Georgina Beyer profile

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in [00:00:06] Well, I was born. And sort of Saturday from there, I guess. [00:00:12] The circumstances were when I was born, my father worked at the New Zealand police at the time, and I was stationed at teriyaki street police station. Then my mother was trying nurse training, I think through Berlin and other hospitals I did, they lived in down the street and see tone. [00:00:37] And [00:00:40] I was born. And, but by about three months or more oil, maybe six months old, certainly before I was a year old. The marriage went on the rocks, because my father was a compulsive gambler. And he had stolen pounds from the lock Lost and Found a tear in a history police station and got caught. And was made an example of and convicted and jailed. And when he went into jail, my mother was pregnant again. And and suddenly she was Lyft solo, you know, at that time, so I was put on to the so the Salvation Army I'm a new town or something somewhere at the time to be looked after they had a facility there. And I think she must have proceeded with that nice pregnancy. And, but arranged for that child to be adopted out of birth, and with my father's consent, but he was inside and then she divorced him says you've got it sorted, so to speak. In the meantime, she was not very happy with the care of me, being undertaken at the home that I was born and she had sweated appearance and Tara Nikki, to look after me. And so that's where I went and was and stayed there essentially until I was about four or five. And by that time, she had remarried to Kumbaya and and as soon as that happened, she recalled me from her parents and I went to live in the family home at that time which was in Victoria straighten [00:02:33] up a hat and he had freshly [00:02:38] you know, what he called a qualified as a lawyer, and so on and so forth was starting out on the practice and, and involved with people like that colleagues, friends, school friends and stuff from Wellington college days of Ron Brian Co. And indeed, column my step father, his brother trailer, Ron Brawley, and reassembles a stable of what became Brian investments, several things. And so that was the family unit. We moved to Crofton downs. After my brother half brother was born, Andrew was born in 1963. And I went to nio Primary School, which Wellesley preparatory college for boys and days bay for two years, one year as a border the last year, and and then that second marriage, my mother and his name is normally nodding by and in column, they also had marriage breakup. And after that mother and children moved to Oakland, [00:03:53] can you describe yourself as a child? [00:04:00] Best rascals, um, I suppose for observations. [00:04:06] For one of a better term, my transsexuality begin Miss manifesting at about four years of age, through [00:04:16] play, I guess. [00:04:19] When I was on the farm up and tearing up with my grandparents, the only friend of my age was a girl who lived down the road called join Michael, Danny, we played together a lot, you know, those kids, you know, the fans just down the road as you do. And I used to love driving under her dress up box, and enter, you know, play, you know, I was talking 345 you know, kids playing, and, and that kind of thing and put on the whole world record exhibitions and front of the adults, when they had hit a few beers at the end of high night and day or something like that, you know, I was met kids and the kids run around during the repeating some old bull frog or something. And they all laughed and enjoyed that, you know, and stuff like that. But I sort of continued, I keep being a feminist, I guess. And so by the time I was a bit older, you know, civil night, you know, so still doing that behavior was starting to be frowned upon. And, you know, I'm told to stop doing that, and so on and so forth. The conditioning Oh, my God, we got a queer stuff on my hands, Christ, we better start conditioning, you know, and, you know, that you can't plan. So I guess, on the more serious side of things, what I'm saying as I began to take to that behavior was unacceptable. And so I started to be more I started to be more secretive, because it wasn't worth punishment that will come without seminars, you know, getting court, [00:06:01] but about [00:06:04] hiding, I suppose, call them on occasion special, and I persisted and got caught out because I was too dumb. But I became very secretive about dressing up, he is waiting for times of aloneness, and all of that to be able to sort of you know, sneak in and learning to replace things in my mother's wardrobe and stuff like that precisely as I had found them so that she wouldn't suspect you know, or anything like that, that I'd sort of tried on clothes and things like that and then got bold enough to go marching outside of the house sometimes and down the road and of course neighbors whatever would say the you don't go to the shopkeeper dressed up like that be noticed by your local shopkeeper who sees you every other day, you know what in it and his mother you know that find out you get told off so all that kind of stuff first wouldn't be a new all kinds of sort of reactions that all of us and various forms probably went through of learning that what we were thinking was just quite normal for us as as not approved off. And say it's a pretty subtle and they are on stats the incredible mountain to climb after that you don't knowledge until your but all the worldly wise and endure capitulated, all some kinds of behavioral problems began to image not always overt, but sometimes more introverted, you know, you you just learn to shut down on things and avoid the ridicule, avoid getting yourself into situations of of having the game ation happen, you know, to you know, that your little pasta [00:07:52] that being a girls blouse, you know, [00:07:58] and that kind of stuff. And we would have tolerated it probably at some stage just you know, it's easy in hindsight to look back and sort of try and figure out why things happen at the time you just coped. And, and right up until, you know, college. So by the time we get to high school and stuff like that, and I guess having been to, you know, mix of state school and private school, I had both worlds, so to speak, strangely enough. My first night at Wellesley College, but I was bored when I bought it. And I was sort of strategy terrified. And it was a bit of a culture shock for what what you believe in 1213 suddenly been put into this all boys school. And temporarily, I had to stand up under a dormitory, which was sort of for the senior kids form two kids. I mean, but now I won't, I won't put the song record on. [00:09:01] I don't want to bring the school into disrepute. [00:09:06] But boys will be boys, you know? [00:09:10] Oh, do you turn? Oh, what stage? [00:09:14] I'll leave it there to the audience's imagination. [00:09:20] At that time, were you aware of any talk about either homosexuality? Or no, I think those No, no, no, those definitions didn't that was just sort of, I excluded a behavior that was disapproved of ISIS preset. And, [00:09:41] and, you know, because [00:09:45] they might have won the battle. But I'll thought the war. [00:09:50] And until I read the Little Red Skull book, which we all do at the time, which was sort of a unnoticeable little week publication that school kids got Hold on, not talked about things beyond, you know, about homosexuality and bisexuality, that sort of defined sexual orientations, etc. And actually had other things. sweep it, anyhow. Anyhow, at sort of suddenly, it wasn't just man and woman, there was some alternative. So when I did sort of get my head around, that sort of stuff a little bit, I began to wonder where I fitted and, you know, one would naturally assume that you are a homosexual, male. And, but [00:10:36] because, otherwise, I had the battle, I guess, with, [00:10:43] but I'm a woman, or I'm a girl, I'm a female, you know, I'm wise, you know, that. If I was it wasn't for a clip of birth. [00:10:54] and stuff like that. I would be, you know, and so the psychological with the physical reality, I suppose. And then more deeply, wasn't attracted to mean, who would like that, and now I wasn't, you know, I didn't, the perspective I had was, it was it was a male, female, you know, sort of visceral reaction to attraction and stuff like that. So I don't get it off with gaming. Now, let me say, you know, I don't that's not my preference, if you know what I mean. And straight, you know, you know, in that sense, so that puts you in a conundrum. When you're very young. I'm wondering one of I'm not a gay man, I'm not a woman. So what the fuck am I? You know, I don't feel right. Or Yes, physically, I'm the so I got to be the man. And on two occasions where I had a what you could call heterosexual sexual encounter, which was set up by well meaning school friends at a school Patty, you know, and stuff like that. And of course, in virgin goods, because it would be gossiped about, you know, from the other participants point of view as well. And I hated it. absolutely hated it. And, you know, from that, not the personal What about that? Tell me right up. [00:12:22] I want to snatch, I don't want the snatch. [00:12:30] I want to snatch [00:12:34] just to put it sort of, I think you can pump it. [00:12:39] When you were young? Did you understand why your family was saying on by dress up? Don't? I mean? No, no, not at [00:12:47] all? No, we're talking 60s 70s here. So the knowledge of this kind of stuff was limited to Danny la row. I think the most famous trip sexual person in the world that time had been Christine Jorgensen, who had had the first six change in the 1950s. So there was that there were others, April Ashley, and all that were famous survived models and stuff. But you know, really, the people, you know, was the general population. So and there was an indoctrination. Remember, you know, pretty conservative, Christian moral, you know, they're kind of good. God was illegal. Yeah, I mean, mean, what put them to prison or not just mean gay people presently, you know, two years you know, something like that. Men who dressed as women weren't allowed to walk the streets like that. You weren't allowed with, you know, sort of funny laws and things that required you allowed to wear women's underwear and you weren't amendment lobbies, you know, like the Queen's word and the shows on Oakland and stuff, like the 60s, and, and all that Commons, you know, on all the that sort of thing, had to you know, walkin public spaces as mean, not dressed up and drag, you know, to go from club to club or whatever it was, you know, just gig to gig really was what they were, what we're doing. And, and part of the lower on the drag entertainment scene at the time, was that you didn't know that these beautiful exotic creatures were biological mean, you know? And that's what I mentioned before the terminology, like female impersonators and drag queens, and you know, and that was for that era. But I was too young Of course, I can tell you not the end of Euro [00:14:53] How did you go at school, I mean, we bullied was, it was a positive experience. [00:15:00] Because I took an interest some times at college in the heart and drama with anyone who did associate fun like that, you know, and because I was relatively useless of sports, okay, the sport I was good at was tennis and swimming. So but rugby and cricket, I hated them. And it's platinum. So But anyhow, um, I think I learned the gift of the gab to get myself out of UCS, there was a certain amount of peer pressure as opposed to conform and it wouldn't be unusual a lot of people you know, go through this you know that time and but I seem to have a very good rapport with girls and a bit of a magnet if I say so myself. And because I had no particular improbably pose no free threats have been such one more you know, unwanted advances nor that sort of thing just didn't come from me. But we can have good Yeah, you know, that sort of thing. So guys friends could see me is very good conduit to get to various you know, girls sort of became a bit of a dolly leave I really matchmaker you know, and that made me call with the guides because well, you know, get them onto that and that sort of thought right must have been some arrangements started you know, the sort of Austin Powers of the day. [00:16:22] Yeah, baby [00:16:24] with the girls, so it was a quite a good facade, even though I did theater and doing a theater like Blanca Manor rebirth theater in Oakland for a while when I was at college, and and I guess it was a way of being able to wear a costume, and makeup, and stuff like that and to step into roles and characters that could be you know, gender and different or whatever and pantomimes and things like that, where you might be the girl or whenever the damsel in distress or whatever, seize those opportunities out of them, there was a way of sort of also getting some positive reinforcement, if you're a viewer it with good you know, wages and so I took to sort of doing it performance stuff, not a bit of a duck to water, which I guess enlightened life proved to be you know, the beginnings of a very handy transferable skill. [00:17:19] And boy have I transferred skill over several careers and put it that way and [00:17:27] but yes, this this escapism I suppose to be able to be who you know really wanted to be while you're here to live in this conformed straight and moral time and will society that you mixed on an order to preserve a coping mechanism I suppose they didn't have to deal with the ridicule what you would get on account which would be that lessons learned you don't want to have to tolerate that. And and that wouldn't have been that wouldn't be unusual, a lot of people sort of cut with getting through that time until you got to the point where you pushed back and started to stand up and say, Hello, you know, and start to become activist about it. And for me, I guess that came from being shoved under the street same self inflicted Of course put yourself into the you know, in the rap and in the streets in as a way of surviving and then realizing that that's where people who are marginalized sometimes ended up living on this fringe of society you can fully participate and regular life IE sadly of school well lots of 1516 year olds Lyft son themselves out of school usually walked into jobs was a real good time for employment and stuff like that. But when people that you you know when you turn up as a girl and they can see that you're a boy [00:18:58] there's some shoes arise and I can remember going [00:19:04] in there I am you know, doing stuff at the club exalted in it but this one I mean you ended up sort of being pushed [00:19:12] focus funneled toward that kind of lifestyle [00:19:17] Can you just described for me so you're you're going through high school you're 16 years just describing a bit more detail how you get from there to on the street. [00:19:30] I was convinced even then that I wanted to be an actor. And I because I belong to the same as a theater and memory with theater. I was going to Pepperdine high school which also spawn [00:19:44] David Shira and built golf and me and [00:19:50] just say that as an aside [00:19:56] and I became a captain. Some people in theatre corporates and Auckland what she's saying Mercury Theatre in Auckland, you know, these are professional theaters and, and fears corporate RAM and Hawthorne. People don't know that and and I was hanging around with those and then and I had gotten to my head that that's really what I wanted to do, I didn't really want to build score anymore. And I got to the end I became old enough to be able to sign myself out of school and match against my is my mother was furious. As I sneakily, especially coming really I arranged a school holiday job for the maze school holidays to work at Helen Steins means we're in Idaho and and it's where I got a job and while and those those school holidays while I was there persuaded that that I was going to leave school the manager or the owner or whatever to see if he could extend the time I could work there either getting you know three months or something like that. Which I felt was enough to be able to myself out of school and been told mother oh [00:21:07] you could imagine [00:21:10] it was huge [00:21:12] upheaval about it but I've done that and was able to call her bluff when you got there well if you don't live under my roof you're gonna bang on blah blah blah. She was furious and was quite short club began bit to school, but I didn't and one day in an optimistic argument. She sort of said well, you know, you can move out of here or something like that and I called her bluff and did and when I went down the road and border with those school friends and as family and when the parents got to talking legislated me so cuz my mother would have put it like that travelers. I went and boarded with them for about a month or two until this job but over who the hell on Steins means we ran out and by that time I'd be able to score another position and moment choice down on the bottom queens reason Auckland and the means we as a junior you know stuff like that. So I just got further and further away from home and that are facing and mount Albert with some people who weren't there for a while and still hanging around the theater corporate scene. One of the friends I had from there was moving to Wellington to go to Victoria University had a room at the Victoria house hostel and and I decided to go to Wellington to go to the drum school. And not just some sleep on the floor and has some Victoria house. University Hospital accommodation I managed to hang out there for a couple of months without being detected as a person it wasn't he a student at university. Victoria houses us University Hospital. [00:23:01] You're still George Yes, I guess he sees his Oh, yes, no the button off along. [00:23:10] But not for long. So [00:23:14] lots of things happen. Then he went on, after a winter ball bordered with Stuart Devaney, who's an actor and his wife at that time. And they had a house in Mount St, just down from the tree University. In fact, it was there when I started working as a not got this part time job as a night Porter at the Royal Oak hotel, and then with Ray on and so the window to the gay world as it was in those days opened up to me at that time that I was pursuing acting. And being Stewart Of course, was helpful. I did hang around and go and audition and stuff to get them to drama school. But of course, I was too young. But that didn't stop me from hanging or like a groupie, that drama school scene. So George, where he was teaching Ralph McAllister people like that were there. and various other actors. And when I went out to Avalon, when they were having a, an audition block, you know, to go and because, you know, it was all very new out there. So that we're just getting a lot of talent on the books and stuff like that. So I managed to sneak in the back door, so to speak, to get, you know, the video and down on the wall there and be down on the record and better, I've got a bit of a pattern close to home. [00:24:35] And [00:24:39] so years, that school to them within 18 months, and also when I lived Auckland, and then to go down. And then as I began to see that I would be able to make a transition to being Georgina after I had been take them to the balcony Commons show, every show that was on there and saw these queens who were on stage and stuff like this, and, and it was pretty, it wasn't a major revelation. And that it's quite possible because they weren't just fundraise these, there was serious looking one. Not fantastic. And, and this was the, the gorilla car suppose of the drag show and drag act was that these people will be so beautiful and and sprung. Let me in but, you know, that was sort of the cure, or one of the Curiosity factors of us. So you'd have this beautiful prisoners performed view and stuff like that, and the end of the right that might work off, you know, that that health of the actual device, and back to see them what brace your real breasts and stuff like that was, ah, ok, so this can be done, this isn't just some madness going on in my head here. This is possible. And that, you know, sending somebody out with an identity, you know, or some drag artist. And these are trans gender people, they were called in those days. [00:26:29] Was that kind of madness going on in your head? I mean, were you still conflict in terms of what am I who am I [00:26:39] not not afraid of as quite a hard view really, I'm sort of lucky to take it as what it is, and deal with ups just just live with that, that I'm going to get grief from greatness, you know, from wider society is a bit of a birch, but our I'll deal with it, and, and stuff them, you know, I'm not a bad person, you know, all that sort of, there was a fundamental sort of sense of entitlement as opposed to come from me that I'm just glad to be here you him and he talked me like that. So bad, bad, that odd thing of, you know, you'd be dressed up in the day, you know, the Georgina walking down the street, a little a naive and sort of impact but Ott as an appearance and stuff like that as with an appropriate things that an appropriate ism, a common type, you know, very loud, and yeah, high high heels or that sort of thing in the middle of the day, wandering down the street, so you'd get models of, you know, when you stand in the street lights would sort of pull the children that side of them as they looked at this creature standing next to them, and showing, you know, from that kind of it Emily just turn around and say, Oh, hi, you know, and, and be everything that they've feared you were going to be [00:28:06] if you know what I mean, you know, somehow Well, you know, either just deal with it and months off, and be strangely horrified but wonderfully curious. You know, and that would be the dinner conversation. And [00:28:22] so there was this sort of weird I God, you know, just of confronting ideas, those situations, but we could be over the top and, and quite antisocial billion sometimes. And our reaction to people just to sort of freak them out for the hell of that. [00:28:41] But at that age, like when you're 1617 weird as that kind of inner strength come from we, I mean, we does it? [00:28:49] Well, because of the contact with the street scene, where, you know, you see other queens doing the street during the corner. And, you know, you just get, you know, into the culture and so that whole thing, someone's gonna look at you the wrong way, or whatever like that you you don't tolerate it, you know, you just come back at them. And some and I have to confess that quite often that came across as aggro. And, and a reason to be considered undesirable. And because, you know, you're wearing provocative clothing in the middle of the street, you know, down there, and they know you're touting for business if you're selling, you know, if you're looking for a client on the corner. Or Luckily, in my case, I've got to work on you know, strip clubs in England clubs down the street. And so I was I'm a venue as opposed to having only the straighten out there to go on [00:29:49] in money from cracking ourselves record and [00:29:55] and I guess when you learn and get introduced into that street life, and you know, it can be a quite brutal arena to be and you either shape up or ship it, you know, you either but on the other hand, there was a a social camaraderie and [00:30:17] common [00:30:20] bond, I suppose you'd call it between the street scene people, because we all felt that we were out on these margins and [00:30:31] which sort of gave us false really an excuse to be [00:30:36] everything they said we were [00:30:40] in, it seems, but society and take its own blame for that for you know, if you considered a sort of, we were only committing a crime because [00:30:53] our then you ran into legal issues. Men couldn't be charged with being prostitutes, prostitution was [00:31:03] sort of illegal, but soliciting, like Sidra walls. And but animals common and sometimes during her era, the court case that occurred that provided this gender conundrum for the judicial system to have to deal with. And then, of course, embracing your head now, but in subsequent years, as things have become legalized, never a whole raft of sort of statutory amendments have needed to be made on how to legally trade that corrections at the moment was one of the worst offenders of an outrage whereby, you know, preoperative transsexuals, for example, are put under the biological birth. [00:31:49] Phone, you know, I'm president mean, means a woman's presence. Anyhow. [00:31:55] That's kind of a question. And I don't know if I've answered show one properly. [00:32:00] You have, I remember reading a quote from you saying that you never wanted to make prostitution a career choice, but it was because society didn't allow you to have any other option in terms of, [00:32:12] yeah, and my experience, that's what happened, that that's what happened. And I guess for many of my contemporaries, of my predecessors, of course, who had inadvertently, whatever way but by means of survival, you know, provided a guideline toward being able to assume who you were, and be who you are common and people like Chrissy, Rachel and others who provided venues and who provided jobs, no matter how the year and they might be, or whatever, but a certain form protection for us a camaraderie, a collective will we belong within our sort of venues that are happened to her attract others, you know, who came to the Curiosity factors year, right, and a bit of sort of dodgy six and piqued the interest of the sort of glitterati of the day, you know, the sort of social said, you know, who's going to be a bit naughty, you know, which is why venues like Commons and, and that sort of didn't provide that now. So, you know, the moral christian fundamentalists, and conservatives sort of find it abhorrent, but [00:33:39] honey, if there was a register of all of them, but [00:33:46] additionally, and of course, common got hold in front of the publishers, committee facilities, and just such a fun, you know, parliament. So that had some serious nature and the social and political view on how people like us fascism, and, and so it wasn't easy. And so for the social and political pioneers, they were probably pioneers without knowing that, at the time, they just pushed boundaries that were just considered socially anti social, and you just push back and gradually peel the layers, to find ourselves where we are today. And for the likes of me, and many others crossed, I'm by no means the, you know, I'm an example of a piece of particular history, but there many others have done things and our inspirations, I guess, at the time of women are being feisty through the 60s, the women's movement, there was quite a good model and the least be an element of that that was vital and important for that movement, feminism for want of a better term [00:34:59] and New Zealand social history. And [00:35:03] that helps to inspire I think other minorities to begin to strive for the rights human rights and equality in this country and start to get the balance better than model was. [00:35:17] Can you recall as a teenager when you first came to Wellington and saw that there were people you know, with breaths were you know, we're transsexualism was an option what what did you think? [00:35:35] I felt these people had an incredible [00:35:40] pride and many respects that despite [00:35:44] disapproval [00:35:47] they were tall and proud and they walked honey and they were going to be who they are and and now they sort of seemed happy and in their own way Yes, it was really street lifers and the fights over clients and drugs and alcohol and all of that kind of thing was just part and parcel all that [00:36:11] and [00:36:14] it was fun times the 70s you know, and it was good night like a vibrancy in Wellington at that time at that particular geographic location in pewter Street and and all of that and Cuba street still has that bohemian sort of alternative eclectic feel about it. And end of its era the you know, the club's have done it straight and, you know, that was part and parcel of the color really was quite colorful, relatively passive, I think from the we hadn't, you know, occasionally but we'd get plucked by the cops just, you know, cap off down the police station and probably front you don't get caught. And queens used to get charged with indicted, get charged with frequenting with felonious of teams deemed as a rogue and effective bond that I can assure you that law does not exist anymore, that is no longer an offense and I quadruped months in Parliament during the prostitution reform debate but that's what I've got a reason for but it was a revenue gathering exercise just every now and again because [00:37:32] and you'd have to go run to the district court on a Monday morning or whatever like this and usually get fined 50 bucks you know of his chick takes [00:37:44] Rana [00:37:46] but [00:37:49] you know the amount of luck john a Friday night and said that levy on the sales over the weekend with nothing you know, but you know, the basics that you're given, fought some queens, sometimes to turn up in front of the district court and the tie head on from the previous Friday night. So you got no makeup on your beard sprouted through your look like crap. And now you gotta suffer the admin money and stand in front of a court and being addressed and so on and so forth. And all of that sort of thing and called by your Butch name. And even if you change your name by deed Paula bastards always thought that otherwise now and there's that out of that and that kind of humiliation as well so and get the fun then you'd be discharged. And and that was that so that was over a weekend I know of other friends who had you know, there was some cops at the time that would talk with them every now and again. And a bet on a semi regular basis and give them a real hard time just short of physical going over you no nasty cool stuff. And and then Mitch guy he just had to deal with [00:39:07] you know, it was [00:39:10] not saying it was right. But [00:39:11] that time you know, he didn't have you know who he gonna go and complain to the Human Rights Commission and the shirt. So it was like, when I went to live in Sydney for a year and 1979 and I got pic right when I was over there. Not long after I'd I'd been there and terrible experience. But I didn't even think didn't even cross my mind that I should go and lay a complaint about us or anything like that. Because I wouldn't get protection from the law, or by the law and who the hell was going to believe me? a slap a married drag queen from New Zealand squealing right here, right. And that sort of you know, was sort of some of the reality that you just faced time. It took me quite a while to mentally get over this physically got over us and, and, and that was the end. Luckily. Luckily, I didn't let it get me down. I mean, I wanted to you know, sort of side life without Christ. What is this life all about? This is what's gonna happen. It's not worth it, it was like, just pushed over the edge at that time. But luckily, I fell on the side of getting angry about it, either. Nobody should have to deal with that kind of, you know, abuse [00:40:41] just in general. [00:40:44] But the terrifying factor for me as I was pre operative. And while I was very attractive and unsparing looking queen or whatever, there was a moment there where I was absolutely terrified that when I discovered [00:40:59] that I had a clock [00:41:02] that they might kill me. And they [00:41:05] just a little shorter doing that. Still brutalized me. But yeah, you know, so there was that whole sort of terror. And that was enough, I think, you know, defining that was sort of you know, and I got angry about a thank God saying, I never just got a right no matter what. And, you know, to attack people like this and, and all that sort of thing got very angry and one allowed to happen again, and got over it. But what am I saying, I put the fire in my belly to stand up against injustice like that. And because when I originally thought about it, nothing's there to protect me. I couldn't go and complain anywhere and have some risk restart, something happened here. And there. And that's just the way I felt that's there was no lever for me and society felt to, you know, for me a net experience. And so if that's me, how many others are having to deal with that kind of conundrum? You know, some some point probably heat. So I began to sort of anchor I got everybody right to be here. And I've got every right to be able to be like everybody else. As far as the system is consuming. What the hell do I have to put up with this. And I didn't want to live in the gather, I didn't want to look down on the street all the time, I had, you know, had ambition I supposed to get out of that same sort of secure as a provided me with a with an experience of life way too young, I suppose. For good five or six years, whatever that I was a before I became to be getting out of it. Getting out of being caught up and a net world which imbued me with certain strengths, and tuitions, and street whiteness and street smarts way of operating, you know, and that sort of thing, but the aim to get out of it. And understood legitimacy was not easy, but I found it in a way a strange way through entertainment, great show, you know, or cabaret entertainment, you know more things and and [00:43:27] I went to Oakland and 84 [00:43:32] and joined a great show called bloomers which was working at Alfie's nightclub in Auckland. What we sort of started off the show at our office, and that had a long running residency there. And that was all in the mid 1980s, which was sort of burn time there was champagne pop in until I the seven of course, Chen we haven't kept popping for us still after that, because, you know, established ourselves very well and some much beloved Auckland gay nightclub. And the guy seen appear as one thing and bloom and the bloom of show, while I was a net show, in 1995, I've got [00:44:20] approached or know I've been [00:44:25] arrogant enough or van enough to get an agent when I was an acting agent. And I had put my name around a few agents of the day, and one of them being Robert Bruce, who was who had a well known agency called the ugly agency. And and so my CV or my portfolio, whatever that I had accumulated at the time, I put forward anyhow, long story short, it just so happens that a chap called Peter wells and his partners, George main, we're casting for a short film that we're going to make. And it was about a transsexual, and a transvestite. And the piece was called Jules style, which was a short story that had been adapted by a woman called M. Kennedy had Russell not and one I, listener shorts, short story award, Schumpeter and I'm going to make it into a screenplay. I did the audition after the part and got it, and I it so I did Joel style. And that turned out to be a Oh, a critically acclaimed short film. I'll put it like that and got about five nominations for the Film and Television Awards. And the ill fated golf does and 1987. But other than that debacle, the acknowledgement of that was good film. He was powerful of a half hour series of dramas that high buskers films made for television that have been commissioned, and about six or seven half hour dramas for new filmmakers, writers, a new vehicle, I guess, for the talent of the day, on the Sunday night theater slots on slot on TV. And so I had some cutting edge stuff. [00:46:28] I ended up getting nominated as a finalist for Best Actress in 1987 for the role of Joel, my Kosta was a guy called Richard Hanna. [00:46:39] And [00:46:42] so that was quite sort [00:46:43] of Oh, [00:46:46] right at that time, of course 8484 around the time homosexual law was happening. And my bosses at office nightclub bridge cheaper and better killer take care of his partner john, they had out magazine, which was the major gay publication National Gay publication at the time and look was very active in the homosexual or form debate at the time. And but we know we wouldn't doubt the club and and of course doing jewel jewels doll. And just at that time, the Salvation Army, of course, was vehemently opposed to homosexual law reform. They were vicious and venal, and the attack at the time and we're really our enemies and many respects and double the decently church the day [00:47:48] I can put it like that. And [00:47:52] every Sunday and Auckland they did a prayer match down Queen Street and would have a pretty amazing on the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street, just around the corner of Victoria Street. And on this particular day, we were shooting scenes for the Jules dal film, which required being mid City Mall which was in the middle of Queen Street. And we did that and we're giving them to the evening and Peter either a member or somebody remind them that the Salvation Army going to the smash down Queen Street, and then held the premium down there. And this is the joy of working with sort of, you know, filmmakers all suddenly sees an opportunity whether it's a job or not. And I suddenly have we we meet and then got me and Richard who are all in costume and stuff and done out we're about to wrap really and sort of said hey look, this is going to be happening. And we just thought we'll improvise with guns sit up camera down on the down the air and you and Richard just in Richard night hiding the doorway of McDonald's on Queen Street. And, and down come the you know, the end of the tambourine from the uniforms and the hats and all of the staff and the brass band. And that's all going down Queen strays and you know, a bit of a parade going on. And they like it down just developed where we were and then me and Richard just ran out in front of them right now and started matching down down Queen Street, and then wheeled around into Victoria Street. And hope that piece on them got something on film. And [00:49:40] so after [00:49:42] the Salvation Army Group in the head, sit themselves up on the corner to now hold the prayer meeting. And they all got lined up and stuff like that. We've gone back over the road sort of see, you know, God littles, you know, fan and reader that together all Can you know, did you get what you need? And can you make something out of it? Because he had no idea what was going to be useful footage. And then he said, Oh, look, just before we go, do you think even Richard could just go over and walk up and stand beside them. Because now they're stationary at the premium. And I can Yep. And off, we went and stood there. You know, mocking up really sort of silent film got underway. And the sergeant or whatever it was over there, he got furious and haven't paid staff to have words. And he was going to report to the police and the whole thing and would have this piece of footage. You know, they're not allowed to put her on TV and stuff like that. And anyhow, needless to say, it was a piece of found footage that are located on Jules down have ever ICF of just a little protest at the time, we were able to sort of do something that recorded that actual and historic time. Not only here, I think for Jill's style. And there was one other films they did a net series called my first suit, which was a story about a young 14 year old boy to discovering his homosexuality and stuff like that. And you would have thought the moral content of that would have been repugnant to the sensor of the day. But no, the sensor of the day, the side of the jewels doll was contrary to the public's good taste, and could not be aired. And there was a horror about this at the time, which delayed the screening of the entire about face series on TV for a while until Julian mountain, who I think came to the helm of television at the time. So Tom gets stuffed and you know not to waste the money just on the silly little peccadillo that picked up and put the series on and played in the film and Joel style amongst the others. And I lost out and the actress award Jeannie Ward Leyland heavily so she was well deserving here and I will hot contenders that year for taking out the business Actress Award. And there were three others of course, and the one other actress who was also a finalist on she spent it me spit out it made sure that if I had one sort of halftime and shake it up, that if I won the award should be complaining because I've been [00:52:23] nominated in the wrong six. And [00:52:28] but it didn't come to pass otherwise I would have priests anyhow. [00:52:32] So with some major social change happening in New Zealand in the 1980s. And I'm wondering, did the you know you've got some sexual or form and 8586 did that have any impact on you? [00:52:46] No, not particularly, except to say that the game pulling the strains of collective strength as a significant minority and country that in order to advance our [00:53:07] our our human rights requirements and [00:53:12] begin to socially engineer I guess. And the more positive for those of us that we're on the marginalized communities and either struggling transgender but the guy the gay political agenda was about to was emergent at the time. And don't forget that it also coincided our law reform. It also coincided with the advent of HIV and AIDS. And luckily, in New Zealand, it provided vehicle via Warren Limburg and various other people who set up establish the AIDS Foundation. And there's a whole lot of other names I should not start trying to get under the list of honor that those people did for us at the time, but managed to provide a vehicle whereby [00:54:01] us because there was this erroneous [00:54:08] belief at the time that HIV and AIDS was primarily a gay disease gay related, which was totally wrong, of course. But that was the sort of hysterical reaction of general society taught at the time. And the movers and shakers in the gay world I think at that time, who were able to end the professionals who were able to frame the the debate about HIV and AIDS and how baseless country would handle our approach to it worked very simpatico and well with the mainstream society. And I think that's called some brownie points and some speaks of sort of, okay, dealing with it well coinciding with homosexual law reform. And, and then now at some cultural sector, I angels down as one thing and now not just being on the fringes and funny little fringe film festivals or down the sort of, you know, sleep theater, Roxy or something, whatever. Don't see that kind of at you know, film and creative arts to suddenly see it beamed into our, into our living rooms. Not just the Jules style subject matter, but the subject matter and stuff like that, which was far more real as far as drama than the characters you might have seen on, you know, Danny law aka Victor Danny, narrow, but that he was one of the most visible TV personas of the era. And let him you know, along have Joe Blow, Mom and Dad, New Zealanders might have Cena, and when more than that, yeah, so an interesting time, you know, I guess I'm sure there was other stuff that was coming out at the time. From my own personal, you know, content and experience here that were quiet. For me, I think after john style. I think we need to do things and not shocking the park and other TV productions without a guest appearances. And all during this period is, you know, my brain matter. My name was on the you know, on the show in Auckland at Alfie's nightclub, you know, which was weekend, and it was sort of internal ups and contests that were popular the day running around the, you know, the various shopping malls out in the suburbs, pick up 1000 bucks, just like that, they don't realize that late at night, I was doing it as my job in here, you know, lip synching on a trade show, you know, selling phones, you know, I'll check on a dolly parton wouldn't pretend to be dead, and they all laugh at f8 Cleopatra's you know, a mountain Wellington. [00:57:00] Actually the other thing now, you know, [00:57:03] the time because, and this is our way of sort of getting back at the state and bureaucracy in the system. To get a benefit to us, you will put on sickness benefits, and all you got was your doctor's certificate. So what's wrong with me, you know, and everything like that? Well, they didn't have that we had psychosexual disorders. And let's get on to the second subpoena first. And so his work on certain spin offers, and that was reasonably generous in those days, about 50 bucks or something like that. And by the time it added better under the table money we're getting on the weekend, you know, during the duration, up three albums of the name, and then the other, but July might have sort of, you know, picked up around me and I'm pulling about 800 bucks a week not to be right through the 1987 crash what everyone else was done, we will have installed the whole grill at that time. And I say that I know it sounds disrespectful, but that's survival stuff. Okay, you're silly bastards, you recommend got a psycho sexual assault and you want to give us money for an outtake? [00:58:10] Now, you know, differently now. But in those days that was about man, you got to get what you can. And offense, you know, and it was sort of a little [00:58:19] backpack is digital society? Well, if you want to treat me like that is silly bastards. [00:58:25] And, [00:58:27] yeah, let's have a sort of got on, [00:58:29] could you see a difference in the way that mainstream society reacted to you from, say, the 70s through to the 80s was through. I mean, you actually not [00:58:41] not or not [00:58:43] otherwise saved Laura's relatively easy to change attitude takes generations of Unknowing there yet, as far as attitude is concerned, it's some proven, and that's getting there. But won't, won't entirely have was for us in my lifetime, I'm sure. But year, we've substantially gone long way there. And I'm just a wee piece of the puzzle, you know, end of the continuum, that we've had to sort of, you know, get this attitude as the next thing. And [00:59:19] the era of collective [00:59:23] solidarity has diminished some of in the last few years, in my view amongst the guys, the LGBT community, and their beta saying LGBT community that you are already quite sort of Section siloed off on those things, there has been a purpose where we come together and put aside our differences with each other, for the greater good. And, and we move forward. And I think we're at a period now that I think probably after this marriage equality and adoption has been sorted, that legally, there's very little else until we start to get down to the minutia. So transgender, want some greater access to services, etc, that are currently being provided, and all of that sort of thing. And they'll be those kinds of things to do. But as far as major law, the framework by which, you know, it's not super or anything, we're just actually wanting the same, you know, no, nothing special. [01:00:27] But we gotta go through this. The lawyers are craving it. [01:00:33] So yes, that's where I sort of see that kind of change in the future. But the 80s to the, to the 90s, I've noticed sort of, you know, yeah, 80s 90s and beyond, you know, after that was, when quite a bit, and especially after, so we have harmonization more formality sex, we have the amendments to the human rights hit, and the early 1990s, under national guns. And then we come to the early 2000s. And we get some de facto property relationship act, we get the civil union act and statutory references amendment eight and, and various other things like that sort of current now we're hidden in the slightest [01:01:21] Tim to go to get marriage. [01:01:25] So let's move quite, quite well. But the best reflection is on the social services provided. [01:01:35] You know, anyhow, and I'm, you know, amongst other things, in how that's probably going to fare here, and we'll get to that later. Any questions [01:01:44] on [01:01:46] when was the transition between George and George in [01:01:55] 1976. [01:01:58] And by that time, I was living on straighten [01:02:02] Wellington, with real McKinsey and Malcolm form and various others that's heard him. [01:02:12] And they just made one day [01:02:16] when I had the wardrobe, and you know, I had the way with all to the 24 seven, just to be who I am, you know, and destroyed everything that I had on me at the time, that was male or remind. And also symbolic sort of aging. [01:02:43] What was your relationship with your family? [01:02:47] A strange still as [01:02:50] that's the shortest way to describe it estranged. My mother died in 1978 was quite tragic, really, she was 43. And she does suffer from cancer. And you've been involved in the unfortunate experiment up in Oakland on there at the time. [01:03:06] Sandra Kernan co wrote about later. [01:03:09] And, and so she was the only senior family member that I had any kind of respect for and would listen to and whose disapproval or approval or information was important to me. And so once that was out of the picture, I had no sort of moral compass, as far as that was concerned about some kind of responsibility to the family or whatever like that, because the ultra important person to me at that time, was now no longer and that was such. So in a way, I said, Yes, but in a way, another way, it was freedom. For me, I didn't care about what my stepfather thought, or I never knew my birth father never missed him until my mid 20s. So I had no emotional connection to him, or that side of the family necessarily, and my mother's some of my mother's siblings, my aunts and uncles, so keep in touch with Neil cousin on there, but I never felt a huge umbilical cord toward them. Because I think and, you know, I had left school early got out of and then started living that life so young, and became fiercely independent. And because I was avoiding wanting to have that pressure on me had saved myself up, unfortunately, became heavily convenient to just cut them out like that, save me a lot of grief until I was numb. And actually, the time that I've sort of put that to bed was that my mother's funeral in front of them on the Yep, this is who I am and what I am deal with, national, so on, so forth, and, [01:04:53] and [01:05:00] out after that, [01:05:01] and, [01:05:02] and I heard an ad on the horrified and all that sort of thing. I said, I deal with your problem, not mine. And I think when I started a treat life and people like that, that's your problem, it's not mine, I'm just going to get on with that. And I'm not going to wear your your, your guilt you're going to impose on me and I'll shine that's your shame, not mine. It's, you know, I just divest myself of making that a problem. Some might say you're avoiding us or not wanting to confront it, or whatever. Well, if I do that, I'll do me own time. Thank you very much. I don't need it right now. got other things to deal with much more fun. And I guess that's just an indication of a kind of attitude that I sort of developed that I'm not gonna let Joe stop me pull me down or change me like that, you know, you come and meet me halfway. And [01:05:57] it's interesting, because I had heard that your mother's funeral, but it was your mother's request, that you go and mail clothes. And [01:06:05] that's right. [01:06:07] That was, well, just background, that sort of scenario one night. Now don't forget, I've been out of touch completely, she thought I was dead or something like that, you know, could have been in jail, whatever, but 18 months, and then that time I've made my transition. And one night on the way to work. I was full signal and a few Valium. And few drinks with hardly time on my way to work. I just suddenly stopped at the telephone booths, and Vivian straight and rang. And then that conversation. And I came out to her and stuff like that. But she also informed me that she was not well, and she had cancer, and that she had the job much longer. So I was horrified and wanted to rush back and go and see. She preferred I didn't come right beam and about a beach, we had to go up and see her and she died three weeks later To cut a long story. Sure. So there was reconciliation. And we made our peace for want of a better term. If there was any peace to be made. One of her requests was that I do come as his son, I look ridiculous with cuts and long hair. And but I did dress down for more men suit, which was probably quite trendy when you think about it most days ago, we're in the main so and everyone knew of course, that was the ridiculousness over and about out of respect for her, I wouldn't do it for anyone else. I did that. And then as soon as we dealt with her at the, at the funeral, went back to the house to the wake, I got changed, I got back before anyone else started arriving, and I got changed. And to Georgina, you know who I was, they all come back, I am out fully, you know, they see it all I can still remember one of my artists just was horrified. [01:08:00] You know, that kind of thing. And it's [01:08:03] not my problem, it's your problem deal with that you're not about [01:08:06] tough enough, I mean, and just put it in [01:08:13] there is the 10 foot tall and bulletproof that's, you know, young people at their time, you know, needed into me, you know, so in a strange sort of way it sort of worked for me, others might have sort of crumbled at the, at the thought of it from that point of view, but no, not for us. [01:08:28] You know, [01:08:30] thumb my nose at you. [01:08:33] You mentioned a bit earlier about you touched on briefly about suicide and I'm wondering, I mean, was suicide a big thing in your life? [01:08:41] Yes, yes, it was I think at that time two or three times [01:08:46] are probably [01:08:48] it is a sad reflection now. Yes, after the suddenly situation the the right over there that sent me into a spin you know, that was real tough. Really at that time and you begin our why my living this life and this this was the way I would just expect to be treated Listen, that's my car, you know, all that kind of stuff. The other time I don't mean more out of saltiness or something like that, you know, it's easy when you're dropping pills Anyhow, I was dropped more important. But that was because we're on you know, a lot of barbiturates took on those days Mandrake signals turn on [01:09:34] the menu, the cocktail of things is to get together, I can come by name now because he's dead now. Dr. Only MMO know who talked on Lyft [01:09:46] straight. And [01:09:52] I'm glad it didn't happen though. Now, you know, I'm very glad now of course that the word successful but those who that trickles that I guess that time young some of impressionable and luckily, and recovery from from them added strength rather than a weakness. That was a point, the you know, that if you were heading toward that point, something seriously wrong. And, you know, make it right. [01:10:28] If you can be so [01:10:33] and that you can get them back, you know, [01:10:37] the world's done you a bad deed by [01:10:42] being resilient. [01:10:45] But it doesn't happen like that for everybody. Of course, it gets on top of them. And I can understand why there's some very cruel people out there. And cruel situations that occur. That can you can see how just you know, forces people must have been worse way before Maya [01:11:02] and non bf. [01:11:05] So it wasn't things like the pack right in Australia, that prompted you into saying, actually, I'm not going to let other people have to go through this thing where I can't report it to the police. Was it something that well, [01:11:24] that kind of activism, manifested lighter years, at the time, it was more and more self interested. I'm not gonna let ever let that happen to me again. And I want to be able to, you know, rectify it. A lot of those sort of things. And so called achievements and stuff afterwards have been done not as a [01:11:55] be more is be more [01:11:59] in a while, half a dozen [01:12:02] of our donors at heavens army again, well, whoever else benefits is fine. You know, but I wasn't doing it purposefully for that kind of cause, you know, no, there was no cause celeb for me. And as far as that was concerned, it was about sort of, you know, it's not fair, you know, deal with it, if I can, or just least confronted mouthy, you see, wasn't afraid to sort of sort of bite back. And strangely enough, over some of the authority that I might have, crossed swordsman would, at times, I was eloquent and intelligent, and argumentative from a professional perspective, as opposed to some dumb Queen, you know, I understood what I was, you know, wanting and, you know, the acceptance of what I just didn't accept things, I didn't accept it. Social Welfare told me that I couldn't get an unemployment benefit. Because I could go and put you know, a guy and be the man I'm supposed to be and get a job. And [01:13:11] they actually broke it to, [01:13:12] I was told that you're just told data. And those days when you front that happen, what that call was, it was, you know, social, wealthy. And all of this and you know, as to whether or not you're eligible for getting a benefit. [01:13:27] And I said, No, [01:13:29] this is all began to work like this. So now I'm not going to change, you know, this is who I am. And what I am and water, Who the hell are you to tell me that I should be the man you reckon I'm supposed to be? [01:13:47] a deal with it. except to say that when you've got a psycho sexual disorder, so go, spin up arcadey. [01:14:00] Keeping God God, let's find [01:14:03] them for a moment believe that none of us stood. But [01:14:10] that's the way society the bureau bureaucracy was going to deal with you. [01:14:17] put you there. [01:14:21] crisis. So yeah, I guess I'm a visionary without knowing that I was just, you know, pushing back and [01:14:28] planning their own game. [01:14:30] So when did that change? And why did it change that you became more kind of an outward looking in saying, Well, actually, I can change this for other people to [01:14:40] you know, not, I'm sorry to say, but that revelation quite like they just never didn't come even when it came into politics. That kind of stuff happened once I was in Parliament. And then the realization of the level of fluency, I was now working on or, you know, moving on my whole local government experience, I'm jumping a bit ahead now or from beyond the areas, but my whole local government experience was nothing about at all, none of my political achievements or being elected, etc, have relied on the fact that I had some kind of terms of agenda regarding being a trainee or being part of the gay community or anything like that. I was fell through some heavy strength circumstances, I suppose, until those roles and the fact that I was already an out, mildly well known transgender entertainer, slash actress, and so on and so forth, that at one level, and then moved into [01:15:57] a political or local government to start off was [01:16:02] arena, which obviously attracted some attention. Because as I was always an out, I've always been an out transgender person. There's no sort of escaping and wanted, you know, was irrelevant, frankly, you know, and the reason I got into politics is because others in the community of Canada, and that I lived with London at the time, pushed me to water for completely unrelated reasons to being [01:16:30] part of the gay community actually unrelated. [01:16:34] So for you, when you are campaigning to become mayor of Camden and 95. And there are things like I know, there was like, kind of smear campaign saying are, did you really have an operation and all that kind of stuff? How did when that's not what you're standing for? How did they kind of make you [01:16:56] feel Oh, well, why me the election. [01:17:02] To put it short. [01:17:05] I first got, I felt my first election i ever ran and was a 1992 at the 1992 local government elections. As an urban Ward Councillor for the Catterson District Council, I had been working part time as a tutor at a life skills course at the cabin Community Center, a course that I had been a training opportunities program participant, and prior to getting a bit of a position there, the 1991 budget happened, ruination occurred and slashed benefits by about 25%. And down the track from there that had had a ripple effect. Throughout rural New Zealand, in particular, with a lot of low income jobs, you know, it was the 90s, you know, was, would come out of the 80s. But the 80s, the economic fight Angel horns of that time, perpetuated by the record, some finance minister, and that national government. And [01:18:11] so we had some [01:18:14] issues and capital that [01:18:17] we as a community organization we're getting involved with, and one of them was the odd case of homelessness, and people sleeping down at the local children's play Park and the sort of Fortune than we're down here, and people were worried about it. And whereas the community seemed to wanted to organize some temporary accommodation for these people, while we got them sorted with benefits, etc, benefits and access to them, and advocacy for them and stuff like that. We went to the local district council, and asked them if we could use one of the powered caravan sites of the council owned caravan park, because someone had donated a caravan to us. And we thought we could pop something in there for national to why we got them sorted, etc. The council refused to give us a power to care of inside, and it's paid for and we wanted it for free. We're just a very poor community organization. [01:19:16] And we made a submission to the council. [01:19:19] And [01:19:21] those of us on the community center, committee and stuff like that, they made me the spokesperson to go and present the oral submission to counsel. And thats probably the best thing I ever did, you know, start start from there. And then the nice two elections came, they suggested that we put up a candidate. And I ran on a ticket with a retired the Reverend William Woodley, Hartley, and he was about 80 something. And me, so that was plenty of scope for actress Bishop Jake's. And we had fun, and made a few points of social interest. And, you know, community involvement on the council should you know, have a social conscience, etc, etc. And I was not successful in that election, but I was the highest polling, unsuccessful candidate in the 92 elections. And they knew that I was this exotic creature that come from nowhere and suddenly was in town and I stuck out like a sore thumb in a small rural town like Captain, but I had endeared myself to them in some respects, and people got to know me and, and Michael involved. And Intel pretty good. And then there was the resignation of the newly elected Council. Ironically, it happened to be the Baptist minister. And he got redeployed his ministry to another city. And so there was a newly created vacancy on the couch and District Council, the new one, and so they held byelection rather than and it was during that period, that a lot of those suggestions by the media that wasn't because I was a transsexual, and and questioning my, you know, my character, and all of that sort of thing began to emerge, because it was sort of lovely, salacious stuff for the otherwise boring local government, you know, election stuff to happen. And so you said, put up with all of that scrutiny, which was just sort of the beginning of learning a long, long lesson of how to deal with all with all of that sort of scrutiny. But I would have to say that it was the media and the associated attention. With the fascination with the strange gene, the person running for public office in a rural conservative area in New Zealand, nobody would thought that thought that it would happen, that it was a bit of a joke, Cameron had run for the mayoralty and Wellington in 1977. And they've been full of spectacular sort of, you know, wonderful color. But nobody was taking it serious. It was more an entertainment than anything else. So now a few years later, there's this thing happening, except it's on rural New Zealand, and this will be fun. And all of it sort of and how wrong they were. And I won the election, because the council could have just appointed me, as I was the highest polling, unsuccessful candidate, we're talking about 14 votes here 14 votes, and that I've missed out by save the expense of a, you know, byelection, it was no choice, they could have leave the situation vacant, but it was too soon after the relation. And that would mean there would be a ward and the little strip that would be unrepresented for that time. So that wasn't an option. And they chose the byelection. And in a strange sort of way, I was able to use that to my advantage, because I do the fire and brimstone at all the expense unnecessary, and so on and so forth. And the media is saying, oh, but no, isn't it because you're a transsexual? And I don't want to hear like that, oh, I couldn't possibly be anything like this. And I, you know, for all of that, that they would sort of size it Oh, no, that's not an issue sitting in ownership. For me, it shouldn't be ownership for anyone. And I just went on those sort of, you know, rows back to kind of attitude, while the poor old incumbent mayor was being asked about as the council doing this, because, you know, you don't want to hit someone like this on the council. And of course, he would come back with very diplomatic and political way. Of course not, no, this is a democracy. And that's why we're going to have the byelection so that the people can make the decision. Well, of course, you can't argue with that. Of course, that's sort of right. But we all know, we all know don't like [01:24:07] to vote. And, and certainly the voters understood that and thought, thumbing your nose at the Council, and they kicked my Fanny under that Council, and elected me with a very clear majority, five other people stood against me, and a byelection For God's sake, you know, some against me, and, and I got half of the votes and the rest of them, she had the rest of the verse. [01:24:35] And there I became a counselor. And [01:24:39] so yeah, it was and then when I got in there, of course, it was very new. And I knew nothing, I was by no means been educated towards the ways of politics, I just, you know, learned from the ground up, so to speak. And it was very easy. And my first few months to be marginalized by the rest of the counselor, were just sort of, you know, bemused more than anything else that was like, I want to be a one to wonder, you know, and that kind of thing, I seize that opportunity that they sort of throw it to me. Council councils under the resource management action needed to establish adequate consultative procedures with local EV. And since I was the first married, we have a safe, so they throw it to the brownie on the corner. And, and I took it with both hands, went off with workshops and things and came back with a draft sort of proposal for a policy for the council to adopt to start to establish my [01:25:49] creed amongst them I suppose. [01:25:54] But at the end of the day, doesn't matter about them sit around the table so much. Let's other people you put your name on who you're representing on that, that you got to keep on side that you got to keep open and honest with and I just sort of always, you know, fell favor, luckily with the constituents. And I delivered for them. [01:26:18] Yes, under promised over [01:26:23] saturating the tech early on. [01:26:27] And then the 95 election came around and never been suggested that I have a go for the middle to the end, which I thought was sort of ridiculous, but let's have fun. And and why and and gave the guy [01:26:39] the mirror Oh, she being successful in that you became the world's first transsexual, openly transsexual media. And that created a whole lot of international media attention. How did you do? [01:26:53] it? It did? Well, first of all, [01:26:59] I'd didn't think for a moment cloud when the mayoralty and I stood also because you could stand for counsel and man. So I was already an incumbent counselor. And so I stood for both, you know, because I was pretty short, but will stand for the minority. And what a guy and I didn't upon the suggestion, excuse me of one of our managers. He shouldn't have been advising me this way. But I'll go on, you know, let's have a go and filter them Bolden enough to do it. And because I've been pretty straight up about what I thought of the sort of so called Fuddy duddies, as I call them, most unkindly when I think about it now, but no, that's politics. And I would just sort of say things are God have these councils on here. So the seats on you know a little bit about time, you know, some new fresh leadership that out of out of that, anyhow, resonated with people on this, and I want them to see at the end [01:27:55] day, [01:27:57] 95 years big, the attention descended upon me, the media treated the mayoral campaign, again, as some kind of entertainment, I don't think anyone was quite sure that I would actually pull it off. And that I've given myself the backstop of being able to be reelected as a counselor. So you know, people are wondering about that. But as it turned out, it was very, it was a difficult one I didn't just scrape on or anything like that I had a great majority. And bang, I was there I was the mirror. And I was terrified, really, because suddenly, oh my god, what happened was the media that formed me that I've certainly the first transsexual in New Zealand to be elected as a mayor. And then later on, people sort of say, you might be the first in the world. And I said, Well, I wouldn't have a clue, you'd have to go and verify that or whatever like that. I don't know, I'm just, you know, in there, and get on with the job. But of course, the media attention was on the train, you know, this is the first transsexual in the world. And after nobody else around the world stuck their hand up to say, No, I am. And none of them did. Oh, no, nobody did. [01:29:13] That. It's just a given. But that has no [01:29:18] effect. And, of course, I had nothing to do whatsoever with my getting elected, it was a byproduct, you know, on a PR scale that was that. When a dawned on me, that was the case, even if it's just about New Zealand, it's got some significance from you know, from the gay communities or significant minorities that an underdog made it through legitimately knows with these pulled here to get her into office or anything, these rural redneck conservative New Zealanders elected, Hey, what did they put in the water, you know, what, you know, what's caused this, this is, you know, quite remarkable. And this little micro example, in the scheme of things, and that's sort of fun, and G don't we feel good that anyone can make it on our country and get there, you know, there was all of this kind of thing [01:30:24] that went on. So it was [01:30:26] a mean side decided to accept that I become a bit of a figure of political importance, since of all, when there's a little little advances just happened here. And so I accepted that it was going to represents parts of the gay community or that movement, as one thing, but actually, I'm the mayor of Carson. And that's my problem refocus, and as gods to be, what I may do, and what I may achieve, whatever, like that, May, will be a good reflection for everybody else that's going to claim a piece of ownership of my reflect glory, or whatever you want to call it. And success and achievement, and to be used as an example of how it could happen elsewhere of people were more open minded and overlook and the data and all of that kind of significance. But largely, it would depend on how fixed of my example might be, by my exemplary behavior. And at the same time, I'm not looking like I was, you know, totally conforming to, you know, societal why's that I'm not afraid to be who I am and what I am for everyone to knowledge, and go out there and preach it, I just end and you know, I am and who's making up the issue, the media do, because that's an interesting aspect. And people are curious about it. And also had a reflection, some possibly in a negative way, for the people of character, because now they've got this civic leader, who's becoming very, virtually a household name, because of my notoriety, my interest in backstory, and the fact that I am this transsexual, and now this is going to reflect on the town to and on the district. So there was that to take into account. So again, my conduct, I guess, at the time was try and make a happy balance between [01:32:50] to be everything to everybody that they wanted me to be, you know, in some ways, but but not lose that either. [01:32:58] Did you feel that you hit kind of be more respectable? Or [01:33:05] I already was respectable, [01:33:06] and to have more respectable the colleagues to [01:33:11] Okay, if I was going to, you know, [01:33:14] because now you've got a public platform. So the media asked me about all sorts of other things, local government related my district for lasers, and you know, and all of that kind of thing, my response to things, I mean, just looking at me as a civic leader to begin with was, you know, how she going to do that's some kind of attitudes that people like me just haven't got the Kahunas to be able to do a job like that. You know, so what are you telling me, I'm so sad and intelligent, because I haven't to be what I am. But I can't do this, you know, and what, of course, that game. And of course, we have those kinds of invisible barriers that we sometimes face, because people just making some kind of erroneous assumption about Can I have me to Kaiser I'm educated or intelligent or able, or sensible or whatever, you know, to be able to deal with a position of, yes, ceremonial responsibility, but he does a hard graft work. And there's a whole lot of diplomacy, there's a whole lot of politics, there's a whole lot of stuff that certainly got to creation, learn as well as being the public face, and the media go to person sounds have a whole lot of skills had to come together, which is why I said before, and having had some experience in theater, and a little bit of dabbling, and TV and a little bit of entertainment, my street smarts from my street time is suddenly elements of all of that came into play to being able to use of navigating my way through in the early days anyhow, of my melty. And just learning how to deal with that little own the run of the mill stuff that the council does, and how to manage people and, and deal with the high browse and the low browse and still not lose a sense of self and who I am and what I would demands that others had on me and my time and my image and my and everything that I you know, that I represented, that's the way people wanted a huge demand came on because suddenly, you know, you don't have a platform and a Peter store, you're a voice box. And [01:35:25] so, [01:35:25] so then how did you feel about I've seen a number of newspaper articles from the time where, you know, the first sentence, kind of, as always, you know, prostitute, drug user, Devil Devil. So your pastors always following you, before they actually get to the story of what the story is, how did you feel about the past? [01:35:47] Well, you know, at the time, you know, you just sort of dealt with it, and you just took it that that's how it was always going to be now, you know, there's enough of that record around for people to reflect back on it now and sort of go, how useless those journalists how shallow as that media at the time that they always have to start like that. It was just essentially a sensational headline grabbing film to get the reader's attention, I suppose. And on occasions, you would get feedback from the reader that will suddenly say, Why do you have to keep on referring to Georgina Byers, a transsexual, we don't refer to the Prime Minister as a heterosexual, which could have a double entendre would, of course, [01:36:34] and which was Bolger in the time, and, um, [01:36:42] and so people would, could see New Zealanders could look through that kind of stuff. But I think that's more reflection of the journalistic devices that they use of the day. That was about me. And I have to keep throwing that out there. I mean, at the end of the day, everyone knows that. So why do you have to keep repeating it. So it's for various various reasons, really, that they want to raise it? again. I can remember when I was in Parliament, word, at one time, when people wrote me off at the 2002 election, we might come to that later. But I'm rightly off and then I changed my mind. And I was going to leave after my first term, and then I changed my mind, and I'll be back. And of course, I remember the people in the press gallery telling me, you just committed political suicide, you don't do that, you know, say you gonna leave and announced such and everything like that, and then change your mind that you're going to stay. And, you know, you'll just come out of political suicide 2002 election happens, my majority doubled. Now, do you think they would want to scrutinize how that happened? Or why that happened? Do you think that want to give me credit for actually having some ability, and not only that, for actually being straight up? And you know, in it, because I was trying to look for some What the hell happened here, you know, some incredible thing that occurred, but it was very simple, really, at the end of the day, I changed my mind. And I told him to change my mind on okay, if I thought that I was too silly to you know, put back there, then I wouldn't be put back there. But they definitely put me back there. I'm talking about the electors, you know, so Meteor, explain to me your whole attitude that I just committed political suicide, and that I'm naive and stupid. I always was going to be a one to wonder, you know, asked me since I first elected to public office in 1993. How come I lasted till 2007 did it happen because, you know, people would just either I was more than one to wonder I never lost an election except for the first one I ever ran. And that was a 1992. And I'm staffed by 14 votes which turned out to be an advantage strange sort of way in the end. I mean, but that never got locked it. You're right. prostitute trains sexual drag queen, blah, blah, blah, all of that pain is the sort of [01:39:17] get up there. [01:39:20] What prompted you to then stand as a member of parliament? [01:39:28] Well, [01:39:30] I was very happy and my role and local government. I succeeded and getting a second term as mayor in 1998 for the 90% majority. I represented zone for on local government Museum, which is the Burlington Metropolitan, you know, region of local governments Zealand, I was very happy and content, my role as Amir I was approached by the New Zealand Labour Party on the form of Sanya Davies, and who lived in Masterton. And she came to see me under the pretense of talking about the masculine hospital at the time, which was under threesome closure and, and services been diminished and so on and so forth. But the end of the day after that meeting, she had me signed up as a member of the order to [01:40:29] get her out of my office at the time and [01:40:33] and then she came back and suggested that what I consider running as a candidate for labor and the white rapper, I said, No, I turned labor down three times, and quite quick succession. I went to a meeting in 1998 1999 with Helen Clark a day before the hero parade and Auckland and, and she was the leader of the opposition at the time, and had the meeting with her and she was sort of quite keen but she made one statements to me but maybe go no again. Because she said during the course of the dinner that we had said are now we're looking for star performers. And if you just want someone who's a bit of a name and some far flung rural season, all of that sort of thing that's not really me and my fabulous abilities that you want it's just my letter writing pull a few votes your hope in MP election, etc. and and this great emphasis put on you just go for the party boat, the party, but don't worry about your personal by just the other party, boat party boat. And I think that was the anyhow I said I said no. But Sanyo keep being dispatched to persuade me to confirm running as a candidate. So I did. And, you know, except to be put up for selection as a candidate for the wireless proceed for the life of Patty. I didn't realize that there were two others and on the night of the selection meeting, I knew that they were two hours but on the night of the selection meeting up tuned up Frank Cody lounge and master them and expected to have a bit of a, you know, you know, debate because the selection meeting and these two other people there, and I got the two other people made a public announcement and withdrew the candidacy for selection. And so it was me and I just had a fait accompli because I'm the last one standing. And the s&m announced as the labour candidate for the wire ever cease at the 1999 general election. Well veteran, the headlines, of course. And so now it was on was, you know, that was I had never belonged to a political party before. I had no idea of the culture of the New Zealand Labour Party or anything like this. They put some scant resources into our election over there, because I had a view that was probably unlikely that I would win, but they were wanting to get party vote. And it'd be a little bit of media bands, you know, around anyhow, the National Party decided to put up a candidate against me, obviously, because of the National Party stronghold, the water rapper. And that candidate that they selected at the end of the day, is a well known broadcaster called Paul Henry. And he was the national candidate for them. And, of course, all the other parties had the candidates up, but it was really a two horse race between myself and Paul Henry, who blew it for them, frankly, Thank you, Paul. It was well done offense tested performance. And [01:43:51] and he'll never want to into politics ever again, certainly not for the National Party. And and [01:43:58] and I won the election. And that was remarkable. I didn't certainly didn't expect to win the constituency. And but there was, you know, let's be fair here, there was a swim away from the National from the incumbent national government, and that we're going to lose that election anyhow, and a huge swing towards labor. I had the largest swing in any electoral in the country at that year 32% swing to labor. And I took out the seat with a 3000 majority, a secret of being held by the right honorable Wyatt Creech, who was the in the Deputy Prime Minister, but who had chosen to stand down from the seat and drew his final term and parliament is a listing P and that left field open as he moved on into that position. And yeah, and I think I was only about I'm only the third Labour Party person to help the season water rapper. But in fact, I am the first Labour MP to win the water rapper and the current electoral configuration of the seats now. And previous days the wire ever electorate had been essentially from masters and down to the south coast of the North Island. And the and then the electrode above that was Pieta trying to keep Hollywood which of course token pyre tour would fill Danny this Vic, that sort of lower central Hawke's Bay Area, but that got subsumed john balloon was the last impede a whole bit pirate or seed. And that was assumed by the newly redrawn boundaries of the wire Ripper which Wyatt head and his time from 1996 after the union p changes and come about and ended I want us to 99 for labor [01:46:09] knowing what you knew about how the media reacted to you in the mid 90s Did you ever turn it around and actually use differences as a way of promoting yourself [01:46:27] promoting myself I never felt I had to play in a country where a lot of people might think I've never been in the business of necessarily particularly wanted to promote myself except for election time is you know, those are things to use my not I think people would like to think that Oh yes, she's exploited her our uniqueness or whatever like that. I understand what I am if you want to make me unique and that God fits that that's you doing that at the end of the day that's so superficial. You don't exist in the political arena you know, for that time without some actual ability and being able to do the job and actually on the ground. It let me put it to you this way. Conservative rural New Zealand perhaps others but in this instance conservative rural New Zealanders will spot a fake at 50 paces. [01:47:26] So you can't bullshit theme [01:47:31] What more can I say? At the end of the day, you know that that's what it's got to be you can see that I came with the Edit of traction of you know, big press coverage, not just newspapers, but TV all of that he interviews the day on TV is that I had the time with me or I would them they would press the issues of mature transition or even six change. Have you done this? 60 minutes of the last the most ridiculous personal, too much questions that I asked you, you might be offended it, you know. So after your hand your sex change, what was the first time you had six like, this is Genevieve Wescott, 60 minutes asking me a question like that. All sorts of inquiry and inquisitiveness that no other person in public office really has to tolerate. But I do Why? What is this strange curiosity you have with what might happen in my bedroom, or in my character, your your test my character when I proved again, and again, by just my work and what I do, and my you know, my conduct, that I'm just like any other person who's Amir, or who's an MP or whatever, I carry out to my duties. You know, I mean, I don't know, what else can I say what else you know, can I do? Some people like to come characterized it as a way of character assassination, but I'm just exploiting my difference wrong. And if it does appear that I've been able to use that sometimes as a platform to get out a particular message, or you don't get invited to you in conferences on human rights, because I was a in the closet, transsexual, no, because I have been able to be out who I am, be able to have the Pepe balance of the Gaussian proud about that. And talking about that I'm lucky enough to live at a time in a country and a democracy, where tolerance at the end of the day more often than not, has prevailed eventually. And yes, there's still some rough edges around it. But occasionally, there are more of us from those significant minorities who have become figureheads, symbols, examples, role models, people to look up to, and, and that sort of thing. And by God, we need them there in every other aspect of life, why the hell Shouldn't we have, you know, people like that, together, I just happen to be unhappy happens, you know, happenstance that for a period of time, at a moment in time, someone like me was happened. And that's provided a platform, specially in the transgender community to become embolden and confident that they can participate more fully and society than otherwise we have been able to, and that has spilled out around the world. It's not as if I wasn't been the first out transsexual to have attempted public office, I was just lucky enough to be the first one to achieve it. Many of us have done it before me file, but those are the ones who are the pioneers, those are the ones who push the boundary to the point where I happen to be lucky enough, you know, at that moment in time for it to happen. And to be able to be a positive force, as a, as an event that happened, click forward and our political properties and our social progress. I'm just one of many. And, and few of us, a few of us are celebrated for our Gina said, Christine Jorgensen the first you know, I mean, if anybody thinks we want to live these public lives, like they're quite mistaken, it's a bit different for someone who's relying on their [01:51:50] Queenie nuts or whatever to be their bread and butter isn't an entertainer, you know, [01:51:58] you know, with I might, you know, that that's the gimmick, you know, kind of thing. This is no gimmick, Me, neither his being. [01:52:07] So was there ever a time where you just actually wanted to say, just get over it, [01:52:11] you know, all the time, but you know, [01:52:17] but get over Georgina, just so you know, lover that, you know, don't be arrogant. And that doesn't, you're the only one that has to sort of, you know, I got caught up by the Polish media last year, because the third out transsexual in the world has been elected to a parliament and Poland. And she had sizes from her media engagements with during the campaign and stuff like that, that I had been me and New Zealand had been an inspiration for her to be able to find, you know, the courage net to press forward her political ambitions. And something like Poland. Well, that's pretty good, you know, and this, she is now she is the only one on the world at the moment who happens to be empowerment, okay, you know, dysfunctional hope she's doing a good job, I meet these second out transsexual in the world who got a little lady by the name of Vladimir luck, Syria, who was elected into the pro the government, and actually a couple of years ago, only lasted about nine months is neither here nor there. And she was on the Communist Party to a little bit here, and I miss what a human, I get a human rights conference and the Mexican Parliament into a few years left. So that was quite an Stark meeting of me and her amazing for the first time and, and the both of us, you know, that kind of thing. But there are many other transgender people around the world who have managed to get into public office, maybe not, that live in either on education boards, or wireless or transit, it's happening all over, I could sort of be held responsible for helping a bit of debt to business through. And despite the sheer fact that me Zealand, you know, it's good New Zealand credit here. Rather than May, and the vehicle of me, let's not forget, I'm not the only one in this country that served on black local government, Jackie grant, who served down on the council on the greatest Council, and for a couple of years, you know, a couple of terms, you know, she's been successful too. And in that arena, I just happened to be, I just got them. [01:54:29] And so some took that one. [01:54:34] So my political achievements and addictions and stuff have been one thing, the fact that we've been able to, you know, the I and the wider queer community here and around the world have, on occasion been able to use that as a good example of why we should be more accepting an open and inclusive country. And that's the inspiration of many overseas to, I've done a lot of speaking overseas, at gay international forums, whether it be united nations, doing HIV AIDS, where I haven't been to conferences, and Kobe and Copenhagen and are all over the place, particularly in Montreal. And yeah, all over the place where I've been asked to go and give a keynote address, and never failed to, [01:55:31] you know, talk a bit about, [01:55:34] you know, the New Zealand example so far. And where I fit it into today's not the only one. So in that sense, yes, I do use, you know, the platform, that's what you're going to build this up around me that I might as well [01:55:50] know, now that I'm out of politics proper, and all of that sort of thing of anyone wants to, you know, use that experience, how [01:55:58] did how do you feel about people claiming parts of you so like, say, like, a community, a specific community saying, you know, [01:56:07] your look, strangely enough, I think that is, you know, even in our LGBT community, there's elements of cynicism and contempt towards me, and many who will despise me, and even amongst the Queen Zane, and so the benches that have hit the hill does she shares, you know, you know, kind of attitude? And people always want tall poppy syndrome, I suppose, as what emerges from time to time. [01:56:36] I know, just saw what was the question? [01:56:38] And I would just when when, when people kind of claim ownership of [01:56:42] you see it? Yeah, um, [01:56:47] well, I've got to choose whether or not I'm going to, you know, buy into that or to allow that to happen. I don't mind really, if [01:56:58] you know, what's happened has hit. And [01:57:01] that's a good news story, often, by and large. [01:57:07] Some of my life experience will reflect with others who have had similar and, and it provides. [01:57:17] Yeah. [01:57:19] And if it's to be used for good or to broaden minds, or whatever like that, then I will I mean, I've had my battles with conventional society in the past, certainly important, certainly have a civil unions and prostitution reform and legislation like this. But I sort of just about Oh, yeah, but of course, she would support something like that, you know, that sort of natural assumption, you know, that I will. But it came with caveats. When I did it. And also, if there wasn't an example to the gay community, who do have cynicism about my time and my era and my abilities, and all that sort of thing. What excuse me, who wasn't who made the conscious decision that serious votes, like prostitution or form like civil unions like de facto poverty, relationship stuff, that I went against what my electorate wanted me to do, and what those who voted me and you know, whose duty I owed, and that seems to, to stand up for the moral principle of what I thought was right. Truly used my conscience, without thinking of the world is I don't think but knowing understanding that there was a political risk to it. But regardless of that, I had to do what I felt was right my hat in that might have been against my past event account, for sure. And CBS, or whether it be those two pieces of legislation. [01:58:50] Did you find being in the spotlight that suddenly a whole lot of people would just contact you and say this is my story to do find that so I love them, people don't. [01:59:00] And [01:59:03] I used to find my electric sometimes some of my elected office and my electric staff would occasionally get people on. And they had children or relatives or people that they wanted to talk to me about because they thought that they might be gay, or they might be transgender, or whatever. And they didn't know anybody else who they felt that they could go and talk to about it. So they exist their way to me. Because my life my story and who I am, was out there, they saw it was almost like they sort of knew me, they've been the documentaries on TV, there's been so there's not a lot of people don't know about me. And they either, you know, when the highs and lows of all of that sort of stuff. And they've sort of felt a connection to me and felt sort of confident enough to come and talk to me about what I found to be shameful issue for the most something to deal with. I don't know. So that was sort of interesting that people would sort of see me in that sort of counseling kind of way. I would always refer people to more appropriate professionals might deal with that. But sometimes just on a face to face one on one, I remember our grandparents bringing the couple of the grandsons to me who were very gay and very, you know, campy, and they were convinced they wanted to be trainees and were threatening to leave home and the grandparents were looking after them and all that sort of time. And they wanted to go to Auckland, and get into the K road scene and all of that. And the grandparents had the foresight really answer was actually bring them to me just asked me to talk with them for an hour. And then to sort of feed back to the grandparents what I thought. And I did, and a couple of years after that I heard from the grandparents again, but also from one of the boys. And they thanked me for my advice at the time, at save them from potentially a a unnecessary deviation in their life. They were convinced they were going to go and be you know, Queens on Kairos that don't fit, they realize really, they're just gay guys. And never really planned before they were 1117 1617 years old, you know. And so that was just a prime. Sometimes I was to sort of, you know, gravitate the bits that wasn't quite what they really were, they were just having a [02:01:34] moment so to speak. And [02:01:36] I kind of gay puberty [02:01:39] and adolescence until I settled on, and very much happier for the man might have saved them a few years of checking themselves and a frog and selling their wares on k road and all of that kind of fun. The drug culture. So that was sort of one I had a mother with a 1011 year old son, who had naturally gravitated towards being transgender was now starting to go to school dressed up as a girl with old school minds and seeing them as a boy and all that sort of stuff. And the mother was quite happy to to help and support this transition that was happening young to a son, but that came with not only and ostracism for him at school, about an ostracism for heroes a mother and the neighborhood and the neighbors and stuff like that. And that comes as house to mirror of Captain America when I came to see me about the edge [02:02:37] so [02:02:41] yeah, provided and a lot of people would write you know, write emails and letters and things. [02:02:50] Can you describe for me what it was like giving your main speech from home? Well, [02:03:02] I [02:03:04] nk stood over one rights that are made in speech, I guess you all in peace dove and I'm making the maiden speech. There are certain conventions about what you include in your maiden speech, acknowledgement of the queen, and so on and so forth, and parliament and a few sort of bubbling up trees, and that are meant to go in there. And then it's, you know, you go onto it, I tried, I would get halfway down the page, right. And suddenly, I think, well, what is this rubbish I'm writing. And I normally speak off the cuff and from the heart and and, you know, if I need information, or a few bullet points, or something I might do. Jonathan hand, who became the speaker of that parliament, wanted us all to submit our maiden speeches to him to review before we made them and parliament to make sure they took all the boxes and stuff like this and that you [02:03:56] read and [02:03:59] write Neva submissive one. And the day of my mad and speech comes up. And not only that the media wanted an advanced copy to have my maiden speech. So they're all prepared for me, as soon as I sit on the house, like a publisher. And they rang me up and asked me for it. in advance, I turned around and facility left to wait until hand sides regiment. And of course, I said, but but hands, I can't ride until you've delivered it. And I went, that's right. So as it didn't wait with everybody else, because I don't know what I'm going to say. Yes. And so Jonathan was very nervous about when it came time for me to do my maiden speech, because he didn't know what I was going to say in advance. And it wasn't actually an outrageous speech, or anything like this. And I mentioned all things were meant to mention. And, and then a few clips along the way. And it turned out to be a delightful and speech and brought the house down. It was like a mini Georgina show, for the eight and a half minutes, or however long I spoke for, and I came out with one or two copy lines, which were our one in particular that was picked up by the media is will probably end up being my epitaph. It was better brought the house down. And it was a way of breaking the ice, I think, because, you know, most of the foods training anyhow, to be standing in our parliament. And there's a lot of homophobes sitting around and there are a lot of uncertain people about about me being there. And I came out with my famous list of the stallion that became a building and then a mayor. Now I seem to have found myself to be a member, Mr. Speaker, and everyone's could see the humor in that but the the sort of that briefly succinctly sort of covered my entire life story. And that nice pithy little saying, and it got widely reported and televised and all of this and and sort of the endeared people I think at the end of the day, which was good, so it was off the cuff. Like I said, I mentioned all the appropriate and they even managed to make a copper wire Creech and what was going on that was talking through and so nothing incredibly remarkable, except that I did feel at one point that I needed to acknowledge the fact that I was the first transsexual in New Zealand to be elected to a parliament. And, and and the World Cup made it sort of quite a historic moment at that time. [02:06:44] I think as a viewer I remember seeing it on TV and it was just amazing. It was just so symbolic and you know, I I think for a lot [02:06:53] of people often asked me if I say that in Photoshop, what the hell I was wearing fails my hair. Well, so it's on the public record. Those are Roca fiddles, I'm of tatty our descent tongue of the cinema to have a lucky but Wellington in particular I was born and so I was wearing not okra feathers. That's why I'm wearing my hair that not because I thought I was I had some [02:07:20] really tragic drag Idris on [02:07:28] Did you ever think to yourself at any time when you start off in Parliament? You know, I'm actually finally here. I mean, was there ever a moment we thought I can't believe that. I'm actually in this [02:07:42] every day. [02:07:45] First, the first thing was when I on election night, I was an absolute disbelief that I had one because the results the way that come through. And it was a long results process that night on TV. And thought I was pulling Republic it was going to win but I had a surge at the very end and and suddenly Yeah, so I won. Well, I was in disbelief about that then actually turning up at Parliament. So you have Election Day on a Saturday, they got Sunday to get over it. And then Monday we hit it all new employees head to Parliament straightaway. And [02:08:28] unfortunately ran over got crane Thea Can I get there because I didn't drive that point, drive a vehicle. I didn't get my driving license until the year 2000. And [02:08:40] yes, of course, I get to Parliament and [02:08:44] just disbelief that I was I'm allowed to be here. I'm I'm you know, this is my place of work. You know, the first week we had share offices with the world, the other labour colleagues, Parliament hadn't quite changed all the officers and everything over and put the National Party and the opposition officers and the government officers but that came about and an incredible year unbelievable. And of course a lot of sort of media and preliminary supper for Parliament actually set on opened and all of that sort of thing. I'm preparation and just getting you know, getting adjusted to this new work environment has to happen relatively quickly. But there's an awful lot to absorb about how it's all going to work and how it happens. But yeah, unbelievable. believers. I'm here, and I'm allowed to be calling me mom. Hola, security and Bob reception. They're not Hello, me. And a lot of people very pleased. You could see it even some of the staffers around parliament, you know, fantastic. This whole thing about me being there, you know, and of course, other politicians and that there was some they all knew who I was. And there was no denying that I was ever going to be sort of a you know, forgotten backbencher, you know, sort of. And so from the moment I've got first went to Parliament, I [02:10:25] see [02:10:26] publicity and in profile, and then everything to a new big picture, you've got to get as much attention, you know, to yourself. And of course, it just arrived with me, I mean, and that was sort of, you know, I was going to be in the spotlight from the get go, but it wasn't like I could just scope away into the corner of the chamber and be forgotten about or not noticed or whatever. So every time you know, the first I was ever going to make a speech that is able to do this. And, and whatever what she can be like on select committees in the enemy interesting, kind of dumb, useless questions, are they gonna be asking you not just the human dynamics around the table of having some it's quite weird. Luckily, of course, of course. And I should not forget to teach them but I had Chris Catherine to ban it with the only other out gay MPs and Parliament at the time. And of course, Chris, particularly, but terminals well have had had had to deal with the attitudinal culture inside parliament, by themselves from the time that you know that they had been on and they've been some pretty nasty, you know, cross him famous runs with john banks and people like that in the day. So now I've come and parliament. [02:11:50] And [02:11:53] you know what Marilyn wearing all those years beforehand, of course, but that's only come to pass, you know, she didn't have to, you know, that sort of? It's amazing for those of us that hit watch a very few really, oh, there's a lot now I mean, crash, just very, very sick. And [02:12:10] now, it just made it so common. [02:12:14] The pinking of the Parliament, as they call it. [02:12:19] Did you find that there was much discrimination still, when you went? [02:12:25] No, I found very little of it. And I don't think and because I had a high high profile, if I say so myself, I'm leave it up to others don't judge as to whether or not I had a high profile, but I had a pretty high profile for a new big, big MP. And it was going to be with me, and that's the profile was positive, not negative. And, yes, of course, it was a little bit of negativity out there from the naysayers and the fundamentalists, and so on, so forth, out there. But by and large, I was affectionately regarded by many New Zealanders. So to start climbing to me on that level, for other politicians would have been very churlish, and not something that would necessarily work in their favor. They had to argue me on on policy or points or, you know, that kind of fun on the word, not the person and all my past. And of course, when things like prostitution reform came up for debate, I was one of the few that could stand and panel quite happily regaling my, my previous experience, and then challenging the house to sort of says everyone else in here is, who knows that like I do, of course, it wasn't, you could have heard a pin drop, of course, there wasn't a [02:13:46] few shameful bands was down for but not [02:13:52] so, you know, that sort of seem to message that about, you know, this is a metal before us an experience unless I'm going to put my perspective, my experience, and it's my contribution to the debate and to the house. And, and all that sort of thing. And I think people just came to speak that. [02:14:13] I think I was lucky enough to enjoy [02:14:18] will speak from across the house. You know, go and talk to people of my era or the time that I was in there. And for the most part, I'm sort of more well thought of the not. And, and that's that's lucky to get out of Parliament like that. [02:14:40] What do you think your proudest moments are? empowered? [02:14:48] Oh, [02:14:51] oh, I can't pin them down to one, I guess. [02:14:56] Obviously, getting there [02:15:00] legitimately being there. [02:15:04] That's always a privilege. An answer seems cliche, but it's a privilege to serve a new parliament. [02:15:12] And [02:15:15] and I got there on merit. And I'm proud of that. [02:15:25] I'm proud of most of the legislation that I've supported, not all of it. [02:15:33] I've been around for one or two pieces that [02:15:38] like a broken record, but you know, civil union and prostitution reform are feeling major social pieces of legislation in that decade. And [02:15:51] and I [02:15:53] was a vocal supporter of both of them. [02:15:57] I wasn't the promo guys are on them. Not at all. They actually Timbaland's was the problem, guys are both of those. And I think my stand to be corrected. But But civil unions started out as members built and became a government bill. And, you know, at the end of the day, but these supporters and prostitution reform, while again, it was definitely a member's bill, it was Tim's members Bill and I supported him. Amongst others gone, I wasn't the only one I just happened to be one of the more reported ones. So I'm proud of those debates. I'm proud of the day I've got there's lots of things you could say could be proud of, I suppose representing my electorate, getting now hospital, doing all of the things for my electorate that I wanted to do, and that they wanted me to advocate for and delivered on all events to be proud of. [02:17:01] Being able to [02:17:04] counter act the event Nana's the destiny church and Brian Tamaki and the enough was enough March that was anti civil union bill and pro family values. And and I hit some celebrated pleasures public pleasures with [02:17:25] Brian Tamaki. [02:17:28] And one and the end that's Patty got to know me. [02:17:35] And yeah, [02:17:38] that was that [02:17:40] my advocacy for for significant minorities, I'm proud of those some of those things that I've been able to contribute to when asked quiet and it's about being able to use the position to assist you know, which is what we are represented to at the end of the day. [02:18:03] There was that moment where unions were Brian Tamaki in the church marched to Parliament, and that day, and I remember hearing you speak the in and strong strong stuff that was to be able to stand up right there in front of such a kind of faithful audience. [02:18:26] Well, to think that [02:18:30] I stood on the steps of Parliament that day holding a rainbow flag for about two hours, they were marching down from square and Willington, through the streets of Manhattan came down to Parliament. So I had no idea what the match look like. But in the morning, early in the morning about 6am, or something like that now I had an apartment apartment on the 20th floor barn house, and I was looking out the window and I could see the stage setup being put up on the full court Parliament mother key that's a bit more than we usually have for. For Proteus. We knew that this protest was going to be happening that day. But we didn't realize and I certainly didn't realize the imagery they were going to present to the nation. When they did that map. 600 men and boys dressed and black, [02:19:23] doing, punching the air with their fists walking down the street. [02:19:30] Saying Enough is enough. And look something like out of Nuremberg rally. And I stood on the steps of Parliament holding this rainbow flag waiting for them to arrive on the forecourt 8000 turned up in the end. And they all and when I end a small group about 150 of pros, civil unions supporters dressed in the orange and white sort of uniform for one of a better term that was the colors of the camera pain for civil unions at that time, and I would gather rather see them statue of Parliament. And as the destiny church enough was enough March arrived at Parliament grounds, from my vantage point on the landing on the steps of Parliament. They looked like a black cancer spreading across the front lawn of Parliament and engulfing the orange and white closed. civil union protesters not look like that. And they were isolated, no big. And the stage setup had been set up for Brian Tanguay to do his evangelism from at a protest. And he arrived accompanied by about 40 other pastors from around the country and a bevy of henchmen. And he, they matched him up to the stage and Roman formation and that sort of thing. And Sasha of this rally and I'm standing on the stage Tsukiji, join me Sue bread for joining a few others, you know, MPs who happened to be there, came out and join me and remonde money came and stood with me and to sort of chaperone me and look after me up there while I protest, and that's fine. And this famous TV footage of Brian addressing that rally. And I happen to remark what I'm selling on the steps at one point where he would have a blurb and then you've got 8000 people responding with enough was enough punching the air. And I just said a loud, realizing the press gallery, and most have not come down to the steps of Parliament. I said, Oh, my God, I feel like I'm standing on the Nuremberg rally. You know, I'm not I'm looking shocked and horrified because it doesn't sort of fit, you could feel this hatred sort of coming for from these people in that sense. And other journals, and then last sort of year, God, you know, that's pretty amazing. And after they had finished having a rally, I sit Ramona said, I've got to go down. Because I could see the pros, civil union people standing around the statue, and they were distressed of being pushed and Josh, jostled and verbally abused. And all of that I've just handed down to them got through the barriers that the security have put up, and stuff like that, to go down and to talk to them. And to to sort of, you know, be with them in solidarity kind of thing. I got pushed and jostled and ridiculed and abused and everything as I got there. And Ramon got very scared for me and dragged me back up onto the forecourt behind the protection of the barriers and stuff like that. Now, display had set up a sound system, the Rolling Stones would have been proud of big, loud megaphone, you know, form amplified system. And they were still talking about you know, on the microphones of the Christian heritage party person was yammering away. And I was I just got this angry, this sort of anger welled up in me and I'm mashed on the front of the forecourt talking back at them. And of course, I was yelling at them because they had this big loud loud system and I was up they were listening to me and they were all taunting me and pointing at me and stuff like that. And I just stopped and I can't remember exactly what I said. But the priests the priests pick right in after me and followed me because they were behind the safety barriers to and just sort of coming around me and captured this interaction I had with the people played on the TV news that night and I looked like some screaming Banshee because I was I was getting remember I'm trying to battle be heard over a loud highlight system. And I haven't got anything like that to amplify it looks like I'm like a screaming Banshee. And I'm saying Why do you hate us so much and so on and so forth and that kind of thing and then ended up on TV and didn't look that good? Actually some obviously there are up for the gay community and for those of our friends who supported what we were you know alpha inside that began Yeah, you know, saying how people felt you know why that's and and all of that. But luckily, [02:24:29] the following day, Paul homes on the home show on TV got me and Brian Tamaki doing a head to head and the studios are much more controlled and serious environment in which to debate the issue and stuff like that. And yes, one of my proud moments are demolish them with my arguments. Brian Tamaki. And with the assistance of Paul I have to say it because he was being fair minded and balanced and has a question and causal toriello approach within to the individual is certainly established check a few other funds Brian, that below because you can tell Paul's really on the side of us, you know, and my arguments and Tamaki was not acquitting himself well. And so when he started asking about the tithing, and the fabulous Rolex watches, and you mentioned house and your Queen Mary to us, you know, and all of a sudden, then, you know, Brian gets very defensive during that. And so, but on the serious side, I was, you know, able to brush off the sort of some of the critics that were coming out for the second half, she's just a drama queen, you know, we're using overly emotive language and you know, what you mean, white have to raise Hitler in the Second World War, you know, all of this kind of thing being mean, thrown it, but because, but I haven't been to these things is not my problem. And luckily, on a few TV battles, and radio battles that I had, at that time was over that particular match and the whole destiny and the civil union thing like that, you know, right one out at the end of the day, and I was just a part of it, it must have been novels to time, but I just sort of tended to get get a bit more attention. Really, the grant behind it all was to manage at the end of the day, as far as shepherding through these pieces of legislation and keeping the the movement that's helping that to hip on cohesive and happening and serious and professional and, you know, with it, [02:26:48] and I was good mouthpiece, [02:26:49] I guess the appropriate time. So get on the air and, [02:26:55] and finish up? [02:26:58] What do you think, the hardest part beginning p. [02:27:08] o the long as the dealing with the myriad, the wide? I mean, that's not a boring day. [02:27:16] There's always something happening. I think keeping up the pace, you know, requires but was quite difficult. I didn't enjoy always the discipline of collective responsibility, and a government caucus, having to support them, I don't really want to, but I've been party booked, you know, doing things for sure. And CBS was an example of this, where I was disobedient. But in the end of the day, I had to capitulate and vote on Fiverr. And I really didn't want to, and then frustrated them. And Helen, I suppose by still speaking out about how I felt and I felt terrible about having to vote in favor of up and really wants the caucuses to side of the door to put on a happy face. Yeah, we're happy about Tony knows, no, you know, and I would just sort of have to, as guess showed some disobedience. And I think I think I might be wrong. But I think that was the beginning of the end of my ever progressing any further and parliamentary politics. The 2005 election, I definitely wanted to leave the end, but was persuaded to stay on for my final term. And I went back as a list MP, my wanted, because of the way I recorded myself during the civil unions debate and, and more of that, and [02:28:45] I had a member's bill on the balance and at the time. [02:28:49] And I, after the election was touting for a promotion of some sort of the mind that a minor ministerial role to start sort of moving them to that level. [02:29:01] I figured [02:29:03] that I'd sort of paid my dues and done the timeline licks a couple of times, and you know, and all that sort of thing. And I think I was the ability to take on, you know, more responsible role, but it wasn't forthcoming. So I sort of lost my mojo really about wanting to stay there for you know, what, for what am I here for enough account proficiently develop, in this regard, I've achieved everything I said, I was going to achieve my electorate, I had stood down from the season gone back as a list member, I couldn't get my members bill through the gender identity bill through because we had a much more conservative parliament. And I can still remember the caucus spirit of the new caucus, and after the five elections, screaming at me to get rid of the bill, because many of them have lost these seats over all of us. [02:29:59] All of us can private equity, all [02:30:00] the stuff like this, and there been a bit of a tired of it all. And so I didn't have the support. So that was disappointing, I had to go for Plan B on that measure. And now I see that it's been somewhat addressed. And the current marriage equality bill before the house, the gender identity, [02:30:26] Major. [02:30:28] So I decided to leave and why before I needed to my left in 2007. I could have stayed till the 2008 election. But I thought, well, what would I be sitting around for? You know, I tied it tied off the kinds of things that I wanted to achieve, and that was there some sort of sitting on my backside, and they just write them on the money during the moment. Leave Dean. And that was fun. Was it [02:30:58] what you expected it to be? Parliament? [02:31:01] I don't know what I expected it to be. [02:31:05] It was a place that made laws, and [02:31:09] it was a place that could wield and influence over your community and things like this. [02:31:17] No, no, Parliament hasn't disappointed me. [02:31:22] at all, at the institution of Parliament, I hugely respect and admire. And, and think, you know, for all its flaws, we have a pretty damn good democracy, and world scheme of things. And a tree can provide anyone with the opportunity to participate in our democracy if they want to. And that's becoming more and more Paramount, and particularly under this MP environment, the proportional representation environment, it's often bit louder and, and more diverse voices to be heard on parliament, it doesn't always bode well for those that prefer the old way. But I like the idea that we've had a lot of color and that parliament, we don't want it to be monochrome. [02:32:15] So you moved in 2007. And between 2007. And now in 2012, there have been a number of articles with headlines like, you know, broken living off the employment benefits, not being able to get work has been kind of leaving after leaving parliament. [02:32:36] more difficult than actually getting there. It's not Oh, it has been not good. And course, analyze why that is I have neon bits of work that come along. That's it's not been good. That's exactly how it's it's it's been like [02:32:59] I can't answer as to why. It's not as if I haven't got a belt. [02:33:08] Although I don't have any formal qualifications. [02:33:12] That's very difficult. [02:33:17] And I'm guessing it must be quite difficult actually having those kind of stories written and news print as well. [02:33:25] Oh, well, only from the perspective. [02:33:30] That's not good when the potential employer, Google's your name and the orders. Today, tallying endorsements as that were people but on the other hand, if I've had media inquiries about what am I doing? I mean, I could bullshit. But, you know, to Watkins, so just as what it is, and tell it like others, and they report the truth. [02:33:57] That's the truth. This hour is [02:34:03] otherwise that'd be writing about how I was hiding the fact that I'm a little fun. I don't know, [02:34:12] it's hard to explain why I mean, you know, there are certain jobs I don't want to do, regardless of being you know, and Paul Bennett takes a swipe at me from time to time. Over there, even in the house now. Because I want sit in some newspaper articles. That is, of course, I'm out there job hunting, but I don't necessarily want to be a crew member at McDonald's. Thank you very much. Oh, there's dignity and being you know, flipping burgers at McDonald's. Well, yeah, I'm sure there is. But not for me. I mean, you know, that's the other you know, it's become used to it now. But can you imagine the first day [02:34:53] post Parliament career that I had to walk into the master some Work and Income office with the last time I had a team that they had been with the Ministry of Social Development of the day, or the Prime Minister even develop the players to register unemployed and ask for the doll [02:35:16] humiliation to the max [02:35:20] and that I had sold all my property, my house and stuff that I bought and, and all the things that I'd had an order that I didn't have to go on the dole and lived off all of this sort of stuff. And I think I want a job come Joel come to people who you have non colleague collegiate Lee worked with in the past might have helped whatever and the course of your job now sort of almost cross the street of their see it coming. [02:35:47] The doors close, [02:35:51] people don't want to know that you're not a person of influence anymore of any particular standing of let your head spin. And suddenly, some of the old prejudices I think, and some of the old sort of, you know, spiteful ness, and whatever it will come back, because now I'm nothing quite as strong position as I might have been when I was drive was the mayor of space. And that's interesting to watch that dynamic happen, there will be those within the same, quite happy to have seen one toppled off one's pedestal. And you know, and cut down to size, that's that tall, Poppy thing again. And he'll be quite glad about it. And then news sort of bamboozled about I've got, you know, a lot to offer. And I thought if I hadn't been out there touting in and you know, getting some sort of work, but then when it gets confounded with hours, you got to have a qualification. And listen, and I'm not very good on computers and stuff like that, which today, you know, I managed to get through an entire 1415 year history of politics without a man of god damn computer. And now suddenly, it's important. And, you know, yes, I've helped can use it to a certain, you know, and all of those sorts of things, some crazy, but some pieces of entertainment stuff comes along, but you know, I'm getting on a bit now. getting past all of their no one's come rushing out of the woodwork or been God, NGOs, Gabe, because he groups, you know, human rights organizations, boards that I could serve on. And all of that sort of thing. None of its come up and sort of offered itself or made itself available or anything like that yet have, I've got a world of experience. You know, I've done stuff, I know how to deal with all of it, you know, sort of, but now when you get Juno's and people like that, who sort of, you know, tells you to go and reinvent yourself and all of those sorts of things. What do you mean? happy with the old ancient Thank you very much, Jenna. [02:37:59] And get a new one for. [02:38:08] There have been a number of instances where there have been either documentary films made about you. There's been a biopic, but there's also been your autobiography? Why was it important for you to have your story out there and to kind of keep telling your story. [02:38:27] The book came about the book is called a change for the beta, written by Kathy Casey and myself. And it came about, I was approached by Random House to consider writing a book about my life, as I was coming up to the 1998, mirror local body elections. And [02:38:53] so [02:38:55] I agreed to do one sort of of a sort of reluctant because I've never written a before. But this colleague of mine, Kathy Casey is now an open city counselor. But at that time, she was a South water river district counselor. So we were council colleagues. And she did part time journalism, as well as being a teacher. And and when Random House asked me if I would consider having a book written about my life, I said, but I'm no author, I can't write I don't want to do it. And so they would provide me with with a writer, and this I knew of someone, myself and my son, Kathy, and isn't, that's how it came about. And essentially, all that happened was Kathy turned up with a tape, a tape recorder. And I just sat down, and we just talked, and she transcribed what I said. And virtually verbatim, the book is that conversation, it didn't have any editing done, totally submitted the draft terrain house, except for punctuation, spelling, and stuff like that. It was fine. And so it got printed the way it was done. And that's how that got done. I got published, of course, when it was realized that I was going to run out and the bookings, as I'm about to heat them to the 1998 mayoral election. So I had no idea what the result would be by the time the book was, you know, finishes comes to an end. And but of course, what happened was I didn't get reelected my majority was huge. And and then Parliament subsequently happened in 99. And the book was published and went out on the shelves and 99 heading into that so obviously, the publishing companies that have timed that to go along with the consequential publicity around my election campaign and got published I can remember Baba name, but one reasonably senior labor in paid who was to become a minister. Later I can remember her saying to me wonder what the hell are you doing publishing a book now to be terrible? Oh, God, the hassles you'll get from us. Because I tell story and all of this kind of thing that it's going to, you know, be a terrible blight, you know, blush on my copy paid time. Of course, it was absolutely contrary the results opposite happened. And so that was how the book came about. And like I said, ins, just prior to the 1998 election, and and is now another book to be tongue, because what happened after that as a book on itself. That's how the book came about the documentary that I think aired in about 2002. was made. It's called Georgie girl and say CMT minute documentary, made by and Golson occasional film productions. And, and she approached me, just out of the blue, I have never met her in my life, I didn't know she was. And now I was empowerment. And I think she came to me in about 2001 or something and said, you know, would you be low, she can do it in 2018. And not long after I got leaked, and asked that I said, No, sir, I was too busy adjusting to my new work life, and I didn't need to have a fly on the wall, you know, documentary crew running around with me, and so delighted to when I was ready. And then, because I didn't know her, not that I didn't like her or anything, but I just know her. And felt a lot more comfortable when we're able to bring Peter wells on board. And so he's sort of CO directed with her, and on it, and that's how Georgia bill got made, and did very well for she's one for five. So International, Best Documentary awards for Georgia girl. And that was virtually a title or was a fairly open telling story about me. And [02:43:15] the advantages of those kinds of doing that kind of thing is that why don't stop stuff is documented. And it provides some concrete, hard copy, I suppose for other people to utilize. And I will say that, you know, the Georgia sorry, the change of the beta book, in most libraries, and it's been translated into Chinese some, you know, got three reprints quite well, don't make me any money or anything. And that's what it was about. But that was dead. And just a little snapshot of a period of time, peace of our social history, and the Georgia bill drop, oh, really just, you know, now officially, Dr. Some, you know, a lot of stuff. That said, I wasn't sort of a, you know, I didn't go out pursuing those things. I just sort of came to me and [02:44:13] and I participated. And [02:44:14] do you ever get tired of telling your story? [02:44:19] Is, [02:44:22] is I guess? [02:44:25] And, you know, of course, you know, is just becoming like a broken record. Sometimes you feel like you're just repeating stuff, you'll sit 1000 times before, you know, why does somebody asked something different? Because there's, you know, 1000 things that could tell you that exactly what I've just told you now, but but I think as long as people are interested, they're not sort of incumbent upon me to regurgitate it, and to bring it up again. You know, that's what people are interested in. I'm pretty sure now that most of the doctors, you know, it's staffers documented, because it moves beyond just being a curious human interest story into now. historical fact, some of us, you know, that's happened from a very narrow, historical perspective, I suppose. But it's there, and primarily politics, but also social politics. And, and also, you know, yeah, just the color of our world. Literally, part of I'm a pixel on it. [02:45:37] Earlier on you were you were saying that you were speaking at international conferences. But I've been to a number of things in Wilmington, where you have been mentioned and with with much love, but you haven't attended things like the Human Rights conference at the Art games a couple of years ago, and the recent marriage equality conference, are you speaking in New Zealand? At kind of queer events? No, [02:46:03] no, I don't get asked. I didn't get asked to either of those things that you have mentioned, not the Outgames conference, and nor the conference on marriage equality. [02:46:16] And [02:46:21] I don't know why that you know, but perhaps it's Georgian, or overkill. And, you know, [02:46:29] I'm not offended by it, I may [02:46:33] not have been asked to come along. And, you know, just say a few words or whatever, because that's usually been the auspices under which I've gone overseas to speak at other big huge conferences, you know, and things was because of this New Zealand experience, but I think probably a museum or but either me now. And not only that, there's a new generation of political activism going on for the younger generation, many of whom, [02:47:00] unfortunately, do not have a comprehensive memory of our very recent history. [02:47:09] And they know of events that have happened, but they don't necessarily know of people who did it. And I guess I might be falling into that category. And now that there are other, it's those of us who have gone before before have laid the groundwork. Now, for those who are the spokes people, and who being pushed forward to be the advocate center stand up and, and the organization stood. And I think people like me sometimes have got to know when to stand back and make that happen. And if they need you, and if they want to, and then they, and they, and if they know you're available, and you're there, you're there for them. But otherwise, you've got to let the baby go. You got to let them do it for themselves. Because, yeah, and I think that's sort of what's happening are, you know, and usually, those things, you've got a whole lot of people and keynote speakers are getting up and parroting the same thing, just using different lingo, you know, essentially on the same message, so it's a bit repetitive, you know, and it seems to the, but I'm gonna let them sort of, you'd like to think that they would want to seek the advice of the likes of me or others. They've been there and done it purely from an advice point of view, you know, how do we go about doing this? How do we mobilize? How do we strategize? How do we get together a collective, a diverse, but a route a group to act collectively, to move forward on a particular matter? The substance minutes, you know, marriage equality, you know, on those things, and I think there's a growing displacement and LGBT community where, you know, they're becoming more focused on the particular issues again, you know, marriage equality thing, I think, as a double compared to what's gone beforehand, to lay the groundwork to provide the leverage that marriage equality becomes really not a huge as not as hugely, you know, we didn't see a decently church march into parliament yet. But I know of, you know, yes, there's been a bit of, you know, comment and a bit of negativity, but it's nowhere near the volume that has been passed. And, and some nowhere near as devastating because of, you know, I think, by and large, a large proportion of the general population over it, you know, and [02:49:47] so what are some of the things that you think, are still currently affecting kind of rainbow communities in New Zealand? [02:49:56] Well, [02:49:59] the legislative budget, practically sign up, [02:50:04] marriage equality gets through the next step taken care of, it will come with the adoption issue, obviously, as another one of the majors, then I think, it's got to come down to access to health, social and educational, all the other issues that every single other New Zealander has an interest in, we always have had an interest in those things. You know, because we are citizens as well, and are entitled to access to all of those sorts of things. Some of them are going to push the boundaries of but again, like, you know, people will be horrified, you know, there is a little bit of miniscule funding available for sexual reassignment surgery in this country. Certainly not enough is this dreadful situation of transgender people and the correction system. And in our own, and other things like that, that need to be more forcefully enforced, now, you know, to be concentrated, but, you know, for the bomb to metals like that, [02:51:12] but I think the the heavy [02:51:18] legal framework issues and just about all being [02:51:23] tied it up. [02:51:25] What about in terms of societal change society, [02:51:28] it's like I said before, society's attitudes take generations to change, Laura's easy to change, relatively speaking. But the attitudinal change is improving vastly from what it has even in my lifetime, and certainly within the last 20 years, certainly some time and sexual Law Reform 25 years plus ago. [02:51:49] And social attitude has softened. [02:51:53] You cannot accept, just to be tolerated, we must be accepted, not just tolerated. You know, your tolerate a whinge and dog, you know, you get tolerate a squealing kit. You know, you just don't know we don't want to be tolerated anymore. The levels of tolerance that society can take it Excuse me, I'm human being. And I'm a citizen of this country. And we're tax payers. And generally law abiding, I expect exactly the same treatment as any other New Zealand citizen receives, don't have to go over how my passport looks because I happen to be a transgender person, I don't want to have to, you know, put up with the ignominy of in court having my Butch name called out because that's how I was once known as when I have for legal reasons, and legally forever been display. I was outraged privately, when a family of a transgender person who died in a plane crash in the south of Ireland was paid the indignity of being buried as a man. I mean, you know, a normal want to defend her for that, you know, for that happening because of the family's decision over how they were going to deal with that. Let's see those kinds of things. That's about an attitudinal change that there's deep Caesars, and a very hard to just change overnight, it takes time, and takes, you know, I think we've got to cut out a generation is a die off for that, for that to become less of an issue. So you look to the younger generation to the children of today, who by and large, are holding more softer views on these issues than my contemporaries, or your contemporaries. And those of our generation out of the baby boomer generation. And once we get over the baby boomer generation, and those sort of attitudes was saddened to see and not just about LGBT issues, but over a whole lot of other social issues will change over time, but it does, attitude takes time to change. And it will only change if the question contribution that we as a significant minority in this country, continue to prove that we can work and participate in our society alongside everybody else making exactly the same contributions. We work, we pay tax, we raise children, we have families, we maintain law and order, and all of those kinds of things. And there should be no no discrimination, no difference between what we are entitled to as citizens as anyone else. And [02:54:35] that might challenge your moral issues as, again, [02:54:42] the problem that we live with, and and that is what we're trying to the chain, you know, we're trying to alter [02:54:52] that I know I want to use the word, we are not looking for forgiveness here, there is nothing to forgive. [02:55:01] Let's get that straight to begin with. [02:55:06] And so, you know, if we're going to put it through a legislative thing on it, you know, Christianity has got a hell of a lot to answer for, and the misery its roof across, you know, upon some people's lives because of belief and faith. And I think it does a disservice to the true sense, my view of what Christian goodness was meant to be when some have have skewed religious to mean certain things that exclude others, or dominate others, or, you know, makes us out to be the bad guys in you know, most of the rapists in this world and not gay and it's erroneous, and, and and completely wrong. I mean, this whole idea that that has been proffered bad since all by government, Africa, that to have same sex marriage, might promulgation the future, more criminal children. I can remember having an argument with with Graham Capel, who was then the leader of the Christian heritage party, and the 1990s and 1996 Actually, I was mayor of Carlton and Parliament had passed the booths marriages Registration Act, and and it included the post operative transsexuals could have secret certificate that would have them deemed as female or in their reassigned gender. And he got on the TV and was all outraged about their next thing, and I'd be wanting to adopt children and have families and my argument to him was watch, you're denying that I should be allowed. You know, that people like me and others, you know, shouldn't be able to raise families and things it was know that that man was to be done a few years later for paedophilia. and India, we are upstanding, solid member of our community, preaching at me and others like me, you know, to the nation trying to suck us all and that he's the good pious person and turns out and heaven, we found out how many of those solid Cornerstone upstanding figures in our society have turned out to be some of the most heinous sexual abusers around as we've seen in recent history, so the hypocrisy as a means and [02:57:36] you know, [02:57:39] again, you know, attitudes [02:57:42] have got to change. We're not all like that. And I'm as you know, outraged by those kinds of crimes as anyone else. But to deny me or any of my communities, you know, the gay community or whatever the right to have family. Emily is so different these days. Jean definition, you got bling, you got all sorts of families. And you tell me if anyone's more or less disadvantaged by having two loving parents who may be of the same six raising children, as opposed to a struggling solo parent, trying to raise children? I mean, why do you tell me that they're all criminals to have, but they're all some moral degenerate, some maybe fails, as Michael Moore's Law likes to call them, but not all on, you know, like that good God, john key managed to be raised on a low income poverty, you know, lived in the state house and so on and so forth. And all of that, and he turned out all right. [02:58:46] You know, Paul have been, you know, nearly as shining star solid mom managed to Cramer off the old text power, the, the advantages, she got on a benefit, and as soon as she becomes the minister wipes up Shana hypocrisy, it's called, you know, double standards cannot, it's [02:59:07] it's incredible. [02:59:10] But we'll get there. [02:59:13] It'll change it, you know, [02:59:16] I'm glad that there was a [02:59:19] young generation now may be getting a second generation now of LGBT people who are living in a much nicer world and kind of world More, more, these forgiving world and many respects, than what I experienced, or what my, those have gone before me experience. And that says should be, I mean, what, what's the whole point when you find yourself thrust into the limelight or the spotlight, whatever, when you're in a unique position to somehow help let change to occur. That if they forget, the young ones, these days, forget the rebuttal don't pay quite the respect and acknowledgement of the previous seasons, that's fine. You know, Far be it from idiot and bitchy about stuff like this, you know, as long as they were just, you know, being becoming the positive role models that we need to perpetuate, you know, into the future, that we can all work pretty much, and what we have a sphere we wish to go into, and be who we are. You know, it was 50 years ago, and a little bit more, where I mean, particularly, just could never come out for my risk, the livelihood risk their, about their freedom, you know, they could have been arrested chapter in jail. [03:00:52] You know, [03:00:54] that's all pretty quick, really, in the scheme of things. [03:01:00] Who you look up to, who do you admire? inspired by [03:01:11] God? [03:01:17] Well, obviously, the upholders of human rights and civil rights, I mean, you know, the Martin Luther King's of this world, the JFK is, you know, all of those kinds of global figures. And from a multicultural perspective, I think, you know, to for diorama my people like that. [03:01:38] And [03:01:43] people who just sort [03:01:44] of pushed the boundaries a little bit who didn't pitch even without knowing it, certainly, in my own sphere, the likes of Chrissy Whittaker and Carmen and, and all the other trannies who were doing the Drake shows and hit to run between the clubs and means clothes and all of that kind of thing. You know, they didn't know they were just doing what they had to do. But each little step provided a platform eventually. So that, you know, a decade or two later, someone like me happens along and things happen, because, you know, attitudes and visibility has been there, visibility is quite important. And I guess my experience has been a big value. [03:02:29] For our scene, that's the visibility that that's provided. [03:02:34] And that wasn't a character tour was a real real, a real situation, it wasn't just a [03:02:45] entertainment value, it was something more serious than that. And, and there's a public record of achievement, too. And I just don't mean elections and things. But, you know, stuff done that, despite the hullabaloo that happens around the media and the sort of, but you know, you can reflect as a symbol for you can reflect back on how I've been written up and talked about, and my my willingness, I have to be a some culpability here, because I have participated. And all of that exposure, I didn't need to shut the door at certain points and kept it [03:03:20] and kept it [03:03:21] contained on a better term. But that would only probably inspire the scrutiny is even more wanting to get into it. Because anything that so I've thrown it all out there, [03:03:33] and a mirror speaks, it's diffused, and diluted, in a potential for a great [03:03:41] sensational explosion of something that could be quite devastating on a career. If I ever have I had kept secret that I was a transsexual, and if I hadn't been been successful in my political pursuits, as it turned out to be, but there was a secret. Nobody knew. [03:04:02] Well, given my backstory [03:04:03] on the street scene, and and the scene anyhow, how on earth could they couldn't have got on [03:04:10] national television? And I'm sure all know, and the straight lady, [03:04:13] you know, oh, no, I'm hooked him married and have children one day, and play this whole facade of being out of the drop of a head, just like that. [03:04:21] And no point and living a [03:04:25] lie. Why would you want to live a lie, shouldn't have to live a lie, didn't have to live a lie. And for me, that was hugely liberating. And that's been hugely liberating for all of those that have been able to be out to be who they are, and what ever walk of life, they have chosen whatever path they have chosen to, or to be who they are much, much happier people, you know, to be [03:04:53] who I know, it's [03:04:53] not a secret, you know, him behind this thing. It's like, you know, my mother's zero, whatever to have been a solo mother and pregnant was show us shoved away for nine months and Boondocks somewhere to him, the baby secretly, and, you know, all of that horrible, horrible stuff that used to happen with alienation. And [03:05:13] so there's [03:05:16] been, you know, relatively important factor and [03:05:21] some of the [03:05:23] hullabaloo that surround surrounded me, I'm has been now it's all over, you know, it's a, you know, that's all sort of put to be, I suppose, in that respect, and that's fine. Because the next, the next generation have come along to assume the main tools as it should be. And that's our responsibility as the older generation to hold the hand out, to help them through and to bring them through, you know, we can't get all selfish and got a control our own [03:06:00] you know, just leave it up to them. You know, if they require, you know, if they need it, [03:06:06] they want him back to that thing about the conferences and, and stuff like that now, here in New Zealand? Well, you know, I was pretty overexposed during my time on public office. And so doesn't surprise me that they move on to the new ones that are coming through, I'll be very interested to know who the next transsexual to be elected, [03:06:23] Parliament's going to be. And [03:06:27] and just on that, [03:06:31] I think that, you know, I might not have been able to do what I've done if I hadn't been for a major political party, even though I was reluctant to begin with her major political party wasn't happy for me to be under the banner, so to speak. So [03:06:54] that was sort of helpful in terms of [03:06:57] because it wasn't like, I just came in on some fringe under parliament on, you know, the greens, they might have expected me to be in the Green Party or something, you know, possibly would. But that was a party that was going to hold government. And I served on a government not just on a panel and, and that was sort of a different experience from someone. I mean, I can proudly say that all I ever knew in my parliamentary life was being in government, I was never on the opposition. Not many in peace concern is not an underpowered and out of Parliament. But Minaj relatively claim, [03:07:36] at least I got to make a valedictory speech. [03:07:39] Not everybody else did. Sydney not touch I thought it failed. [03:07:46] Maybe just finally, I saw a piece from the New Zealand Herald and 19 and 2005. And it was five things I've learned so far. And I'm thinking Can I read these back to you and I God [03:08:00] is okay. [03:08:02] On the backside sometime, but the real trouble with speeches [03:08:06] off the top of the head. Really cool things? And the five things that you noted down word, one be who you are? Yes. [03:08:16] Stand by the edge. I have been. [03:08:21] And you continue to me, which is is incredibly I have so much admiration. See challenges as opportunities? [03:08:29] Yes. Yeah. Because [03:08:34] otherwise, it gets you down. That goes [03:08:36] back to my sort of some of the reflections I had on suicide and, and, and bad things that have happened to you, you can walk around with a chip on your shoulder all your life, or else you can, you know, meet the challenge and sort of know, I'm, [03:08:50] there's something better than that, you know, and I should have a garden. [03:08:57] Don't dispose of past experiences. [03:08:59] Now don't [03:09:00] despise the past experiences at all. You know that history. [03:09:07] For better or for worse as your makeup. [03:09:09] That's what makes you who you are. [03:09:13] what sustains you, until now, I'm not saying live in the past, or wallow in us, where it's anything but just as I as America, you know, provides points of reference. [03:09:28] be up front? [03:09:30] I'll for sure. Well, in my life, that's definitely been an advantage. Some I think it's been a disadvantage. And even though you know, some good service, I will look at the results of it. Like right now, what I'm hitting a button I be [03:09:49] in the final one was believing what you say but think before you say it, hmm. [03:09:55] Are there were pretty sensible, I thought those [03:10:01] III Think before you say something sometimes because you know, you don't want to unnecessarily [03:10:07] stomp on other people's manner. [03:10:10] You know, or at least agree to disagree, you know, on some things. I mean, [03:10:18] I don't like a lot of the doctrinal attitudes of the Brian tag is of this world, or the Garth mcvicar's of this world, or the cross-breeds of this world, those who have a different view, but I'll defend their right to say it. And I prefer to see, I bought, you know, look in the eyes of my enemy, rather than those that work subversively out of sight by the exclusive breather and five election. Should I like to look into the face of awesome and [03:10:54] you know, carried on this so? [03:11:00] Well, thank you so much. I mean, we've been talking for I think about two and a half hours. Goes goes very fast. But um, look, I think [03:11:09] you asked everything you wanted to know. [03:11:10] No. [03:11:14] No, [03:11:15] some of the visa. [03:11:19] There were a lot of ground. It's been it's been great. But um, yeah. Thank you so much. Because I think a whole lot of people out there that really admire what you've done and who you are. And just seeing you in Parliament. I mean, does the symbolic nature of it gives so many people hope. [03:11:40] But did they feel the same way with Chris and with Tom and with Marion and with Charles and will grant and Marilyn wearing, of course, she's revered in that regard, because of her experience, which is incredible. And, you know, many others. For the transgender world, yes. But I think Apart from that, I'm not so special. [03:12:09] I think people just enjoyed [03:12:13] at the time, the whole spectacle of unconventional politician arriving on the national stage, and then the international stage legitimately, plainly, she's not the stereotypical [03:12:36] training. [03:12:38] I mean, she has been, you know, and all of it and there was just a whole lot of elements of that gave people [03:12:47] more rather than, you know, more people [03:12:50] rather than not [03:12:53] a sense of I, you know, [03:12:55] I feel good about this. I don't feel badly about [03:12:58] gramma. Some kind of sort of underdog bit left from struggle straight did well, just a pinch of phrase of john banks. [03:13:10] That I was mayor of his hometown makes me happy. [03:13:16] Yeah, I mean, I kind of think it was actually for me personally, that, you know, I we have a strong person that knows who they are, that is doing the right thing. And actually, I I really admire them. [03:13:31] Thank you.

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