Gay Rights Movement (c.1979)

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[00:00:00] This audio comes from the collections of the lesbian and gay archives of New Zealand. For more information visit It [00:00:09] was how the political aspects of the gay rights movement, [00:00:13] really they fall into to at least two quite separate elements. The or the narrow legislative aims the attempts to get, for example, sexual orientation included in the Human Rights Commission so that it's no longer legal to discriminate against gay people. There's the obvious thing about changing the crimes act so that male homosexual acts are okay. [00:00:38] They really aren't the major focus though the movement at present in terms of longer term political objectives, which are really aimed at the restructuring of society, along non sexist lines along lines that don't force people into a particular stereotype rolls along lines that will force real, I rather close and perhaps disturbing examination of the intimate relationships between people below between men and women, women and men or women and women. The attempt to look at the power relationships that go on in families. [00:01:16] Well, how do you see what would be your [00:01:20] your ultimate vision of such a society what sort of power relationships would be very radically changed? [00:01:28] I think particularly the patriarchal power relationships by which most men almost guaranteed that be publicly or privately, their power to make decisions, and particularly their ability to control the decision making a woman is really almost unrestrained present. Now, that is something which we would like to see challenged, and drastically altered. [00:01:56] So Curiously, as a as a male homosexual, here you are pushing the women's Barrow? Oh, look, there's no question about [00:02:03] that, as far as calibration is concerned, and the gay movement in general, and items cannot be achieved until feminism has been totally successful, we can never get ahead of the feminist movement, because in fact, the magic gains that are going to be made in that area will be made by women. And this weekend do is to offer support, [00:02:24] will free and sexuality from the patriarchal family structure could be seen as by many as a direct threat to the basic social and economic unit of our society, which is a sacred institution, you're saying you would quite happily threatened us? [00:02:36] Are you talking about the family? [00:02:38] Yeah, basic family unit, [00:02:40] okay. One has to distinguish between the family and the institution of marriage. Now, the family can consist of a variety of forms, so that you can have, for example, one person living on his or her own, you can have two men living together, two women living together, a man and a woman living together with Nigeria, you can have all of those things I just mentioned with children, you can have those things. With much older adults, grandparents, for example, you can have groups of two or more adults, such a vast variety. Now, those kinds of relationships, presumably, absolutely central and essential to any human society. And I don't think that the gay movement or the feminist movement for that matter is on about the destruction of a person's right and ability to live in those kinds of familial relationships. But when it comes to the question of marriage, it's a different story. [00:03:39] I don't think that the gay movement is going to demand that marriage be forbidden. What it is all about, is the stopping of the present situation by which the marriage institution has an extra special privilege over and above all others, so that if you are not married, then your ability to pass on property, your ability to make all kinds of legal contracts may be hindered your ability to accept particular forms of accommodation loans, other things from the government, or all hindered. The marriage institution has some kind of political hegemony over the rest of society. And the gay movement is on about the removal of that hegemony, not the removal of the family institutions that maybe go with it. With again, the exception I mentioned before, that within all of those familiar kinds of relationships, what of course, we want to see is much more egalitarian ism, the freedom of people to make their own decisions, the freedom of people to make their own commitments, and in those commitments, when it becomes obvious that that particular relationship is no longer serving the interests of the people consumed within it. There are some relationships that are much better destroyed for cycle. [00:05:01] This brings us onto the ground surely of coming straight up against Christian religion, doesn't it? [00:05:09] If you start talking about the marriage institution, the primacy there are, [00:05:14] I guess it may do that's up to Christians disorder, I gather, there's a lot of division within the Christian movement is to just watch the essential elements of marriage. [00:05:26] Certainly, I think it's correct to say that many, many gay people identify the organized Christian movements as the chief source of our oppression, and also the chief source of much of what we criticize in a patriarchal society. [00:05:45] So all in all, really, in your terms, the gay rights movement is a radical political movement? [00:05:50] Well, it certainly should be I hope it is. [00:05:53] The Christian fact is that there are people within the movement who don't have the is long term objectives. I guess there are very many people in the gay movement who do perceive their objectives as the narrow legislative ones. And they feel that once they are allowed to, this is my old allowed to have sex with one another, or with all gay people that once they no longer discriminated against, then that's it. But for those people who adopt, I don't like the elitist him of leadership. But for those people who do fulfill the leadership positions of prison, I think there is a recognition that really lot of gay people and a lot of women is not going to be improved just with those legislative changes, that in fact, there are whole institutional structures be the education, the large public ones, or the family, the private ones, which really do pass on all kinds of ideological nonsense about what it is to be a woman or what it is to be gay. And until those things are altered. And until you're able to restrict us society, by altering the public and private institutions go people on women don't really stand the game very much. [00:07:07] So you wouldn't stop the gay rights fight. If tomorrow, for instance, by some miracle, attitudes changed, homosexuality was decriminalized and discrimination was outlawed. [00:07:18] Well, not immediately. No, I don't think so. [00:07:22] This role, you know, obviously, that's a hypothetical question. And the the chance of any society changing the whole of its attitude overnight, and the way it changes at socks, just as non. [00:07:33] But even if it did happen, we're talking about such vast, and really quite traumatic changes to society. That really, for a long time afterwards, one would be working at the creation of new alternatives. You see, it's really not possible for any radical group to describe the kind of society that it's going to create. If you work in with groups of the people, and I've had many feminists described the same thing and working with groups of women, when you see the huge amount of creativity and almost unlimited energy that women working together can unleash or guys working together can unleash, you'd have to be a fool to predict the form and nature of the society that those people are going to create. Once they are allowed to achieve their objectives. And to have a whole human rights in which every woman, every guy, every black person is freely contributing, is freely participating in that society. We're visiting something that no human being has any perception of a prison. [00:08:43] Do you hope for this to be an evolutionary change? Or do you think it's going to have to be revolutionary? [00:08:51] Oh, I think basically, most people would hope that you can have an evolutionary change. [00:08:57] I personally am, this doesn't necessarily reflect the beliefs of all other people in the movement. I believe that [00:09:05] once it becomes obvious that the kinds of things that we are seeking are going to become reality, then there are strong vested interest in society who will unleash the kind of persecution that one has seen, for example, in Cuba, were concentration camps will set up a homosexual people or another socialist countries where they are either denied to exist, or will they're quite extensively persecuted. [00:09:32] I believe that, at some stage, the state and organized elite groups will unleash violence against gay people. And I think that we will have every right to defend ourselves. And the same goes for women. But that won't be a violence or a bloodletting that's been initiated by either of those two movements. [00:09:52] Do you think that the gay movement is is in danger of being split between the radicals with the sort of worldview that you yourself might have and those who just seek acceptance of the quiet minority lifestyle? [00:10:05] And the ugly? Yes, yes. I think it's already a parent. There are, as I said, before, many groups who are quite happy to accept just the legislative changes and then get on with it, they acquired life. [00:10:18] I think, by and large, what tends to happen is that the more those kinds of people get involved in the kind of upfront political activity, and are identified in the media and start getting the kind of hustling that many of us face. They rapidly become radicalized into believing and acknowledging that's those narrow aims and nowhere near enough. [00:10:42] One very, very quickly learns to be radicalized. When you see the way in which Liberals' suddenly get off the bus two stops before you want them to and pick up with the conservatives who you've been fighting all the time. And I think that when you see those people getting off the you recognize that you've got to go on a few more steps and you've attended, [00:11:04] how left wingers the movement, you you you have said that in Cuba, there was tremendous repression, for instance, of, of homosexuals, and this has happened another socialist states. But do you see advantages and Marxist feminist ideology? For example, is there any tie up here I believe yourself or a Marxist [00:11:23] is I am, I don't see any necessary connection between Marxism and go to graduation. And as you said, I pointed to what happened in Cuba. When you look at what happens in the Soviet Union and in China, anybody who wants to tell gay people that their salvation lies and adopting socialism, frankly, is a liar. [00:11:43] I hope that someday, someday we do see a socialist society. But I think that it is absolutely essential that gay people who want to achieve the liberation must achieve that on their own and quite independently of any Max's movements. Because the history of next ism is a history of selling out on guys are persecuting guys. [00:12:04] Why do you hang in there with them? That was as well you. So [00:12:09] as I say, I believe that socialism is something that's worth achieving. But just the historical background of what Maximus traditional Max, let's have tended to do to women. And the guys leads me to believe that just traditional all working class socialism on its own is not enough. Because basically, the socialist movements have been led by men, and mainly by straight men, mainly by white men. And they really don't see what it's like to be oppressed as black or women or guy or whatever else, which would you put first, I wouldn't. [00:12:49] I think that it's up to each person to, to look at society and see how he or she is being oppressed. And looking at the group within the most associate looking at things they can most easily do with their talents or with your opportunities to work in those movements. I certainly won't, won't go along with the message that we've got to achieve socialist revolution first, and then all the other things can come afterwards. For me, there's a kind of a broad front that's got to be built the between feminist and socialists, between non racists between people and get operation and so on. those groups have to learn from one another, they have to learn to support one another in public, even if they do disagree privately over tactics and strategies. [00:13:38] Is there any international tie up with between gay rights movements in their associated in any names other than acceptance and non discrimination in the more revolutionary things that you've mentioned, culturally, socially, and politically? is there is there a conscious tie up and organized internationalism, if you like? [00:14:00] Up until the middle of last year? No, there wasn't very much. In late 1970 809 [00:14:08] countries came together to form the International Association. My latest information on that is that there are now about 17 countries with gay groups as members of the International Association. I think that basically, those groups tend to share the kinds of things that I've just been talking about. [00:14:30] But it's really a little leery to say the thing has been going for less than a year. It has extreme communication problems, because the center of this organization is in fact in Dublin. And there's been the British and Irish postal strike, which totally destroyed communication for several months. So there's really no way of knowing just which way that organization is going to go. [00:14:53] Do you have any tie up with them? You've said that you ally yourself with feminist movements and something Do you have any tab under for what could be called a food fertility control movement with Planned Parenthood associations with abortion on demand groups, things like this, because apparently, the International Planned Parenthood Federation has three key points to control fertility, one of which is to encourage homosexuality, and the other two are to encourage abortion and to encourage women to work. Now, how do you see your role in that sort of context? Is this a conscious? [00:15:27] I found it really very amusing. I've never heard of the International Planned Parenthood Federation pushing homosexuality. [00:15:34] And certainly when you look at affiliates, like the New Zealand Family Planning Association, I think that for us to go to them and seek support would be quite an acceptable probably to both groups, because my impression is that many of those groups are inherently pretty conservative. In fact, my understanding of much of what the international pain Parenthood Federation does, is that it is directly feminist. [00:16:02] Their message is not one of pushing for the choice of women very often they are pushing overpopulation type I prophecies, and I've noticed many feminists posters and which the international Planned Parenthood Federation is described as part of the enemy along the way with doctors. So I find that whole international conspiracy theory quite ludicrous. [00:16:24] Do you openly recruit in the do set up to make the homosexual lifestyle look so attractive? And the ordinary marital one look restrictive and destructive? Barbara faithful says Gay Rights Coalition material made available in schools list eight advantages of homosexuality and criticizes the heterosexual lifestyle? [00:16:44] Yeah, I presume that she's talking about a pamphlet called on being homosexual. Now I have seen copies of that pamphlet, it is not a National Gay Rights Coalition pamphlet. [00:16:57] In terms of recruiting, I guess it depends on what she means Why that? [00:17:02] I guess, most obvious attempt to recruit is among the gay community itself, to make more gay people aware of the situation and to raise their consciousness to the site to the situation where they will start to become more active in the movement. In terms of recruiting in schools. I presume that by that she means we're attempting to convert kids from heterosexuality to homosexuality [00:17:27] is to make them dissatisfied with the the sort of roles that they're being handled by their family and the school. [00:17:33] Yeah, that's a very crude misunderstanding of the way sexual orientation develop Sufism, there's no way in which you can simply go along and run a, you know, a TV advertising campaign to convert the population to interested to homosexuality. But the time you've got two kids in schools that we speak to, say, 714 kids their sexual orientation as well and truly settled anyway. So no, there's no way that we're attempting to recruit in that manner. Also, very faithful has got to acknowledge. And so here's the rest of concerned parents Association, that we don't actively recruit at all, to the best of my knowledge, no gay group in this country has ever invited itself into a school, we have only ever gone into schools, at the invitation of the principal, the coordinator of liberal studies, school committee, the PDA or whatever it is. And there's never been an attempt on your path to moving on schools and for something on that one [00:18:31] and other many schools who are prepared to invite you to come along and do this. [00:18:36] I only know the question Wellington situations. in Christchurch, there's no more than about four or five schools who regularly take patterns such programs in Wellington, I know of only two that have adopted that policy. And [00:18:54] and when we go into schools, our attempt is not really to convince people of the advantages of homosexuality per se, but to show them that, in fact, homosexuality is a valid lifestyle, and that there is no reason to discriminate against it. And it would be rather foolish of us to try and pressurize kids into adopting a particular lifestyle or sexual orientation, which wasn't natural to them. I mean, the whole basis of much of our claim is that each person should be free to express that which is natural to him or herself. And so the attempt to force people to join our movement and our sexuality would be ludicrous

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.