:56] preventing the spread, [01:22:58] and remembering these things have become separated. [01:23:04] And I actually think that [01:23:09] they're an integrated whole, obviously, there's got to be a division of labor. No, but I [01:23:15] i think that i [01:23:22] think i think they're all that I think they actually relate to one another and build on one another, much, much more than they've been allowed to in recent years. [01:23:36] And I think that [01:23:40] justice Kirby was talking about a [01:23:46] queer museum. [01:23:50] And I think that's important. [01:23:53] But I think that it's important, not only because [01:23:59] we need to honor the past, [01:24:03] and [01:24:05] note the injustice and remember the injustice of the past and in order to prevent in justices in the future, but that the fighting instant justice and the fight for health, very closely tied together, and, and can and can be more closely tied together and the fight for [01:24:32] for health [01:24:34] can be part of a museum project. [01:24:40] So I I'd like more thought about [01:24:45] also wire getting funding for probably. [01:24:49] And it's perfectly consistent with the auto chatter, which is supposed to be the the principles of health promotion as shrine in this document, but says that through the struggle for human rights going to get a healthy community. I actually believe that I don't know the [01:25:15] ministry itself does. [01:25:20] How do you think AIDS and HIV have changed you? It's [01:25:29] time before it. It's difficult to [01:25:35] turn imagine an alternative reality. UU [01:25:46] winless started, I was more or less a political scientist [01:25:53] and be part of the process which is turn me into [01:25:58] all sorts of other folks. [01:26:02] Yeah, there's no doubt I'm a completely different person because of HIV in every in every way. [01:26:10] I don't [01:26:13] care to imagine [01:26:15] like if I hadn't been properly I think perhaps if I were really selfish, I I'd have to say that it's been pretty good thing for me. [01:26:33] In terms of being made, person better than I would be [01:26:43] comes into the course. That's all
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