Search Browse On This Day Timeline Research Remembered About Contact
☶ Go up a page

Early lesbian and gay groups

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes by using Ctrl-F, and you can also play the audio by clicking on a desired timestamp.

[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in and funded through a generous grant from the guideline Wellington trust with the support of the rule foundation. [00:00:10] Hi, I'm Dr. Allison Lori, [00:00:12] obviously general Women's Studies Program Director at Victoria University, [00:00:16] Wellington, [00:00:18] here in New Zealand for many years. [00:00:20] I'm a writer and or historian, and have this feeling gay activist. Today I'm going to be looking at please be engaged organizing in New Zealand and early Law Reform attempts. [00:00:34] I want to start off by thinking about the first that we know of kinds of lesbian or gay organizations organizing that started in Europe, and we're possibly some New Zealanders may have been connected to these organizations. New Zealand was never isolated. Boats came here all the time bringing information from especially England, people receive newspapers and magazines. They got books when boats came, it was very important. So this country's never been isolated. It's never not known what was going on elsewhere. [00:01:19] Marcus Magnus Hirschfeld appears to be one of the first people to start formerly organizing in Germany. This was tremendously important and of course, they were with some groups and books and substantial ideas happening earlier than that. But it's, it's really, the has scientific humanitarian Committee, which was founded in 1897 and Berlin, which was the most influential Hershel Edison, the yearbooks for sexual intermediaries, and in 19, he founded the Institute for sexual science. [00:01:58] Also in 1896, an Englishman George Ives, established the order of China Nia, which was a secret homosexual society initiated in England, that became a worldwide organization. The British society for the study of six psychology was founded in 1914. By George Ives, it would carpenter, Hirschfeld, and others. This was later affiliated to the World League for sexual form, which was initiated in 1928. And there were various other former organizations throughout Europe, most of which produce publications, as well as many homosexual bars and clubs for both men and women. And it seems very likely that some New Zealanders were members of these organizations. And it's very likely that those who traveled to Europe and many people did not just wealthy middle class people, but working class people who worked on ships, or other kinds of jobs overseas, that these people would know at the social venues and may have known of these are pronunciations and of the various ideas that the organizations discussed and published. Certainly, it's known that some New Zealanders had connections with it would carpenter, he published some very influential books in the early part of the century, the intermediate six, and we know that people who friends of hers came to New Zealand and their connections with carpenter, we know that with the women's movement of the time, that they were very strong links between the various women's movements and New Zealand, of course, the first country in the world where women got the vote from 1893. And there were strong links women traveling to and fro. And certainly, even in those times, there was strong, same sexual, whether we call this lesbian or not friendships between women. So there's plenty of opportunity for the interchange of ideas. [00:04:00] All of that organizing in Europe comes to an end, when the Nazis come to [00:04:05] power. [00:04:07] It finishes in Germany itself in 1933, as the Nazis are [00:04:11] voted into power. And as they advance through Europe, occupying the various countries, one of the first things that happens is the destruction of police feeling gave social venues, magazines, and certainly of those organizations. One of the most famous pieces of film shows stormtroopers throwing books onto a bonfire. And that is outside the Institute for sexual science which fills Institute and Berlin, the books that are being burned with a records books about homosexuality and transgender matters. We're all being burned the burning of books, usually, we're not told when we see those, those scenes, as part of documentaries, we're not taught exactly whose books they were, who himself escaped, because he was out of the country, but he died within three years. So that's the destruction of the reason, we move forward into 1945. And we see the beginnings again of those organizations in Europe and the big organizations formed again, the only one that survived like three the warriors. This is Swiss or Swiss organization, the circle Dickies the first one to start up, again, is the CIC and Holland which starts in 1946. In the Scandinavian countries begin again, from 1948, with organizations called the organization of 1948. [00:05:43] The organization was set up by the by people who had known about the organizations before the war. [00:05:52] But as time goes on, the knowledge about a lot of those organizations, as lost as younger people from the baby boom generation came of age, and began flooding into those organizations and taking them over, then a lot of the knowledge about what had gone before seems to get lost. It isn't until we get a generation of historians coming in the, from the 1970s, that a lot of that information is available to us again. The other very important thing is that the is that organizations, important organizations are founded in the United States. That's one, which was founded in Los Angeles, and the metric chain, at which was founded by Harry Hey, who was a communist educator, he uses the strategy that he used for communist organizing to set up cells so that people in each cell don't know about anybody else. So if they asked to give information to the police, then they can't get much because they only know who's in their own cell. So this becomes very popular. And the meta chain starts branches in many parts of the United States, especially California. And we know conferences held, [00:07:11] there are some hundreds of people [00:07:12] at it. And the first thing they do is expel Harry, hey, because he's a communist, and the Cold War's beginning, so they don't want a commie running the organization. And then the next thing that happens is that Harry, hey, it's built from the Communist Party for moral turpitude. He goes on, of course, to become a founder of the radical theories and have a wonderful life as a gay activist, and has been so important to so many things in the United States. These been organizations also begin. Now the daughters of belies us, begins in the late 1940s, also in the United States. And then as we move on to the 1960s, we get organizations, at least one organization, beginning the minorities research group founded by is my Langley in London. And that's the first British one that's founded. So what do these organizations want to do? post the lesbian ones and the and the early gay ones. In fact, in this country, it's not appropriate to call him gay because that word isn't known here. [00:08:21] What is it they want to do? One of the important things they want to do is to reform the law. They are also slightly beginning to talk about human rights, but not in any great detail at the stage, really, they just want some basic cannabis acceptance. And they also want to provide situations and ways that people who are interested in relationships with their own six can meet together, have a nice social life, support one another, and so on. [00:08:55] As I've said, it's unclear how many New Zealanders would have been involved in the pre world war two [00:09:04] organizations. So first, we know there were not any attempts to form organizations in New Zealand. Prior to that time, we do know that there would have been places that men and women, MIT theater groups, for example, music groups, through church groups, certainly, women would have had opportunities to meet through the many women different women's organizations. And we have to remember that in an earlier time, you might have needed to explain to your family, how come you new people who are these new friends, so that it would have been useful to have met them through a gardening club, a theater club, a church group, something of that sort, so so people would have been quite active in those kinds of networks, we certainly know that there were other kinds of social networks, through sporting clubs. And we know that for men, the men would have been sitting intimate and pubs meeting one another, the, perhaps in parks, perhaps in public toilets, those kinds of ways that were not necessarily available to women, because women still, at that time, couldn't really have too much of a public life wandering the streets on their own, and ways that men could so there are definitely differences between what's available for me and and what's available for women. [00:10:28] Now, 1961, we get the first definitely no formal organization, and that's the Dorrian society, which was founded by me and all of whom have had experience and other countries, in particular jack Goodwin, he's, he's lived overseas, he's had experience there. He knows about what's possible in other countries Cortana These are some of the names of the people who are involved in that they start the club. And within a year or so they form the legal subcommittee which begins to talk about [00:11:09] changing the Lord [00:11:10] decriminalizing same sexual activity and New Zealand. Women are not welcome as members of the Dorian at as an organization for me and but what happens next is that the homosexual Law Reform society gets formed here. It's an it's an outcome of the legal subcommittee of the Dorian, and this organization. Many people join it. In fact, it's formed on the model of the homosexual Law Reform society in Britain, so that it has patrons who are not homosexuals themselves, important people in the church and so on. These are the vice presidents and Dean it has a committee of being a woman who do the work and I don't care, all sorts of people to join not only lesbians and gay men, but heterosexual people as well. It's important to say at this point that the terminology that people would have used still at the stage refer to themselves in New Zealand was camp, generally spelt with a K, with jokes often made about camping, intense or the start of camping. And both men and women refer to themselves in this way, gay was a word use of the United States, it seems to have been introduced here toward the late 1960s. Early 1970s. Lesbian was a term that was known, but no women would have wanted to call themselves lesbians it would have been thought of as quite a shocking word. So that starts after the introduction of lesbian and gay liberation. And please be in feminism. [00:12:54] So its first from this point with the formation of the homosexual reform society that we get discussion about how the law might be changed and ideas about seeing if there are any politicians who might be interested in looking at law reform, if there are ways in which that could be discussed and a parliamentary level. And in my next talk, I'll talk about the kinds of reforms that were suggested and how we move through to actually change the law. [00:13:32] This program was funded through a generous grant from the guideline Willington trust with the support of the rule foundation and brought to you by pride in

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.