LAGANZ - The Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:05] So I'm here with Roger Swanson to talk about leggings. What is [00:00:08] leggings, right leggings is the lesbian and gay archives of New Zealand. And it's a collection of number of collections of material about gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex, the whole queer community really. And our aim is basically to collect and preserve for the future. so that people can research and who are interested in their own history [00:00:40] will have a place to collect that, [00:00:43] because we feel that as a sort of minority groups on the edge of societies, societies, not really interested in our histories, very click them. And certainly, if you go into your local library, it's a lot better now you'll find gay and lesbian books and stuff that 20 years ago, there was nothing really, other than some stuff about how sick and how grateful we all were. And they may have been some books on scandals and Oscar Wilde and some historical things, but they're all told from a very, you know, shock, horror point of view. They were told from our own view, and their own insights. So the archive is, is that when it started at 2025 years ago, that was the premise that would click their own material. So we could tell our own story. And, and things like a lot of newsletters, magazines, books, radio programs that started being produced, no one else is keeping them. So we keep site only keeping them for anybody who wants to look at them, or research or do some, some do some research. [00:01:56] How did it come about? You see that, you know, it is mainstream wasn't deleting any of our stuff, who decided? [00:02:03] Well, it started really with the campaign for equality and legal recognition of our relationships. Back in the 1970s, there was a group called the National Gay Rights Coalition that formed and they had a resource and they said, collecting material for the campaigns, basically, information reports, New Zealand overseas, anything that would help them with the campaign. And that's done building up collection of material. And so that was being one of the members of the task force that was doing this work was a library. And so we wanted together so naturally thought, well, we'll keep this material and put it in order. So people can find that that's what librarians do. very boring. very boring. But you know, it's very helpful if you find something and it's been indexed or catalogued, or put in some sort water that you can actually let round as a mix of pipe papers in a box. You know, we all know that. So that's how we store our own stuff I speak. So when you go there to find it, that's you know, and of course, say we're doing campaigning, petitioning politicians all talking to politicians, getting petitions going to all sorts of things. And so for political reform, and so they needed information, good rival gum, you know, there was the AIDS epidemic came up in the early 80s. There were other, there were all sorts of other things. So you needed to be able to get statistics and be able to say, No, no, no, the real story is blah, blah, blah, and how many people are supporting gay rights and museums attempting to 100% or you know, somewhere in between. So to really have that sort of, you know, vital information, the patch, they often fail, counteracting the publicity, negative publicity that came out. So they're all cuna, accumulated or accumulated into the great campaign of 1985 86, with the law reform campaign, led by Fred Wild at Parliament, and by a whole task force of gay and lesbian people throughout the country. And so the resourcing was really a powerhouse behind that, and provided anyone who was speaking with information, help them find out FX gathered up anything that was being produced at the time. They also produced, I think, some booklets refuting some of the arguments they put out. And so they were quite an actor, very involved, very campaign orientated group. And inside the archive grew, and that's, and then and once the campaign was sort of over, the archive existed, but the campaign, you know, people with the various ways. And so the archive continued as it on its own right, because I people recognized as a valuable collection of material. And it contain them, papers of meetings of say, the homosexual law or Film Society, the gay Task Force, the new da support networks that started up a few years before law reform. And so people then people gathering books and various things on it. So they were all there. And like I said, there's a library and looking after to catalog different put it all in order, and had it very nicely put together. And so there was several set resources. The, just after the campaign in 96, there was massive attack on the Resource Center, the Resource Center used to be in Bangkok Street, originally down in the basement there there moved up to the second floor, and there was an asthma attack one night, and some guys came in and saw what it was and so started lighting fires. But they fortunately were but stupid, as these people usually are. They didn't do a very good job, thank goodness, the showers and the fire brigade really amazing. They came in on and released tossing water everywhere, they saw what it was, and used on dry, dry material to put the fire out there just a little fire scattered around, there's quite a bit of smoke damage. Some papers were destroyed that were out being used, but most of the material was either in filing cabinets, which made them so safe. And material on bookshelves amazingly, get singed around the but didn't catch fire. So the collection was sort of, you know, smoke, and covered in a bit of dust and stuff, but mainly survived. And so it was rescued by the axon Timberline Bry, who stepped in and said, We will offer you space to jam to draw the collection out to do work on it. So [00:06:48] what a big deal for them to offer the [00:06:50] world actually, I think, but they were very with sort of part of the tumble library ethos and the way they work, they would certainly do it any you know, any collections or [00:07:01] one librarian [00:07:04] like seven young cross stitch them out people, you know, [00:07:07] help bring them together. [00:07:09] So that happened and my collections were removed and taken down to coffee place with to the library, he had some storage space. And we're spread out and clear and, and dried and what conservation we needed done on them down on them. So they were sort of in that state. So the the archive wasn't accessible, but it was in a secure location. And safety, of course is important since I've been attacked. [00:07:38] And I've been targeted, or was it? [00:07:39] Um, I think it was Ryan, I think it was sort of random, some guys got into the building. And they discovered came across it. They may have been targeted, but it doesn't quite seem that way. I think it was just a couple of stupid guys who saw [00:07:57] guys stuff so that you know, [00:08:00] anyway, so they like the record or anything but the collection was saved. And then because the team will have you been involved with the the trustees, there was a small group of people involved with the archive of that stage. That's what I was involved with it back then. And number of other pay people around Wellington, and so on, we negotiated with the Trimble library, who was king to preserve the collection as well, because I saw it as a valuable collection and be protected because the law the the 8586 campaign at generate a lot of material and really interesting material for research, various attitudes, and you know, just people involved. And the significant change it made to, to gain release me lives at that time, was already variable research fiction. So they were keen to have it within the library. So the gay community, through the, through various people around involved in various community groups agreed that it could be launched at the tumble library, but as but they still owned by the gay community, so the collection is still and that for the agreement that was agreed with the Chief Librarian at the temple library, that the collection will be house to symbol with the would be it's made accessible. So on terminal premises, the reading rooms etc. People could use those, it would be staffed and access by curators who were from the gay community, gay lesbian community. And as a heavenly staff members of the temple that was probably a good reason why it actually happened this way. Because, like the lobby had confidence staff, and and also seen a win win situation where the library got a very nice collection of a community that's really hard to find information about. And, and, and they had dedicated staff with it, plus size, and then the community has safe place to keep material. And so m so future donations would be known to be safe, they wouldn't be at risk of being destroyed or anything like that. So you saw a very valuable collection was house on the term Berkeley library preserved and available to the gay and lesbian community as a report needed. And so over the years, quite a few people have donated their own personal papers. And organizations have donated the papers, because most gay and lesbian organizations are voluntary. And you know, if you've ever been involved in any of these, these always, you know, it's quite hard to get people take minutes of meetings, but they do and they counts and the elections to be kept somewhere. And they usually under a bead until one shade, you know, all that sort of stuff. And they get lost. And the Secretary moves to up to Wellington, up to Auckland, to Sydney, whatever inside the paper says great rest of these never surviving. So we're very lucky that over the years, various people said Well, I can't store these anymore, or you know what I'm going to do with all this junk, which I've gathered. And so we are good joke we take in the junk, which we think is very valuable. And often it turns out because often that secretaries to be in secret to win days of gay liberation way back in the 70s. They had some minutes of the meetings, a few newsletters and things, let's all survived. So that group other than people's memories, and so we've got those and some of them newsletters, which lasted for 510 years, we've got those and they don't so you know, no one else keeps them because they're not substantial enough. But as a as a gathering group are very useful for anyone researching life and rural Auckland or wherever, down south. What galas been groups for existing what people thought at the time? And what are the issues that we're dealing with? So I think you know, so over time, we've got quite substantial collections. And some of the bigger organizations such as the New Zealand age donation, deposit the papers with us and records. The is although the homosexual reform group which existed for about 20 years, that is the material logical exit logic a liberation calibration groups, there's some social groups, the Dorian society, I think there's some, there's some lesbian groups have their papers, the Amazon sports team, you know, so there's quite a range of material. And we got some material from maker, the performer, and we're here to your shoes and races at one stage, but we met. So they were quite what we needed to preserve. But we've got samples of some of the [00:12:45] papers, it's normally papers, [00:12:46] right? But we have right now we would love to sequence of multiple side of things. And we did try and persuade Papa that they would like to have another I've noticed that they were just interested in various just one off that rather than a complete archive. But we do have, you know, radio programs, so I've always been radio is we've got just extranet gay VC, white red Christ Church, I think in some Auckland programs, which go on, you know, week after week after week, they mount up quite a considerable amount of programming. And so some of those we started transferring, and often they're still cassettes. So sort of transferring those onto the digital forms. We've done quite a bit of that with the lower form material that was recorded at the time transferred into digital format. We also had some film material from the lower form period that has never been screened. But with the raw material that's been changed to film. So we've had that digitized as well, for preservation because it was was not really accessible. And that's its original state. So we have film and we have a sound with paper hit photographs. That's the other area [00:14:05] of mobile photographs from various people's collections. [00:14:09] We've got some private collections of you know, people's personal photographs of the day to day lives, we've got some who have been semi professional professional photographers who law firm time we ran taking photos or other events can it's been event. So we've got quite a wide range of that. So the format's very what posters, not posters, so I think 1600 posters of new name at dances, political, social, whatever we can get. And I really nice collection. And we've got buttons and badges and all that sort of ephemeral type stuff that people have put out over the years. So they've been really, really nice collection, particularly for display, they're having an exhibition. And we've had a number over the years of material from the collections, because that's another way to promote it. We've had a one on the national OVA gallery, which was 20 years of law reform and covered that whole period up to 1986. So there was various attempts in the 70s and 60s, at changing the law in New Zealand. So that was a landmark exhibition we hit they both had various Phaedra displays around at different venues and things on it. So so you know, the more variety of materials got some t shirts, that type of thing. We get get some of those, and a few videos and DVDs, training materials. [00:15:38] So you've been involved for many, many years with things Yeah, do you have favorite pieces? Or what what do you get? Well, I [00:15:47] just really like organizing things. [00:15:50] Um, I like what I like. I mean, I like the idea that the materials being preserved, I was for a while when the curators and had quite a lot of hands on stuff. Now stay on the board the leggings is run by is managed by trust, trust is a public charitable trust, and which did. And we have a number of board members who, who managed the service, and we have curators who provide the axes. So that's sort of the structure. And I was a curator for a number of years helping out. And it was I mean, I just really enjoyed looking at material as interesting. It was great seeing that it was being preserved I am my library and role is basically in the libraries, I've been on the access sides on the front desk. And so I enjoy working with people looking for information. And so that was just another aspect of my, my career. And I really enjoyed that sort of work. And so you know, starts putting, you know, private interest, which is the gala day side of my life, together with the my work, which is librarianship and on the public people inquiring and looking for material. So that's, that's really my interests with, of course, quite a few of my friends were involved with the archive at the time. So that was really nice. And it was, you know, social thing as well. [00:17:10] So it's not for him to have a rule or especially archive is have a reputation or maybe a sticker top. I don't know for being really organized. Does that mean that you make things go really easily? No, not [00:17:21] really. We do take minutes. And we do keep them and let them make sure they're formal about that sort of thing. [00:17:28] Zero big fight for who wants to take them? [00:17:32] No, no, I am a minute secretary for the for the board moment for that it's my job to do that. It's not a problem. And what we I mean, most the board itself consists of a number of gay and lesbian mean, women who are from outside of the library. And so we have to Murray from Japan Asana group, which is a recent development of getting connections with that group. And because that's one of the outreach is we want to improve aspects of the collection, model, large, Omari component or to see, you know, what is around for that would be the excellent interest the collection, and would the collection the interest to Murray researchers as well. We are particularly we have one Pacific Island person on the group. We have, I think three four lesbians on the group have been involved in in their communities for a long, long time. And, and about three or four gay men on the group. So it's also bound. So we tried to reflect the interests of the gay lesbian community, queer community, as much as possible. We're really quite conscious that we're all getting rather old. We're also you know, the older generation, and there's a whole new generation of young gay, lesbian, whatever. [00:18:52] Separation of young Liberians [00:18:54] I don't know, I think I think [00:18:57] we don't we, we hang on to our jobs through security here. And then let them go. So we were bitten. So there there are, but there are certainly out the end, [00:19:09] does it one of the challenges to try and attract younger people? I think so. [00:19:14] It is interesting that someone made a comment that young people don't really know the past in think, what's what today is, is how it's always been. And we do have the students from Victoria University come down the lumen studies group, and part of this is gender studies. And they use the archive. And often they're quite shocked at the, at the behave, you know, the law reform, they were just 20 years ago, and, you know, 25 years ago, just before they were born, or when they were tiny little kids. And you know, I didn't really know it wasn't the thing. But [00:19:48] anyway, not that long ago. [00:19:50] No, that was long ago, but they know nothing. And, and the quite shocked at the attitudes. I mean, the civil union was our recent as much recent public spirit, I suppose. And fight. And the same attitudes came out there it was, was almost like deja vu the hell these people hadn't gone away, there was still lurking in the light. And they came out and saying the same horrible things. But fortunately, the users are generally pretty fair minded, like to see no nonsense, and I had seen the world heaven collapsed with an order form happened. And back in 1986, and the world haven't fallen then. And you know, civilization is still having baby. Yeah, and the kids were dying, right? Yeah, oh, so let's stop all that nonsense, at least some fringe extreme groups come out with, it would say anytime they've got booed off. So it's probably the only time you know, get some excuse to say some given the public. So, so but you know, this is a worry that, you know, people if they take the current situation for granted, and think also has always been, and we don't have to do anything, gradually, civil rights, the freedoms will be eroded, and they will, and they'll be subject to any women any, you know, of who gets into parliament and what the flavor of the day is. And if it happens to be anti gay, or we will have to be the same or straight or something, then I think, you know, there are people had to stand up and say, No, we are a multi cultural Society of a diverse nature, some guy, some straight salmon to say, you know, there's a whole variety of sexualities out there, which I think is probably one of the recent learnings of people. It's not just gay and lesbian, but this whole variety, and I suspect young people reflect that more. Now, and don't actually just go into all the boxes of gay and lesbian, and theme and all these sort of things that they're very strange. When you look back, people fighting over the gay community, particularly over, you know, with the word race or not, and, you know, had you be alpha, all this stuff. But young people here whole variety, they still face a lot of pressures at school bullying, and, and sort of violence various and is the family is quite a dangerous area, even though it's supposed to be supportive, it can be quite, quite dangerous for young gays, lesbians, and transgendered kids. They need safe places. And I think a strong community, which leggings can help support is really necessary still, you know, we can't sort of pretend everything's fine and pick up and go away. [00:22:36] So it's constellations kind of acts as a, I guess, a history holder, [00:22:39] a memory of keeping your memory alive. And again, the memory is really important because of I mean, I think you just look at the Mario community and the treaty fighting, and if the Mario hadn't kept the treaty, alive as a memory, that would vanished, I mean, the harm and the reason that, why having several months and getting some of the land back and getting the resources back and getting the communities that together is because of the memory. And I think, you know, I remember the treaty that heavenly, [00:23:11] pick it up from some age, [00:23:13] which is now written National Archives being looked after, and, and, you know, and it was very impressive looking document. And, but what it says is that we are society that, you know, as based on our on our agreement, and if we want sides to get set agreements, and the things that doesn't happen, then we're in trouble. And so, so I think, you know, for so the gay and lesbian community need to keep the memory alive, not on a sort of regular good old days of the war sort of thing. You can still get stuck in there, but really looking for opportunities to celebrate our community, and its diversity. [00:23:50] So you have exhibitions, maybe exhibitions, it kind of get how do people find out I guess, all young people in particular, maybe find out about Megan's Law Students from vertical [00:24:00] tech, which we do a wee bit of advertising, we've got a website, we do need more outreach required conscious of that, like we've got the app games coming up next year, we will be running a conference as part of that out games. And so it's a really good opportunity for the archive two will be having so telling our stories, basically sessions, as part of the conference to be really exciting. We will hear so we've we've published a couple of books, on from conferences that we've had in the past. So that are available if people want to buy them. So the conference, so the games will be really important as of an outreach for us. I will remind you again, that we exist, and also to interact with the international community when they arrive in Wellington, and you know, teaming was famous games, it's going to be here. So yes, let's those are you but you know, I was getting contact first young people is really difficult. [00:25:05] Wi Fi was a total little bit I guess about accessibility and quite a lot of the stuff that's in the archives. If I was a young person, or if I was part of a queer youth group or something, how would i what i bowl on earn or might be really interested in looking at [00:25:22] the moment the archives a bit of a strange situation, because national library building is being redeveloped and Molesworth Street. That's where we were the Trimble library to libraries path national libraries, but confusing, but where the library and the library Yeah, yes. And it's the research side. And so in music history was basically researched and the table library. So if you know someone's writing a new book about strip New Zealand, that's where they would work, a good part of it would be down there. And that book would end up in every school in every home in the country. So that's the sort of, you know, the game the tumor library is a powerhouse by research and sorry, [00:26:03] power of the library. [00:26:06] State this stuff the and includes that includes the gay and lesbian collections, part of the building is closed for refurbishment at the moment, they're improving the storage conditions and some of the building some of the styling and things like that. So it was time to give it a good clean. So they decided to move it all out. So we're a temporary locations at the moment, one and archives New Zealand with some of the timber material is and that's where the leg ends, manuscript collection is available. So that's the unpublished material such as diaries, journals, papers, from organizations and such. The risk the collection is actually in lockdown, America is not available, so which is a pain but and will be available again in 2012. And that's the published material. And that was really done because there wasn't enough space, find everything, find places for everything. And also, it sort of thought, well, the published material, some of it is available elsewhere, not not great, you know, not all of it, but some of it is. And so that will be least impact or closing that side of the collection down. But the organization is still up and running. And like I said, we're planning for the games. So to contact anybody, I would suggest go to the website, we've got lists of things that are available, the the list of the manuscript collection, what's available archives is the sequence game down those, there's about a couple thousand items here. So I'll click one last point that's quite logically, people get quite it's quite a large collection, [00:27:35] is it a little bit overwhelming? [00:27:36] It is, it isn't, it isn't because a lot of it's all being laboratory packed and beautiful boxes. And it's it's an packed in essence, three folders, it's you know, something you would never do yourself at home. But because the temple has how high conservation values, material that comes in, is expected for any infestation. So you need Croix critical, he got rid of it put into acid free materials at last longer as Captain temperature controlled rooms and boxes, wax boxes that [00:28:11] weren't damaged material. And so, [00:28:13] so it's all so you have rows of boxes with labels on it, which is, which is not very interesting look at it. But so but you do need to, but there is wonderful stuff, they once you start digging through people's pit, there's certainly people's personal experiences that their own papers, their own leaders, lots of you know, little writing to politicians and things like that is the waxing moon lesbian archive from Hamilton was was donated recently, a few years ago. And that's the net some basically newspaper and, and Joe and magazine articles, which they collect and stored and put in some sort of order. So they could find stuff, but it sort of covers a period. That's like a whole period that's been preserved information about there's a lot of scrapbook. So people have, you know, kept flipping boxes, and president of what they're interested in. So it's quite fascinating. So reading some of these things that were published 20 years ago, or even longer. So use those sort of things. Um, the other news newspapers, we get New Zealand and overseas because we for for magazines and books, because that's really most the news, most New Zealanders didn't have any news, it wasn't in New Zealand publications when we were growing up. So it was only overseas gay liberation, early publications in America and Britain. [00:29:41] So we've got quite a lot of that [00:29:42] material, it's really interesting to read and stuff. So anyone who wants to access the archive, they need to go and go to the web page, look at the curators and contact one of them. It's sort of by appointment at the moment, when the most historic building open was open, you could actually just walk in and asked one of the staff, they would [00:30:01] make time to talk to you and sort out what you need. [00:30:04] So that suits that function as well, we can kind of get almost like a tour or [00:30:09] Yeah, you can do this thing with the tables most the collections behind the stakes, and they won't get you into the table stakes. Because there's just so much pressure stuff there. And security is a high level high thing about the library. But certainly, we have a public catalog, a lot of opportunity. Like I said a lot of material on the website, there's a list of all the journals and MIT newsletters we have. There's some audio search some audio recordings, what we have says was the manuscript papers that we've got there. And there's some other links and some other papers. We've got two books at the moment 20 years on in outlines of lesbian and gay history, which are based on conferences and they're really quite an interesting read. So I contact one the curators from the and make an appointment because they actually living in different buildings from the collection so so they have to there's a walking in vote actually valued have to wait anyway. So that's this just to email them and tell them what you're looking for. And we can say whether it's available or not, and suggest ways of finding the information. It's not available. Also, there's a huge amount on the internet now. So I suppose you know some needs for for the first for immediate stuff is not not that necessary. Now. It was years ago. [00:31:26] Brilliant. Thank you very, very much for taking time and telling us about the extensive extensive kind of archives of logins. Well, [00:31:35] you're very welcome.

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.