Cathie - Butch on Butch

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride [00:00:05] I grew up in lower hats. I'm born in Wellington, but I have to go through and through in my upbringing. I have two older brothers and normal ish nuclear family of growing up with with my parents staying together and my two brothers there. [00:00:26] Where did you go to school and the hat [00:00:29] started off it. eastern half primary school. I was a little tomboy, they went on to happen to mediate and happy like I [00:00:42] said, when you were a little tomboy? Did you go into a big tomboy at high school? [00:00:47] Are you definitely a big tomboy in high school? But although there's slightly lease availability for expression of the head, when you have to wear a uniform, but yeah, I was always one of the few screen on the paints. It's cool. When you could we could you could only spice to wear them and winter, you know to keep warm. Otherwise, you're supposed to wear the stupid screwed? [00:01:11] Did you get any pressure to be more girlish more feminine? [00:01:18] Not, not from the outside world or from school, or from anything like that, I think that my parents would have liked me to have been more girly is I've got two sons. They wanted a daughter. And I think deep down you know things like them sending me to ballet classes, that they wanted a different kind of daughter than they got in I wasn't quite what they wanted. [00:01:49] But, [00:01:50] you know, bearing that in mind, they sort of you know, mom would say you would do like the skirt when you know when we went shopping rather than me here straight for the trousers, but it wasn't on God meeting strength for the trousers. That sounds a bit [00:02:06] for the trails of rec [00:02:10] year, so I was just it was free. If anything, it was a subtle pressure. It wasn't really anything. Anything heavy or restrictive on me, but it would have been nice of the moment being a nicer, girly type Gill. [00:02:25] And so what sort of friends did you have at school with a like you just arrange, [00:02:31] arrange? Pretty much. I think that by the time I got to high school, I was hanging out a lot with the, with the drama kids. And you know, there's a wide range there. So you know, there wasn't anything, any particular kind of people that I hang out with? I didn't know, at high school that I was at least being or even really think anything about being Butch or anything like that. So I didn't sort of seek out the company of other people like myself. [00:03:05] Yeah, I just likes the [00:03:08] kind of clothes I liked. And [00:03:12] that seemed Okay, so yeah, I didn't I didn't feel ostracized or anything like that because of it. [00:03:18] So after high school, where did you hit, [00:03:21] went to Victoria University. And again, gravitated towards the drama people. Very early on, joined the drama club there. And my first thing here was the annual capital review. So yeah, I think that was when I discovered how much I like making people laugh. [00:03:45] So what what were those sorts of acts that you're involved in? In the capping review? [00:03:51] Oh, gosh, that was a really long time ago that Kevin review, because I did a bit I didn't must have done about five or six of them when I was at uni. And that one, oh, interestingly enough, I got cast as a, you know, sort of tuxedo wearing bouncer. And one of my first sketches, me and this other woman kind of watching it up and being a bit the bouncers on the door and telling people that they couldn't get in for whatever reason, [00:04:21] we're doing stand up at that stage. No, I was just really joining in with, [00:04:26] you know, sketches. I was writing sketches and joining them with other people doing them. So you know, something like a Kevin review would be a series of, you know, three to four minutes sketches, with different people on them. And the big, big, big, big casts for those kind of shows. And it was just, it was really fun. And you got to meet lots of people and kind of just sort of immerse myself in university culture for the first time, but was it Baptism by fire? Maybe? [00:04:58] Was this the late 80s or 90s? So [00:05:02] yeah, light it. So my first one was 1988. And they've had a long time without having capping reviews. And in an idea, they they kick started them again. And so here, it was a little bit of a wait and see what happens with those. But yeah, they, they were again, they were really popular during the late 80s, early 90s. [00:05:25] What were you studying, studying at university, I [00:05:30] did a BA in theater and film, and a law degree. I really wanted to do the, the drama stuff. That was where my passions were. And my mom really wanted me to do the law. Because, really, it's so hard to make a living being a performer. And I wanted to do that anyway. And it's it's it's kind of ironic that she was right now I can make a living being a lawyer when I could never really make a living being a performer. [00:06:06] And I'm really glad I followed her advice and advice. Yeah. [00:06:14] So how long were you at university in the end? [00:06:17] Oh, so long university, I thought [00:06:22] I was there for eight years, [00:06:24] because I'm doing the two degrees as, as basically six years with. And in for two years, I worked full time on the student newspaper salient. One year, I was the, the journalist writing most of the new stories and articles that were contributed by other people. And then the next year, I was the editor. So yeah, and that was an amazing experience for, you know, for being that young, I was in charge of a basically small business having to run the whole thing, when I was the editor, so with that, doing that sort of thing, and then was being so involved with the university drama club, and doing Theatre and Film, those are the really kind of like, great learning experiences. For me, though, that's where I got lots of experience that I could then go and get a job from, rather than actually, the study that I did. It was the extracurricular things that I did that, I think made me someone who could be employable. [00:07:37] And you come from a family of lawyers released one lawyer, is that right? [00:07:41] Yes, Laura's very heavy in the family, actually. [00:07:47] My dad's a lawyer, my mom was a legal executive, my brother's a lawyer, I've got a lawyer and judge cousins. And, you know, in between all of that they've like married lawyers and things like that, as well. It's a very, very law heavy family. And, you know, sort of going back, my grandfather was a judge, as well. And my great uncle a few times removed, or something was rude cook of Thornton, the New Zealand law, Lord, so it was cut yet it's kind of not not pushed in that direction. But, you know, there was such a strong emphasis on it in our household. And also, when you study law, is suddenly have to learn to think in a different way, you got to think about what's the issue and the legal problems and things like that. And I'd grown up my entire life doing that, it was like to borrow the car, I had to make an application and triplicate and put, you know, the reasons and the grounds I had for wanting to borrow the car. So yeah, would, you know, just sort of grew up on that. So it was a natural progression to study it, and then do it. [00:09:18] And you're a lawyer now working in the legal aid system, [00:09:25] do a lot of Legal Aid work? I'm a criminal defense lawyer and Family Court lawyer. I really like the court side of things. Because it is there is an element of performance in there. And I suppose there's an element of the drama and and how you structure your case and your arguments. And, you know, the audience is, is your judge or your jury. And so this this dramatic possibilities in there as well, which I I like so you do a lot of illegal it work [00:10:02] largely with with the criminal work [00:10:07] big because that's where most of the criminal work comes from, through legal aid. [00:10:14] In the photo we talked for but Butch and Butch you, were wearing you down. And we're in a court room. And in the narrative that you wrote for the to go alongside portrait, you talked about how was first getting into law, and what you're expected to dress is can you go through that for us? [00:10:38] Well, [00:10:40] obviously, the kind of clothes you're supposed to wear for for court and particular very formal. For me in these, you know, really quite a strict dress code even now that you have to wear a suit and a tie. And for women, you have to wear a jacket at cover your arms and shoulders, you're not supposed to have bear arms. Will [00:11:05] although, [00:11:06] but even now I sort of see some noise, especially in summer and they wearing is, you know, you see the shoulders, nothing [00:11:13] Oh my god, what's the judge gonna say? [00:11:16] It kind of depends on the circumstances I saw. [00:11:22] Recently, one male lawyer colleague of mine, he came in and winter with a jersey underneath his jacket. So he's wearing his tie his Christian or buttoned up tie right up to the top. But I kind of been nicked juicy under his jacket and the lawyer in the judge reprimanded him about it in court and said, You know, that's, that's not suitable attire. But when I was studying law, women were supposed to wear skirts, long skirts. And by the time I got to studying law, I had long since Lyft skirts behind. And Lisa was wearing them as part of a costume. And so I felt really uncomfortable about the idea of following through with the kind of work that I wanted to do, which is showing up in court. If I had to do that, to kind of, I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing a skirt, I would, I would feel like I was in drag. But by the time I actually started practicing, and probably a little bit before then because it would have been in the 90s that that was that kind of code. So 15 years later, it was a lot more relaxed. And there were other women wearing wearing trousers there as well. So I felt more comfortable about that. But the the idea of it being so strict that you would actually get told off what you were wearing in front of other people [00:13:05] that [00:13:08] did put me off a little bit about [00:13:11] how I would go into this professional either I would have to dress in a way that [00:13:20] made me feel really uncomfortable. [00:13:23] Or a kind of push those boundaries in a way which also made me feel uncomfortable. Because if you're a lawyer starting out, you don't want to be the one pushing the boundaries. So I don't know who when why how but those norms changed. And by the time I started practicing in, and the noughties, it was it was fine. [00:13:47] It still got to look [00:13:49] smart, like wearing a matching suit or you know, matching outfit and but really, apart from from the tie, I'm wearing the male dress code, not the female dress code. Donna, what would happen if I actually wore a tie? [00:14:09] With her I would actually kind of lean get more raised eyebrows. [00:14:16] It's not really me to wear a tie either. Because it's kinda [00:14:21] it's too male. [00:14:25] But yeah, [00:14:26] wearing a skewed is not male enough. [00:14:30] So you've never been reprimanded? [00:14:32] No, I haven't. [00:14:36] Being a solo practitioner. [00:14:40] And doing most of my work on on my own with other people kind of mentoring me from outside, I have had to try and make sure I don't make mistakes like that, because I don't have another organization behind me to back me up when it comes to things like that. So you know, if I ended up in front of the Law Society for wearing the wrong clothes, not that I think that that would be what would happen, I would hope unless you wore something really inappropriate. But there's just so many layers of formality involved in in the legal profession. And part of it is to cease the legal profession above, above the people that they represent. And to have that level of formality to say, this is a lawyer, not a [00:15:42] not a criminal defendant or [00:15:47] an adult those layers of formality are also the to make somebody's court experience something that they don't want to repeat again, like it's the to make people feel uncomfortable. And and, and to make them think I don't want to have to ever go through this again, I'm not going to break the law. [00:16:09] As someone who's queer, how's it been for you in the legal profession? [00:16:16] You know, I know there are a lot of other queer lawyers out there. Statistically speaking, there have to be I know some of them who I've met in my personal life, but there isn't any kind of queer support group for, for the legal profession, which surprises me a little bit. It has made me think, on occasion that it would be good thing to go and see it up. And [00:16:46] certainly, [00:16:49] now that you know, and I think over the past, even over the past decade, that queer issues have come more to the fore and diversity is more accepted in even something as stayed as the as the legal profession. But you know, there are support groups for women, support groups, for people with disabilities, support groups for Marty and Pacifica, lawyers, all sorts of things, but this year, nothing, nothing queer. You just you just kind of sometimes, you know, either other people. [00:17:33] So even when you're starting out, let's socializing with queer lawyers, lesbian lawyers, it wasn't really what was around for you. [00:17:41] Not really, [00:17:45] I [00:17:46] don't seem to socialize much with the lawyers anyway. [00:17:51] And I don't know whether it's [00:17:56] something inherent in me that I just tend not quite fit in wherever I go. [00:18:04] And it was at, you know, university, studying law and drama, I didn't really entirely fit in with the drama people because I had this law side of me, which was just serious, and, you know, is even the study of law was so much more strictly adhered to, then then then the drama side of things, and then I didn't really fit in with the law students, because I also did this drama free stuff. And, and, of course, wasn't taking everything quite as seriously, as I showed up. And I didn't spend as much time in the library as I showed up. And so I never really felt [00:18:44] at home in either of those camps. [00:18:48] I guess, you know, if they were, if there was something more easily accessible, of finding other lesbian, other queer lawyers, I really should go and talk to the Law Society about setting up some kind of a thing, then, you know, that would actually be something that might attract me towards socializing with, with other lawyers on a on a beer, more frequent basis. really all that sociable now that I'm, you know, in my 40s, sort of sociable means I can't be sitting on the couch relaxing. [00:19:29] So you're also involved in comedy in a big way? Can you tell us sort of things that you've been up to, I know, they stand up I know, is drag things, but I know, there's other things as well. [00:19:45] They're all really started when I was at uni. And that was when, you know, theatre sports were new, was new, and, and an exciting thing to be involved in and I kind of joined up with some people from university we're doing net, and then it sort of grew into a professional gig that we would put on a theatre sports show every week. And so that kind of got me into the wider comedy, performance, professional side of things. [00:20:24] And so that was kind of [00:20:28] my first sort of paying jobs doing that sort of thing. And in the people who are organizing that one of them's you know, we're putting on the stand up comedy night. And we'll pay people $80 for three minutes worth of material, like dollars for three minutes, I'm and, of course, it's not actually a, you don't spend three minutes doing it, that's actually only along you are on stage. And the actual preparation for it is far more nerve wracking than the actual three minutes that you spend on stage doing it. But that's sort of how I, how I got into it, it was it was so exciting to make people laugh, it just, it gives you a buzz that I don't think any drug that I've ever tried, not that I've tried that many drugs that they need, rather I've ever tried gives you that kind of a throw in it's comedy is that much more dangerous than other forms of drama, because if they don't laugh, you really know about it, and you fall flat and you feel should. So that extra danger adds to the excitement of doing it, it's kind of like the the bungee jumping of, of the performing world. In terms of, you know, how much personal risk, you're, you're doing your people not thinking you're funny, thinking your whatever. And so that kind of Yeah, that's part of the buzz of it. And it's been quite interesting being a woman, comedian, and [00:22:16] lesbian comedian, because, you know, [00:22:22] I'm not supposed to be funny with those kind of credentials. And, and a lot of people think they're already trying to break down that kind of a stereotype. And I do think it is harder to be a woman, comedian, or the stand up or any other kind of comedian than it is to be a man. And from my experience, I think that, at least part of it is because if you have a bunch of women in the audience, and they're listening to a male comedian talk about his penis, women are able to think I let me just, I can put myself in his shoes, and kind of imagine what it would be like to have a penis. But generally speaking, men are not as good at being able to relate to other people's lives. So the number of times that I've had mean, feedback from men saying I just didn't get it. Because I didn't know what you were talking about. And that's kind of sad, really, that just for the lack of the ability to be able to think, what would what would that be like, for me, if it was me, the missing out on a huge amount of hilarity and, [00:23:48] and enjoyment and a wealth of knowledge and things that they've never thought about as well. [00:23:56] I've even had on occasions, [00:24:00] you know, times when, [00:24:02] especially when I was really busy as a stand up comedian, and I was one of the, at the time one of the most prominent Wellington comedians. And so when we did, when we did shows, you know, I might be the last person going on because I was the, you know, most experienced, start off with a rookie people first and then sort of build it up to you your biggest name at the end kind of thing. And one time I did this performance, and the organizer came up to me said, I don't know if I should tell you about this. But one of those guys just just see it all. He didn't think you were very funny. He didn't know why you were the last person on he just didn't get it. Because he didn't find me attractive. What What if I wasn't doing it for you, mate? And actually pointed out to me because I probably don't find him a traitor either. I mean, it's just like, what the what the what? It is absolutely nothing to do with it. But that it does, unfortunately, have something to do with it. So, you know, not only [00:25:13] you know, and I was reading something yesterday about Acela Carson. And [00:25:21] there was some people saying, Oh, she's so funny. It's great. Your comments on, you know, internet thing. She's so funny. I think she's so cool and blah, blah, blah. And then other people going, I don't think she's funny. And that's fine. No, you don't have to find anybody funny in particular. And then they were all she's fat, lesbian, blah, blah, blah. And it's kind of like, there's got nothing to do with with that she's funny or not, she doesn't even actually spend that much time talking about that. It's not a focus of what she's doing. Why is that? What you see? When she has so many other attributes? [00:25:57] That she's actually making jokes. [00:26:01] The things that she's talking about, maybe if they if you didn't like something there that she was talking about, that would be okay, but otherwise just if off so, you know, even 20 years later, still the same stuff as just the talking about somebody else instead of talking about me. [00:26:21] You do stand up as yourself is getting shaken you also do characters What are some of your favorite characters? [00:26:30] Whoo. Well, the characters I kind of think of them as being Drake characters whether they're male or female. Because they're not me they're always someone who was I hope [00:26:45] it significantly different than me. [00:26:49] I guess my favorite one would be the one I do most often which is the incredibly sleazy Tony l Dante I wonder whether he's kind of an alternative actual other side of me because he behaves in such a [00:27:16] in appropriate lewd [00:27:22] objectionable way [00:27:24] in a way that nice polite me would never ever behave [00:27:31] is that actually an aspect of me inside of me screaming to get out? I don't think so. Because [00:27:39] you know, people who behave like that don't make the way in the world very well. [00:27:46] Or is it just something that because it's so opposite for me I enjoy doing it. I'd like to think that it is the opposite of me enjoy don't get them that it's another side of me that I'm just not leaving out [00:27:59] there characters and I really like doing kind of [00:28:05] you know, when I play a man I kind of like someone who's just [00:28:12] kind of quite ordinary [00:28:15] and relatable and [00:28:17] the kind of guy that you might meet on the street, but with certain characteristics of jet exaggerated for comedic effect. And I [00:28:26] suppose it's the same with the women that I when I to drag characters women. [00:28:33] It's it's torture, so very different from me. I think that that's why I like doing drag. It's, it's different from me. You get to play dress ups and play silly buggers. And just have a laugh. [00:28:50] You're involved in a book, come watch the exhibition, can you tell us about why you do D wanted to be a part of that. [00:28:59] Possibly, if I didn't have be kicking myself. [00:29:04] It seemed like a good idea at the time. [00:29:09] It is kind of a little [00:29:12] bit weird for me because I am really quite introverted. But there are particular situations and which it is okay to make a song and dance. And I guess this was a way to make a song and dance actually about me, rather than another character. And even when, when I'm doing something like stand up comedy, you, you're doing it to be as much like you as possible. [00:29:47] And to sound as conversational as possible and stuff. [00:29:50] But you're not really talking about the things that matter. You're talking about things which are funny, and which you think can get a laugh and you leaving out your particular way of thinking, but not really what the innermost thoughts are. Not that this is kind of that confessional either. But it's a little bit more about me, and [00:30:17] it's a little bit strange for me to want to do this. Yeah.

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.