Chris Carter - Rainbow Voices of Aotearoa New Zealand

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[00:00:00] Hi, my name is Chris Carter. I was honored to be the first out gay MP in the New Zealand parliament. I came out in 1994 when I was a new MP, elected for the constituency of Tiana to a very working class district in West Auckland. Over the 18 years that I said that Parliament I saw a huge transition from being the first which generated a lot of both praise and, and hostility to and a lot of media interest to out gay MPs that the New Zealand Parliament now being no big deal just part of recognized as part of the normal diversity of New Zealand society. I was really pleased to be joined later in the Parliament by my very good friend Georgina via and New Zealand's first and then the world's first transsexual MP. And also my colleague to Labour Party colleague Tim Bennett, the MP for Christchurch Central. The three of us were a formidable rainbow team. He parliament and we still had a number of very reactionary and conservative MPs, primarily in the opposition, but also a few of them in our own party as well. But over time that changed. You know, john banks was my greatest critic. When I was elected. He was police Minister and I was an opposition MP. Later I became the Minister of local government, and he was the mayor of Auckland. When he left that marathon, he said to me, Chris, getting to know you changed my opinion about gays. And it made me a much more accepting person. And I guess the message for all of us in those comments from john banks, that by engaging in the community by not being in the closet by being out, we shine light on the fact that the queer community is everywhere in our country, and it's part of our country. And I think that by engaging with people, you create feelings of understanding feelings of brotherhood sisterhood and I'm really proud that I was the first outgained p&l parliament. And I'm really glad there are many more that followed me. You know, there were many incidents and my career as an MP, and I'm sure my colleagues, Georgina Barton Barnett and others can also attest to the fact that being out and being in a prominent position as an MP, it gives you the chance to give the voice to people who felt they had no voice. When I was a government minister, as Minister of housing at the time, I was in Australia and a young I met a young New Zealand woman in a bar there and she said to me, You saved my life. And I said, How could that be? I've never met you before. And she said, You were my local MP. You came to my school during price giving and I was struggling with my sexuality. I had very religious parents. And I've been considering suicide and she said, I watched you on the stage all night, and you were the big man, you were being honored by everybody. You are a local MP and you're a government minister. And I thought afterwards if it's okay for Chris Carter, it's so For me, that was just one story. But it had a huge impact on me. I thought of all of the hostility that I endured as the first out gay MP. All of that was worth it just for that story alone where that young woman said that I prevented her from committing suicide, and that affected me a lot and maybe very proud.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.