Bill Logan profile

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:06] So here we have the respectable bill Logan, who's a counselor, a gay activists in a revolution lyst. Tell us a bit about that, though. [00:00:14] Oh, my goodness, which part of the respect? No, [00:00:17] oh, why not? [00:00:19] Now, I'm not very respectable. [00:00:26] I, I, I guess I grew up in the 50s and 60s when New Zealand was a very quiet place. And I probably found that rather boring. And then hit University and the anti war movement and got involved in protests and student power, and all sorts of things like that. And spent my 20s mostly ever sees building a small left wing organization. [00:01:04] And [00:01:06] learned a hell of a lot about Marxism. And that way of looking at the world, Max isms, a program or an idea for changing things. But it's also analysis of helping that now. And both of those things have stayed with me, I still want to change things fundamentally. And I still think that it's important to have intellectual frameworks to understand things. And the Marxist intellectual framework is the one that I think works best. [00:01:44] So how did you get from kind of quiet small New Zealand to wanting to do student politics and activism, Marxism and social change stuff? [00:01:57] I guess that, that headline to do with being at University at the right time, and probably also to do with being a gay man, and not yet recognizing them, and therefore not quite fitting, and struggling to find a way to fit in a way to understand what it was, which didn't work about me in the world. And try all sorts of thing that I've got a while if you're slow, like me, to, to see if anyone very important panel is a sexuality, which is a minority sexuality. [00:02:44] So what was it like? I guess not fitting in, but feeling like you didn't fit in? What was it kind of climate like around gay stuff? Was it just not talked about? Or was it actually quite vehement and anti you [00:02:59] was mostly more talked about? [00:03:02] I do remember occasional [00:03:07] bits that were talked about, I remember a forum on the laws about homosexuality at university in say, 1967 [00:03:19] would you go to university. [00:03:24] And this policeman, police Superintendent was talking about why it was necessary to maintain these laws. I didn't recognize myself as gay, but I and the people that I knew for laws were stupid. And this guy was worrying mostly about anal damage. [00:03:51] You know, it was bizarre, [00:03:54] and no damage was against the normal, this should be [00:03:57] law to prevent people putting them in itself, a position where idol damage might occur. And it just seemed, it seemed silly. And it was possible to, to see the lord of stupid without that identifying as as gay at all. I didn't realized now that I was gay back then. But I'd hidden that from myself and all sorts of things that I didn't have a Fantasy Life at all. [00:04:33] So he had that for any particular reason, or subconsciously, you don't really [00:04:38] know why you certainly didn't know why, because know what was going on. I can see now that the costs of being gay, in the early 1960s would have been enormous. No one was openly gay, and got anywhere. No one had a real job, openly gay, but I knew I didn't I know one or two people that you could see in the distance, who were rumored to be gay, or might have been gay, who looked a feminine and probably were gay. And lesbian as well, I'd heard of it. Even more mysterious. [00:05:26] So. [00:05:29] So what was happening in the 80s, you had a lot of stuff to do with homosexual, Laura, for what was happening being that, you know, made people go right, this has got to change had attitudes really changed by that stage, and the law was trying to follow or was it really not happening, and everybody just got sick of it, or? [00:05:49] I think that, [00:05:51] as I see it in 1937, already, a lot of liberal university students and literally was thought that the law was stupid, there was a big population of people by the end, who already saw the law as silly. But it was a minority, you're saying that minority probably grew right through the 70s. And also, the various liberation movements, women's liberation, birth, black pan, and so on, they those create a climate in which fighting for your own rights and a place in the world was part of the way things were. And so in that framework, particularly after Stonewall, which were 69, there was the development of a gay liberation movement, which had its reflections in New Zealand, and a lot of important pioneers that are working where. So you have this generational thing that previous generation had been a response to the war from the report, which in New Zealand was expressed through the homosexual law firm society. And they more liberal kinds of things about they were probably the people who organized the meeting that we were talking about on the campus with this policeman was talking. So you see, you get these layers of in each generation, it's done in a slightly different way. And in the early 80s, you had those two previous layers of people. And then you also had an apparent chance, it looked as if the politics could could go through and parliament. And that point, quite a lot of people got involved, the big big meetings, and the one or two politicians, is it? Yep. For this. And so Fred water eventually introduced the bill. [00:08:17] How did you Zealand response he talked about kind of, there was a building, building growth minorities that like, this is a stupid law. What was what was the response of middle New Zealand? [00:08:28] What did you normally have anything to do with the road? [00:08:30] But it's good question. And I'm not sure that middle New Zealand, at first worried much one way or the other. I think that, at first, it was mostly people who already had fairly well developed liberal intellectual ideas, and gay and lesbian people, and perhaps feminists who were for more for and religious nutters on the other side who were opposed. And most people didn't give a damn. And that was what happened during that time that the law of form was being debated in Parliament. Were middle New Zealand, just couldn't avoid the question. And you had things in the paper every day and things on TV all the time and demonstrations and petitions and stores on street corners, and, you know, a lot of attention given so that every news bulletin practically had something about this homosexual law reform. And they started to have to make up their mind. And right from the study, most of them help Well, why not? You know, it's nothing to do with me. But that position, sort of solidified and became stronger, and a lot of people became more aware of the issues. A lot of lesbian and gay people came out during that period. And that meant that people in thought they'd never met, anyone who was lesbian or gay, realized that actually their brother was listening, okay? Or someone at work or someone they they drank with, or whatever. And so the amount of knowledge about and all of the lesbian gay people just exploded in that period. [00:10:42] And you'd come out by the stage or you will have been, [00:10:47] I was a slow development, I, I came out to myself in my late 20s. And I really didn't, I'd started to get involved in gay communities in Wilmington, I've been overseas came back to Wilmington, in 1980, got involved a bit. And then we're starting to have to do things public. I had a bookshop on the selling gay books, among other things. And my bookshop was a bit of a community center. And [00:11:28] what was it a bookshop called capital books. [00:11:33] And, yeah, the bill was about to be introduced, and the cardinal Campbell Williams made a statement saying how terrible his bill was. And the TV people said, you know, you've got to put someone up to oppose him. And in the circle of people, organizing everyone in the head of jobs, they were worried about, or felt very young and inexperienced, I was just a little bit older. And some people said, you better bit of front this bill. So I found myself debating the cardinal on on TV. And I think that's the way all my family and friends local, I was gay was [00:12:23] on national TV. [00:12:25] It's been testing, and [00:12:30] within lots of different groups working on on door for you saying, you know, we can release beans and fitness. People for Laura form. What was that like? [00:12:42] Well, I mean, it was a in Wellington or I was based. And where we were lucky because the newspaper was more open to publishing stuff than anywhere else. So we got a bigger, a bigger swing. Yeah, we got a bigger winning of opinion in Wellington than anywhere else. That was for whole of reasons. One of which was we did more on the street to involve more people we and but we, we, we had a definite policy of engaging and involving gay people and lesbian people in their own interest. And so there's a bigger sense of movement here. [00:13:25] But [00:13:27] the thing is that there was this, this huge variety involved. There were, there were the party boys who wanted law reform, but really wanted to have fun on Saturday night. And there were the old timers had been slogging away at homosexual Law Reform for years, and would have accepted the slightest change. There were radicals who wanted to abolish or sexual division and didn't see it even as a political thing, but a social thing. There were, there were the feminists, there were a variety of different currents within the lesbian movement. There were nasty, misogynist, old men that were with me, and everyone sort of wanted this common goal, but holding them together. And some of them thought that there should be nothing happened in the street because we'd look bad, and that we should be actually polite everywhere. And when, when our opponents sit nasty, homophobic things that their public meetings, we should just sit there was other people wanted to do more than throw Rotten Tomatoes. And everyone thought that everyone else was destroying the possibilities of change. And I had position of the week needed everyone. We particularly needed the feminists because the core support in the Labour Party was the Labour Party women. And if we didn't have the support of the feminists, we wouldn't get the support or Labour Party women. And the lesbians were really, really, really important for. And some of the, some of the guys thought that the lesbians were completely irrelevant to it. They were more trouble and they were worth and they demanded too much attention. And sometimes I thought they demanded too much attention to but you know, you had to accept that. And then the the, we needed the misogynist, old men, because they had lots of money. We had to be nice to them, because we had to get money out of them. Because we didn't have anybody who the opposition had considerable funds from American fundamentalist. And we didn't get an opinion. And you had to the Oakland gay guys had a bit more than us, but we needed someone like them to win. We had to be nice to these guys, and to keep diplomatic relations with somebody. So anyway, that was my main role was being a sort of diplomat of sort of keeping everyone happy with one another. [00:16:36] And it all happened, luckily. So what are the big changes that you've kind of seen with them? yet? I don't know. If you think that there's a queer community or communities? What have been the kind of shifts that has happened since rafal? What people kind of think, Oh, thank goodness, we should have to work together anymore. See you later. [00:16:59] My be a little bit like that. It's interesting, because [00:17:03] before law reform, while we were still illegal, there were two major clubs, [00:17:11] couple of two or three bars. [00:17:16] Couple of six onsite venues, [00:17:20] you know, the whole lot more. Now, the now, you know, there's no clubs. There's no 1111 sort of nightclub type place. That's only in a small but in Wellington, and I think that's representative run around the country. [00:17:44] Do you notice any differences between Wellington Auckland, you're saying that Wellington did a lot of street stuff. [00:17:51] Here Wellington, as is a funding term, because [00:17:59] it might have to with the whole design of the city and being held in by the hills and things like that, but as a very concentrated city, and it means that we get together as a community, even if it's only to fight much more easily than an Oakland where people's sort of spread out [00:18:17] to find a way to fight. Sounds like in traffic, the [00:18:21] third, they, I think there's a lot more activists in Oakland, but that somehow they never get to critical mass, because they never managed to get together. And I think that's the way it was, then I'm exaggerating ended some huge stuff in Oakland. And but it was led by a group, which was lyst, open. I mean, in our case, we had a gay Task Force, anyone can go along those meetings. And it was there that decisions were made. Once a week, and usually small group, people trusted that small group to make decisions. But occasionally, there's something really important, like a big guy demanded that whether we have a demonstration, or we should be respectable, and everyone would come together, and I do that. And it was a way of involving people. And it was a way which required people to make compromises sometimes. Whereas in Oakland, there was nothing quite equivalent. There was a leadership, but it had a different policy. And it managed to keep control of things in it. It it. There was some messages there that from the gay task force of Oakland that we wouldn't have wanted to endorse, like, for example, there was an upsurge of anti gay violence. The Willington response was, we're going to have lessons and self to, and we're going to TV cameras along to the show everyone that we are learning how to look after ourselves. in Auckland, the advice was one don't go anywhere without company and be careful. And so slightly different kind of way of doing things. [00:20:18] So what do you say to people now kind of saying, Well, you know, I've had Laura, for me hit civil unions, [00:20:26] pretty much, you know, [00:20:29] there is no homophobia, everybody's sweet is and things are much better now. [00:20:35] What degrees of truth or [00:20:39] anything that is, [00:20:41] certainly, you know, there are many opportunities for gay people to be openly gay, and to lead lives, which, okay, in terms of the rest of the population, and other people can go have a good career in many, many years is and be openly gay, you can be a gay doctor, or a gay bureaucrat, or a gay businessman with any problems at work, or that many problems. But try being a gay high school student, a new plumber. And that's not quite so easy. Or you actually just try to be a member of a gay family, have a have a straight family and be gay and realize you're gay at the age of 25. and negotiate your way through explaining to everyone that things are a little bit different than they thought. Not easy. And so the still quite serious issues. [00:22:02] youngsters who can be very depressed [00:22:06] suicidality, [00:22:09] really important thing that [00:22:12] just amongst young queer people or cross [00:22:17] cross ages, [00:22:20] the there's no doubt that young people, especially at risk, but anyone who is a bit marginalized, can be at risk of suicide. And the fact is that older people are also marginalized on account of their sexuality. It's just not as pervasive and as strong as it was, but someone's got one or two other things going on in their life, or comes from a religious family background. There's a lot of love that we get down to specifics that can be quite difficult for many, many people. [00:23:01] So you're still interested in in social change? [00:23:05] What are some of the other things that you do? I'm I know, you have various hats that you wear? [00:23:13] Oh, well. [00:23:15] What do you use today, I spent [00:23:21] at a governance workshop, I'm on the board. I'm the Chairman of the Board of something called the drugs and health development project, which runs the needle exchanges in the lower half of the northbound for intravenous intravenous drug users. I something that I got involved in rather by mistake. It happens in life. There was some TV talk show about AIDS early on. And people rang in with the question. And we dealt with the necessity for homosexual war or form. And that was being this wasn't, say 1984 8584. And now we're talking talked about that on this TV show. And the panel had come to agreement that yes, we needed more form, in order to deal with aid, which was part of my objective for being there. But then someone rang in with a question of how are you going to do with AIDS and needle users made the obvious point that the same principles applied, and that you weren't going to be able to deal with the possibility of the likelihood of transmission of HIV through needles, without changing the law liberalize it making needles easily available, and preferably, ending the elite legal status of drugs? Well, of course, this was not popularly received by the Minister of Health, he was also on the panel. And I just said, well, you got to decide, don't you whether you want to deal with the phenomena of HIV AIDS or not. And if you're going to deal with it, you're going to have to do something like that. And as it happened, there were some bureaucrats in the ministry who saw that point. And very quickly, a needle exchange scheme was put into place. That it just that intervention, led needle users in Wellington to think that I might be a useful person sometimes. And so I have found myself having a continuing role here, which is fascinating. [00:25:57] It's, it's really, [00:26:00] world I, [00:26:04] I wouldn't have come across perhaps, and quite the same way anyway, without this, and it's very satisfying. And that I think that we've been hugely successful, more successful than anywhere in the world, in keeping HIV out of the needle using population. And that's because not only do we give away clean needles, but we have users on the desk, giving them away, giving advice. And these is obviously have some moral authority with other users. And I can talk about all the other things which you can do to keep yourself healthy. [00:26:52] Washing your hands actually is quite important, ladies and children's, different thing. [00:27:02] All sorts of [00:27:04] self care, which is necessary. [00:27:07] And needle users are probably some of the healthiest news in the world. And that saves money. And people might care about the welfare and safety of needle. Yes, I do. But people might, but they do care about money, and health dollars we've saved. [00:27:31] So we would you like, I guess diverse communities and Wellington, also New Zealand to hit some of the places you'd like things to progress towards? [00:27:44] That's a good question. And I don't think I know the answer, because perhaps we can lay down a prescription of where we're going to hit what we need is the abolition of the of the of the barriers, which prevent us hitting where we need to go depending on on what we want. And some of those barriers have come down. But one [00:28:10] of the ones that you see us still around? [00:28:14] Well, it's still quite difficult to have decent relationships with another generation. It's the it's difficult for gay and lesbian people to bring up kids, for example, can be done and lots of my friends are doing and it's becoming easier. But we don't have a good framework for it. [00:28:42] It's not possible for [00:28:46] gay or lesbian couple to adopt as a couple. That's ridiculous. That's that will change shortly very quickly. But I'm not sure how much difference that in itself or make it's important, symbolic for. [00:29:02] But I think in general, [00:29:05] it's difficult to, [00:29:09] for younger, gay people and older gay people to connect. And I think that's important, because we don't yet know how to aim our lives very well. Because we haven't got very good role models. It's, you know, we learn how to be old, from the people around us that we know we're all and if we don't know people who are all of our own life type, then witnessing so important connections and lessons and models. So that's, you know, I'd like to see better connections between generations. But on the whole generations, but sound very interested in other generations, you have to take the risk allergies into account. [00:30:03] Cool, thank you very much for login, respectable bill, login for joining with us and sharing with [00:30:08] us.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.