Ruth Busch profile
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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. [00:00:05] Okay, well, I was born in the Bronx and New York and 1944. And if it's kind of an out of it doesn't exist anymore that area because of a subset of Jewish neighborhood. I read recently that one out of every two people in the Bronx at the time I was growing up was Jewish. And it was like that. Like all the Jewish holidays were observed, and you couldn't buy bread, for Passover, you know, all the storekeepers were Jewish. I mean, the other the non Jews just had the Jewish. And it made for interesting things with the few non Jews like we used to play Monopoly for the best religion, right, and things like that, you know, they were high stakes. But yeah, and so they were proof of stake various of Holocaust. And I was the American born when in my family, my brothers had been born in Europe and brought with my mother in December 1938, and, but then everyone in their family, all my grandparents, and, you know, aunts, and uncles, and people, I don't even know their names. They were all murdered at Auschwitz. And think that had a certain kind of [00:01:34] significant effect on my life. Firstly, I grew up with people who just you, they lived life and death all the time, every second of their lives, you just tend to when they said, Go, you had to go. And so if you tended to pause and say, Well, I didn't [00:01:52] make sense to me, [00:01:53] it was not an allowable statement, you just had to listen. And it was very, there was a tremendous amount of anxiety. Nobody helped them, you know, they just had to live with those losses. And [00:02:12] we were the only non consequential targets that they could take that out on [00:02:19] all that anger, that they couldn't get in touch with them, and then go to work, and earn money and feed their family brother. [00:02:31] So it was an interesting place to grow up the I have two brothers, one of whom [00:02:40] they were born in Europe, and definitely that seared their consciousness, especially my brother, see, who's the middle one who just, you know, he's a kind of high achieving sincere. [00:02:58] I say that endearing. [00:03:02] I've gotten to like it. [00:03:06] But I still don't trust it. [00:03:07] And we're both drunk [00:03:09] together. So and maybe everybody has a brother like that, or somebody here? [00:03:16] Do I grew up and you're really far quinto? And one of the things that I've done in New Zealand, I think, you know, is to become a comedian on legal issues, and combine a kind of New York humor, with [00:03:34] my anger, what happens in the legal system, especially for women and gays? And so, there's a lot of my family that has to do with that. My, my brother, he, we grew up with a question, why didn't the Jews fight back? Everyone else in the room would have done that we didn't do it. What the fuck is wrong with that? My brother decided he would answer the question, you know, by just by putting everybody in their place. And the trouble is, [00:04:09] as the youngest in the family, he had to perfect some [00:04:12] of his tactics before he took it to the street. And, you know, I was leader, [00:04:19] again, as a totally consequence free target of whatever he was trying to learn that week. So yeah, there was a lot of that kind of, I was saying, so I've worked on domestic violence issues, like, I was interested in there, you know, and went out. [00:04:39] I was getting an award and the role of these judges there and everything [00:04:43] in it brings out the worst of me. I mean, I'd be home a dog to be a juvenile delinquent. You know, I, because I took that issue in and my mother believed we all grew up with binaries hot and cold, black and white, in my family was Jewish, not Jewish. That was the first question, you know, [00:05:03] anyway, but she never question male, female. [00:05:08] And I just took it to a new height, you know, like, [00:05:13] I went beyond her binaries. [00:05:16] And she is my first level was a doctor, but not Jewish, and woman. And, you know, I [00:05:23] said that you always want to be a doctor, you know, but really, there was see where Anyway, it was funny just to do that, but [00:05:33] one time, I was getting this award for domestic phone something rather, and you're one of these really, you know, kind of judges etc, where they are. And it as I said, it brings out the worst in me. And [00:05:49] I, I got up and it's sort of like they, they do this bio, it's like a eulogy, you know, so in some ways, you do have to fight back because [00:05:58] you think you're dead. Right. And [00:06:02] at some point, I said, You know, I feel just like Grace Kelly, you know, winning for the country, girl, I want to give my acceptance speech. Every woman has an acceptance speech. I just want to thank my father, who knocked me around about a million times and gave me an interest in this topic. You know, like Spielberg he got a brand new Hawkeye when he was 11. And that's what made him whenever I had an interest in this topic developed it just wasn't [00:06:33] a brand new guy. [00:06:36] And so, you know, my brother, my husband, you know, thanks for taking these things to ignore. [00:06:44] I think it's important to stress that I'm not a lesbian because I don't like man, I have two sons. I adore men. I've always had a guy even my I have I hate to admit this, but here we said the student I adore in class you know, I don't think I treated unfairly but there's usually somebody there and it's always a young [00:07:04] man of a certain age so you know find [00:07:09] you know just so story or so people would think I only favorite the women [00:07:15] and I guess it's because of my sons you know, I I don't see them very much and [00:07:22] I miss them so I kind of you find these guys who radiate this chemistry or something and I am quite another harass have just come to the complete anyway. So yeah, that's how I grew up I grew up in it was scary, some of it because like, I was telling someone recently that we grew up in a five storey apartment building in the Bronx, and like, we had a giant furnace in the basement. And I wouldn't go there during hiding seek Priscilla sake, we had a predicament worrying right in our basement. It was like everything was unreal, there was this world that you went to school, you did well, at school, you did all the stuff. And but this real thing, and somehow contain the crematory basement, and it just really molded my life. And I think one last thing before you come in, I didn't have as many privileges as some of the other people like, you know, I went to university with women who'd been to prep school, it was a lot for them to come out. They had a lot of a long way to fall. You know, my family, we were on to mention from the beginning, we were subhuman in some definition. by society. I could be anyone I wanted [00:08:55] to terrible thing, but that's one of the freedoms. [00:08:59] It was a privileged to grow up with them, despite all the things that we can say, because you had her first day they had their own idealism, and to see that people could maintain that in the face of what they went through, was extraordinary and very life affirming. They also believed in seize the day, you know, like you didn't know about what's going to happen. I I've often said, you know, one of the worst things of that growing up in our family is that you don't save, you [00:09:31] know, [00:09:32] like, why to die with money. That would be the worst, right? So I mean, you don't spend anything and everything and just live. You know, my mother used to say, just grab live. And so I did and being in diapers, [00:09:52] I went to a Janis Joplin sing, just chefs before she died, I went with my husband, I was married, I had to chill. I may, I think I only had two children, then Jeremy wasn't born yet. And she was drinking up there. And at some point, she said it was raining. And she said, Don't let me die in New Haven, Connecticut, you know, like, get electrocuted through all of this, you know, [00:10:27] electricity and wires, and don't let me die in New Haven, Connecticut, and looks at the sky. And [00:10:35] don't let me die in New Haven, Connecticut. [00:10:40] Until I came out and said, [00:10:46] Can you describe for me what it was like growing up? When all of your family history is somewhere else? and Europe? how did how did you find a sense of place? [00:11:00] That's an interesting question. I was a medieval history major. And partly because I thought there was a kind of, you know, as in the States, we do an undergraduate degree. And then I went to law school. So I majored in medieval history for exactly for looking and my whole search has been for a place and look at this. I mean, here, I, I moved. I was born in the Bronx, I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, I lived there for 10 years, I came in New Zealand, I've been here for 25 years. I know how to migrate. Because that that involves a certain skill, being able to relocate and the only travel with my family's they kept thinking they'd have to relocate, you know, immediately and kept waiting to see when I was until they were quite hyper vigilant. But for me, I've learned that had a move and but my search has always been like, you know, when life is really changed. So things like Google Map existed in my life when you know, you may think that when I first came to New Zealand, it took 10 days for letter to get to, to New York, and then 10 days to come back who even remembered what you've written. In that time. The answers were so if it was $3 a minute, and that was even cheaper. But at one point, I remember I had a long term relationship [00:12:34] with a woman in Montreal, [00:12:36] I could have gone to Montreal for the phone calls [00:12:39] every month, you know, it was stupid. [00:12:45] I guess everybody who said those relationships, those it would be a lot cheaper. But I [00:12:55] think that I just I used to hundred the net is changed my life, my ability to live here in the sound of people's voices, I listened to WN yc. Every day I do the New York Times crossword puzzle life is easier. One time when I first came here, I saw a copy on a Wellington Street of the three week old Sunday, New York Times they wanted $29 toward Even now I couldn't do it. I couldn't buy it. It was just too big. Like that. But so now this Sunday, go Google Map. And [00:13:35] the first time I looked up their town [00:13:40] and actually saw that there was a place really cool that that it had a red dot next to this name. It's like, I couldn't even believe it. It was like [00:13:56] I always stood it was sending out of Chicago, you know, like [00:14:02] Fiddler on the Roof. You know, like some imaginary. It was a place that was scary that had lots of questions. I didn't learn my father's mother's name, my paternal grandmother's name till I was 46 years old. [00:14:20] You know, you think I never asked. [00:14:24] And [00:14:26] my mother would say, oh, Ruthie such a long time ago, who couldn't remember these things. And what I realized over time, as it was like Lot's wife, she had to keep looking forward. If she turned back, if any of them look backward, they would have died from the tears turned to salt. And that was the lesson to us was to keep going. When I saw there was a place. [00:15:01] I couldn't believe it. And then, you know, whoever made Google Thank you. [00:15:09] My parents were married in 1935. But I'm Rabbi of Mongkok, known as the moon culture ribbit. And there's a video of him [00:15:22] on you can Google it. [00:15:27] And he's wearing this feral cap on his head. And he's saying in Yiddish which right? I understand, Chris, that's my first language. And he's shaking his finger. And he's telling them to obey the sharpest and keep it holy. And when I was reading my last work on domestic violence in this country, I'd already found him and I used him shaking his fingered me, as my screensaver. keep me going, you know, every time I do it, I could stop. [00:16:12] work. I had a stroke right after that. So I'm not saying but the calls were. But lots of times, when you grew up with my culture, you don't care about the cause you just kind of go for that. [00:16:25] You know, kick a field goal last three seconds, kind of moment. So I guess I'm still waiting to do that. [00:16:35] So as a child, when you asking questions like that, and just and you weren't getting answered, I mean, [00:16:43] like sometimes you did get answered, and that was worse. They were two ways they could be words, like, I was blonde and blue eyed. And my parents, my brothers were dark eyed and dorky. So rather than three years old, and I say to my mother was Did you know look everybody blonde, blonde, blue, like she said, shafted Ruthie, we didn't want you in the first place. Your father was making $9 a week we had, you know, [00:17:13] four mouths to feed it a little apartment and [00:17:17] when you learn not to have certain questions, go and seek consent. [00:17:22] We couldn't do it we would never have to do it didn't want to do it. So of course he didn't only mean that, you know, like, but you have to religious Jews aren't literal. Everything isn't arable. You know it all this lead flow rules that Mr. Olson and into can tell you that you don't we don't believe in any of that stuff. Anyway. [00:17:45] I want to a riff on Judeo Christian anything. But yeah, so one or two. And words really was that they could blurt out things that were terrifying. So you, you'd say you'd ask a question. And this happened just recently, because there was one photograph of my father's family. And I didn't know several, it would have been his brothers and sisters and their husband. I didn't know a lot of the people in the thing. So of course, I tell who was that. And you could get that from there, too. They put them into the oven. Some of them were alive in no time at all. And so the answers were, you know, I went through the thing about how Hansel and Gretel was a metaphor for my life, right? And their ideas that they put them in the up and the only thing they didn't do was spend them up. But they did. You know, I have a curtain that I found. There's something called Jewish jim.org. And it's like a genealogy thing. And you can type in like, a surname, and a shtetl, like a little town, and country. And that's the hardest, you have to type in the country. It's really and now like, my parents grew up and identified as check, but the word they grew up is now the Ukraine. So, you know, so you had to get Ukraine and you know, that all of that gets confusing, but you can take this threesome in, and if anybody else is looking for that same reason, they put you in contact, but it's amazing. And someone was looking. And it was my cousin Meyer that we didn't know how to live through the war, right? I mean, everybody got separated and things. And he was with him at Auschwitz as a teenager, and he lived, you know, Chris, they weren't granted up till June 44. And so, if you were lucky, and you know, then you could maybe live it was only a year more. I mean, and Frank at random, June 44 data type is they were unlucky. But it was that possibility of the living. And he did and he had been there and I couldn't believe it. Except for one phone lead with him. It was all by the net. And it would be hard work. I didn't have a home computer then. And I would be a wash [00:20:47] next door. I also broke that relationship before so they've heard a lot from me But anyway, but he said he told the story of it. Cuz I don't know nice in Japan, my paternal grandmother, and he had known her he was a teenager. [00:21:08] So I used to questioned you know, the question of where she died was the least important question I always knew that. He had didn't but for a long time, I knew she died it out but but what she was like to use a place of location but even what these people what would they have sort of a lesbian granddaughter, but do you think you know, like, [00:21:38] Carrie invited her mitochondrial genes You know, I've no idea [00:21:46] anything about her but he did know. And he said to me, firstly, I found it so moving. set these Jewish men they spoke English and they came on to the train cover when they got to Auschwitz. And they said to them, which was my family, give the children to the old women [00:22:13] and they couldn't understand what they were talking about. nessa know if the children to do [00:22:22] and it was a curse because they were going to kill the children they were going to kill the old women so the only chance that the young mothers had was to give the children to the old women I mean, it's so obvious they were helping them [00:22:44] times I wanted to pick up [00:22:52] against violence but see my brother cut right into that anger. That's what made him so [00:23:00] because [00:23:01] I can relate to [00:23:06] anyway, he said the last time he saw my grandmother, she was surrounded [00:23:13] grandchildren [00:23:16] I was already alive in the problems I am [00:23:23] to me to tell the story [00:23:27] in a way that people would listen [00:23:31] nobody's there yet no money [00:23:36] they were rock they never went to school. [00:23:44] And they certainly didn't serve summary executions. I became a lawyer [00:23:53] Chester's not [00:24:01] I everything I am [00:24:05] here from that, surrounded by her grand, you know, I'm watching [00:24:19] my children's job. [00:24:25] So [00:24:27] I think it was you invented a lot of things like because they were so violent. Like we didn't have a lock on air. PS going to be under no, you know, somebody antagonize my father bed. Something didn't [00:24:47] work the door. [00:24:50] That was stupid timing. You were never good at [00:24:53] this. So easy. We learned 10 of the canyon what the door was never go to Saturday live it. Anyway, Sarah, the [00:25:08] they were just [00:25:11] it was a different place to grow. But they also you know, they supported me I went into when I went into the civil rights, kind of stuck in the 60s. And my mother couldn't believe letting dogs loose on people in Birmingham, Alabama, you know, she just couldn't believe it. I've been you know, they had a sense. My father mentioned vote. As early before he went to work, he unloaded trucks before there were forklifts. It was my father, you know, in the Washington market in the Bronx, you know, just he was cheaper than buying a forklift, I'm sure that was that he did it in an indication. And we went about, you know, it's five in the morning or something soon as also for me, they were believers who are kind of so better we grew up to be to think, you know, when, when I first wrote a report in domestic violence in this country in 1992, I think it was published 93. And the Government Center, they report I have a copy of it here, they drew lines through it, which they didn't want to publish, to keep, like, the names of the judges, private and to take out some of the decisions that were just so misogynistic. [00:26:43] Me alone. [00:26:46] You shouldn't do that, to me, from the family that I come from. I had stories of women who had told me their lives and I had a responsibility. So I published to 1700. dollars and published 100 copies of the volume of my report with the lines through it. When I handed them out, I said, you literally have to read between the lines to figure out where we wanted to say, and of course, everyone flocked here, what the government and I used to read it to them at conferences and you know, it came right from me or right, like I've been entrusted with the stories and I was gonna know Dave was coming tell me I couldn't do [00:27:44] they used to say, Joe Graham and things he said, oh, they're breaching crown copyright Bubba by you know, I they're gonna put us in jail. You know, look at me, man. If they put us in jail, I'm gonna stop our free food. Urban, we had such a, I enjoyed playing with them. I've worked with this guy, never Roberts and he's just a wonderful man and needs about six feet tall. You know, it was really funny. Like, right, I was the former battered woman who wrote a bad battering from the very legal position. And never he was really seen as just a gender trader, you know, like, he wore it much worse than I did. I mean, I really love that guy. And I used to run behind him. He's still got, I used to do the gorilla runs run out, you know, [00:28:34] save these kind of crazy things, hopefully hurting their feelings, right. [00:28:43] I used to run back and then become used to say, We are the conscience and critical. Go, yeah, [00:28:51] that's right. Listen to a bitter, because [00:28:54] my whole sense of state power was they can kill you. [00:28:57] Right? We're still here. He grew up as [00:29:02] a farmer's son, you know, inheriting the farm. He, he had a sense of that they couldn't just do anything. And together, we were great money, Jeffrey, too, because he brought all this like, quality to do it all. [00:29:20] I'm wondering back in the Bronx growing up, I mean, did you find there was discrimination against you or your family. [00:29:30] And I went to a, I went on a full scholarship to a place called go to college, which was kind of like, no, women's was really a great place to go. And when, like they had, they didn't want to be they weren't Baltimore, they didn't want to be known as a Jewish school. Right? So they had a kind of quota and the number of Jews and it wasn't in the affirmative, action quote, or like, it was like, no more than that. I don't know. 15 or 20% can be Jewish, because otherwise it'll tip over and we'll have all so there was on that level of no merit, you know, I just love it when these people now so Pontifical, you know, they pontificating about just affirmative action, which I really believe in. [00:30:21] I mean, they've been exerting their own form of, you know, [00:30:26] negative action and gate keeping for so long, right? Just like women getting into the legal profession. Now, it's more than, you know, when I went into in law school, there were nine women in my class that have 218. And if you narrowed that to women who had children, because I had two children, when I went into law school, they would have been maybe three of us, you know, and when Sylvia Cartwright went to law school here in New Zealand, my understanding is that her criminal law professor refused to talk about rape, because he couldn't discuss an issue like that in front of women. [00:31:07] Like, it went along, right, you know, when I came to this country, the most shocking and under no images for gay [00:31:13] men here, but [00:31:14] you know, was, must be who come from overseas must be a riot, again, went to the War Memorial Museum and all of these famous Greek statues like black who now remember that bagels are, you know, they all have little feet leaves over their penises. And so, again, I just, I'd save the originals writer, the venture pub Museum of [00:31:38] organism to New York, and it was just wherever Florence, right. And it's [00:31:47] just that whole shame based. [00:31:53] You know, it's so different. [00:31:56] course I came here from Vancouver, no hundred was different. Everybody who couldn't live it anyplace else in Canada. [00:32:06] He had a pre selected and wonderful. [00:32:13] So what prompted you to get into law? [00:32:17] Well, firstly, by the time I went to law school, I really knew I had to get out of that marriage. You know, it was like maybe post Janis Joplin, you know, I mean, I just couldn't die there. [00:32:28] What? [00:32:31] Where do you see, I've had this and I don't know how many women have had this, I had this kind of baptism into look into adolescent lesbian ism when I was about 16. And I went away to university and I immediately fell in with these two guys right here, but much more sophisticated than me, they you know, they've been in resident in a, I forget what you call, but you know, they went to private school, and they slept over there and things and they and they checks for a second. [00:33:07] You know, I just was came as a babe in the woods, I've known saying they did bad things to me, but [00:33:12] because they didn't, and it was really good, but it was too scary. I was there in a full scholarship, we saw one teacher get thrown out for kind of making it without student on that library steps. You had to believe that she may be wanted to be thrown out and the student got thrown empty when anyway, they just couldn't have said I told my parents I was terminated for being a lesbian, they just murdered me. There was no like, that scholarship was my ticket out of a really violent family. And [00:33:48] I couldn't play with it. And [00:33:53] so I sort of got involved with the women I'm, I guess, of all the leverage I've had, it's a when I'm most ashamed of because I went away. Uh, you know, I went away to, like Prince of Christmas holiday and I I had tried to find the Wyndham to Greenwich Village, and I went looking for lesbians. But of course, I had no idea except for the pushiest images of what a lesbian might look like. Right. So, I mean, I could have been seeing hundreds of, I wouldn't have a clue because they had 10, you know, tattoos up and down their arms and mustaches for me to think they would be them. So I didn't see any and I didn't, that wasn't the image I was cultivating for myself at the moment. So I never taught her again, I just couldn't. I mean, I had a brother who went speak to shit out of me for coming home late from a date with a boy to a jazz festival, you know, he was waiting downstairs. [00:34:58] outside the building, and when I came out with the guy never called [00:35:03] that, you know, like my date, but [00:35:07] he just couldn't, they were, there seemed to be lined up. And I realized in some ways, there were lines, as soon as I gave my mother, [00:35:18] grandchildren, and Jewish grandchildren. [00:35:24] It wasn't, it wasn't nice. Maybe it's valuable a commodity, or at least I can have a bit more freedom that I do more like I was, I'd sort of done what I had to do. Next, I could go, though, the worst thing once with my mother, you know, eventually got at her bed, she got to the point of thinking I was crazy and still wish me well. Right. But [00:35:50] by coming out, but she never, you know, when? [00:35:55] Well, she never rooted for me when the relationship was in trouble. See, you know, every time I broke up with somebody, she thought maybe I'd [00:36:05] come back and, and I have a funny story about once. Almost a Not really, but wishes. But anyway, she said she loved my children. And I have to say that just before I did 93. So my son mark, it's about 46 by now. Right? have three kids. And she said to me, Ruthie, you did a good job with your children. And I just wept. I had never all along it was Are you crazy? What are you doing? You can go to school route, the ones the children finish high school, they need a mother and her own kind of stuff. You know, she told everybody she was proud of me as a lawyer, but I never heard that. It was like, Oh, you're not big. [00:37:00] She was a Jewish mother. But so one day, Jeremy. She said to June, Jeremy, she said, What do you want to be when you grow up? And he said, at age five, [00:37:12] and lesbian, right, at which point she because I was kind of in the midst of coming out everything was you know, this is paradise. This is the best. This is certainly all the dining room conversation. We [00:37:27] just thought it was great. All these women, it was so good in his life. Because [00:37:32] the women who didn't have children bringing these children in for them, you know that he was always successful and selling brownies. So he could go to [00:37:42] camp every day [00:37:44] in the heavens and bought dozens of them from him, you know, those those kids had done? I think they they had a loving life. And then they had that homophobia that they had to deal with. It was confusing, and hard. I didn't really understand until much later, how much shit especially Jeremy got from my being a dad. Like, I mean, maybe it's just as well plus, maybe I would have chosen differently. I certainly didn't expect my children to wear my choices. But kids, you know, they'll go for anything you know. And so that was so easy. So he used to like in one case, I wanted him to wear a helmet when he rode his bike before it was, you know, I mean, he's 38 now so you know, when he was about 15 or 16. And in the end, I realized because people told me that he would go ahead wearing his helmet, and then he take it off and go to school and everything right. And there was Chris David calling him a fag, because he was wearing the helmet. And that meant in his mother was a dog that he was a bag and clever flipper. And at some point, I said, Look, I've heard that you're not wearing your helmet. And if you're not going to you can ride your bike, which was printable means of transportation. He said, Well, I'm riding. And [00:39:16] this is too big, you know, I [00:39:18] thought, you know, like, what is going on, and I really didn't learn that he was being mercilessly teased for nothing, you know? Because, because of me, so, you know, I felt really bad. So I didn't have to worry so much luckily never killed himself. But you know how stupid these choices you know, and his first girlfriend, her mother was a lesbian. And somewhere he was away at sleepaway camp, and there was a discussion. And she had sort of said something that was less homophobic. And he'd heard it and they talked. And he told me like it, it's like, he realized they were lesbians, like her mother. And eventually, they all said it, but it was, but sometimes I wish because we've had a lot of things on lesbian children, we should really do that sort of intergenerational and listen to it wasn't as easy, you know, like, we'd like to tell the success stories. Because, of course, the world out there doesn't believe they exist, you know, and, yes, I have a son with a PhD, you know, every Sunday with the, you know, whatever. I forget what they're called now. But from, from the University of Chicago, he has a Masters of Business that were, you know, I have very high achieving children. And so for a long time, we needed just to prove that that our kids could achieve so that they wouldn't take them away from us. You know, I spent years when I was first a lawyer in Well, in 79, when I came out, for at least three or four years, every lunchtime, with my gay lawyer coordinator, Richard Brill, was to run my lesbian custody case, you know, who I would call but I will do, like, [00:41:18] and you see what I was with a basher, and he would have gotten [00:41:26] custody before I would have [00:41:30] been I don't think we can believe that now. But I know that Chris, I went to a conference in Canada, we were talking about a recognition of whatever same sex relationship for the legal coverage run by the upper Law Society of Canada. And when I talked about the kids, and this man, what happened? One of the law professors from Queens University came over and said, You know, I doubt whether they would have even allowed you to see those terms. So, I mean, as between Bader and a dyke, I mean, and not Not only that, but that was where I worked up as a lawyer. So outing myself within that workplace was really at that moment, quite scary. And fraught with retribution. I think so. And, you know, like, I went to a therapist, when I was first coming out this woman who was known as a feminist and who eventually came out. And at one point, she said to me, I was paying for this. At one point, she said to me, I don't think you're a lesbian, Bruce, you'd love your children too much. And it's like, [00:42:54] I didn't go back after that. I mean, [00:42:59] it was crazy, right? I was like, I guess all of that American Psychiatric stuff and everything but it was really only that a self destructed just became a drunk. [00:43:12] My husband that [00:43:15] that I felt my children nothing to do with that I was a reasonable mother on one of the first lawyers, you know, level of, you know, [00:43:26] it's just that he couldn't manage so I JN In fact, I brought them to this country. And on just when your permission, but he was into so self destruction by then, that I knew he would never come and get me. And like, even though and it was before the Hague Convention, he couldn't get them back to Canada. So once he signed consent for me to turn me over a year into this year with men, they weren't going to revoke their but now you couldn't do that run, you know? So it was crazy. So you run into situations like I actually married a guy would you like to say this? I didn't know he died. So I'll just to stay here and my lover. She married his lover. I mean, I thought a better I thought, you know, there was no money or anything was just a swap, you know, like we didn't have a double wedding. But we went up to the Alex, you know, when he was still on federal Street and lesbian pub, and we had a big celebration afterwards. It was quite crazy. But there was a year that nice year over time, but there was no way to stay here. Like the input sponsor a guy that she said she meant two months before who didn't speak English particularly. And you know, and who luckily could hide behind up some lovely man cut hide behind their own racial stereotypes so that they eat if he grinned at them. That was all the battered she could avoid been together for eight years. And she couldn't sponsor me to come to this country. And it was before they were giving those, you know, Brooke pieces and things. In Maryland, Mary went to see her and she just said, somebody get married. That's the only thing you can do. So yeah, I mean, just that kind of constant state interference or state lack of support. For sound University, just omnipresent. Plus, we all knew about the Sharon Kowalski case. And we all knew you know that. Anyway, it was probably after Stonewall, it was probably one of the first women in the mid 70s, late 70s. I can maybe even early 80s, Sharon Kowalski was a woman who had him I can't remember it members name, very long term lover who was, you know, physiotherapists or something. And Sharon Colossi was severely injured in a traffic accident. And her lover. It took years for, like her parents calls his parents board her lover from hospital, and she had to eventually be appointed a comma t. But that took many years. And it was like her parents, Sharon close, his parents preferred that their daughter be back warded, and zero rather than get better with her lover, right. And so there were these free Sharon Kowalski demonstrations all over, you know, the state, like, I mean, there was such a palpable, how you know, and we had cases here to have women who generated whose lovers were banned from the funerals whose parents came along and took everything or, you know, evicted. I mean, these were things we knew could happen, and there were very few remedies. So you'll like this for for a while, I decided, I didn't want to just work on domestic violence anymore. Social Work engages writing. And [00:47:23] so I, [00:47:26] I wrote an article and it's called, practicing down under, you know, gays and lesbians. And, you [00:47:33] know, love Did you know, what do we do? We stand under you [00:47:40] reminded me? Did you ever see [00:47:44] soap? Did you see it was a wonderful, Billy Crystal was in it. And he played a gay guy in it, who had fathered her child and was going for custody of that child. And the lawyer, you know, for the other side said, [00:48:01] Are you a practicing [00:48:03] homosexual? And he said, I do it. So well, I don't have to practice anymore, you know, and [00:48:12] so that's a practicing doctor. Yeah. [00:48:18] I like to make fun of it. [00:48:21] I like to know it. [00:48:25] You know, at my funeral, I want them to play Leonard Cohen singing, they sentenced me to 20 years of boredom. Trying to change the system from within [00:48:39] 40 [00:48:42] years is nothing. [00:48:47] I mean, there's more to it. [00:48:53] But you just need to act that [00:48:57] you need to put yourself into a [00:49:01] know, like you. It's a really interesting thing, I'm sure it's like what being a morally bicultural person in this society is, you know, you just you have to observe. Like, the guy and then I married No, I, we had to go to immigration, or the Labor Department or something in heaven interview to show that we were, you know, really married and not just gays and dogs trying to get into this country. And a friend of mine who had actually married a guy and they were legit Kappa. She did a briefing with us about things that they will do. Like, what kind of questions will come up and things like that and what you needed. Sort of to know, you know, people's birth dates, and just mean, that is really a price of homophobia, feeling your fucking gray matter with all this insane detail, just to pay as an immigration thing, because there's so homophobic that they won't see you as a real human being. You know, I mean, this is from the past. But it's not that long ago that you had to do things like that, you know, just leave clothes in someone's house. And I can't tell you how offensive that thing is when I married Oh, and the woman who married us came. barrel. Fletcher's has been had cheated on her. She wrote word burners and things. IU she gave me her husband, the ringer husband and given to her when he was being totally dishonest. I will use that ringtone to be married with you know, like, so we tried to do you know, I had to date maid of honor, you know, we tried to really do a play, but there was a part of it that was so morally bankrupt. And that was being foisted on us for no reason whatsoever, wherever you couldn't get away from, you know, that's what I feel about civil unions now. You know, so I'm a Jewish type, right? If we said that everyone could get married, but Jews, and Jews could only have civil unions, or everybody else could have civil unions to but Jews couldn't be married, they can only have civil unions, I would hope that they would be a mass outcry. It's just a kind of measurement of how much we tolerate a lack of human rights for gays that we don't go nuts about the idea of separate but equal, I mean, you know, loving in Virginia was 1968, I would have thought we could have learned a lot since then. And of course, now we'll get it because England is doing it, and everyone's doing it. So we don't say, you know, but that whole view that news, see is, you know, in that forefront of human rights, bullshit, you know, we may be worth some point women's suffrage in 1893. But the whole gay issue has been just, to me the worst compromise to create a separate category for gays and pretended equal, when we see all the time in the adoption issue, have a little Well, maybe they'll they'll change the two but that piecemeal changing, and the homophobia that was implicit in not putting the adoption Act in, for instance, not giving full marriage. I mean, I have the whole analysis of the recognition of oversee, which trouble you with but I mean, I think that's what will happen is everybody's been married and have everyone has been married in Canada or you know, the nantel into whatever will come and is that their marriages be recognized? And like, I would like to see it, we said marriage scenario. So I'd like to see a scenario where there are twins who marry, one marries like a woman and the other twin marries the opposite sex. And they both come back. They have a double wedding and they both come back to this country and ask for recognition. And we let the courts tell us why there's any different in the legitimacy of the relationship. I just I just think that just like I used to have this thing of marriage of like on the one domain and it become urban next to cummerbund and you know, strapless next to strapless and Kiri would say, No, promise me, you know, [00:53:53] I'm we'd all like the moon is getting married. [00:54:05] I thought a lot of these things new. [00:54:08] And I do think I'm getting old direct, I can see where you can acquire your career status and some more in three least five years that is so you can we do remember things. You know, just because we've lived. Like I remember, you won't care about this, the judge party I spoke out against mediation in terms of domestic violence in 1993. Over footnote, I intend to use that all the [00:54:37] absences. So bro, is a minimum accountability has to mean [00:54:45] what was it that made him change his mind like that, but I want to know, I want to hold [00:54:52] it. This is me as an idealist. Sorry, but [00:54:56] I'd like to get some answers finally, just like have certain things happen. And I'd like to bit of gentleness forever. So I you know, like, like, I loved it when, you know, in San Francisco that the first marriage went to, you know, the women important the daughters of the litas. And we have those accolades to give in our community, and I think I think it's time we really didn't worry that you know that. [00:55:32] You know, there are those people who should be the first or something like I think of, you know, Allison Dory, and those people who have worked so long and hard. And [00:55:43] luckily, I'm just demanding hearing I came late at night. I don't claim [00:55:53] to be to do have any issues with being a direct from from way back, way back when I once [00:56:00] got beaten up when I was a battle lip. And when I tried to shave some facial here in my mother getting into the bathroom, which didn't have a lot of [00:56:09] consumer. [00:56:13] And I think she knew something then and I didn't know. And I don't know I don't have the way I came back was really funny, or what happened was really funny. Like one day I get this call from my mother, who's in Florida. And suddenly, she lives in a condominium for all people in Florida. And she says to be Ruthie, she says I was standing in the middle of the pool, you know, and I started talking to somebody and I don't know what her name is, and I don't know what she was doing here. So I really with my mother, you have to start getting scared ready, you know? And she said, and [00:57:03] I said to her, I said, Where are you from? And she said, I'm from Vancouver. He said, Oh, I have a daughter. She lives in Vancouver. So she's [00:57:13] she says, Oh, that's very nice. I don't know where she's from. I don't know what her name is. So I said to her, do you know my daughter? And she said, I said your name? And her face? rose. [00:57:30] And Ruthie, she said to me, go to Vancouver and say your George's life. She runs around with a terrible group. And I think she's a lesbian. [00:57:49] I didn't know I didn't for four years after that. What are you kidding? She was crazy. She was just a riverboat. I subsequently found out that Peter, my former husband called dis compensation. And he invented gold everyone I knew to tell. [00:58:08] So, but that was a fun, it's gone to Vancouver and save your donors like I couldn't believe it. [00:58:19] So I don't remember, as a [00:58:23] Kenyan, we had things about lesbians wore purple on Thursdays. I don't know where that you know, in New York, I'd schools. But [00:58:34] I think it wasn't until I kind of fell in with these. And understood really, that they just took away your scholarship and threw you away if you [00:58:46] if you weren't tied, I just couldn't. [00:58:50] It was my ticket down. And [00:58:54] I couldn't avoid I couldn't you know, I I believe that everything goes off and luck. What if you're given a lucky deal? Yeah. You know, and so I threw myself into heterosexuality for until I was 33 years old, you know, so that's like, 17 years, you know. And that's pretty much how long I was married? Yes. Or at least with Peter for that period of time. Because he was my ticket out to there was a time that my brother, we will the three of us were walking someplace. And I was just dating Peter and my brother went to hit me presenting country and presenting random Phaedra and said, you know, you can do that, you know, she's going to be my wife, you know, and it was just like, your new book talk about sir gala it man, I would have followed that guy forever. I mean, it took a long time that I was with him for 14 years or something. Would you know, and nobody ever been able to say that you can do that. And I didn't realize it was a passing of right. It was a ritual that passed somehow the ability to, for instance, hit me, I didn't realize that. I just was blown away by the strength room. And you know, it's funny, because lots of times they think they go, that they had a battering for their battery brother. And then I had a husband who is a battery. And I just want to say really clearly, those men didn't look alike. They were never package the same. It isn't like somehow I'm drawn to men who are bad or it's, I'm not, I actually looked really different guys, Peter was a Harvard man, he had a PhD, whoever told you Jewish guys, like that could become drones could become that wasn't the message I was given, you know. So I sometimes hear out you know, that mother, she's like, you know, addicted to the violent. Bullshit. A lot of it's only when they start hitting us that that becomes the net, almost self fulfilling perspective. It's that my guys, they were packaged so differently, I never would have believed that there would be a continuum battery. I never know differently. And, and I think it was good. In terms of the work that I did, I brought that perspective to it. And I made jokes, you know, like, when my favorite you like, my dear. And you know, there's a rule of thumb, right? So, you know, you can't, can't beat your wife with the stick that's bigger than your thumb. That's the rule of thumb the mad at you, we use rule of thumb, that's what it means. There was a legal principle that you couldn't beat your wife with a stick that was bigger than your thumb. So you couldn't get it with a four by two in our something. So I'm, I want to set it up a global conference in a Why do you think it was that 18th century women look for in a guy in the member that matters, right? You know, if you're good, me look lovely, according to how big my thumb is. I want to see that before the show me your thumb, you know, people were married, you know, like, ridiculous, right? But that, Can you believe that? Well, of course, it must bring out the you know, I'm looking for it. And I'm man, I'm looking for this. I mean, [01:03:00] you know, Robin Morgan, once wrote, and this is probably me and my words. But when she wrote her poem, monster, where's her son looks at her pubic hair, and points and says monster, and she writes this amazing poem. Late 60s, early 70s, about this. And at one point, she says, I just want to have known what I might have been without the violence. And I think so many women have that story, and probably a lot of gay men to just want to have glimpsed what I might have been. [01:03:45] And I think that, [01:03:48] like, luckily, this part of my life, I look back and I'm, I wouldn't say I'm satisfied. When you grew up in a family that I grew up in, when everyone is killed for no reason whatsoever. Close to Jewish me welcome to possibly meaning and practicing to do it well enough. I don't have practice anymore, you know, but [01:04:15] what could you mean that they murder you for that? [01:04:24] When you look at your brothers and your father's violence? Do you not sure if the right word is Understand? Or? I mean, do you see where it comes from? [01:04:39] This past year in Prague in December, I told you that I had a photo, one photo of my father's family. It's kind of trivializing to say but you know, I remember when you went to see the life of poverty. So I have various things in my life, which are different stories. And that I'll never know the truth of which is the story. And they don't have all good endings. But I prefer certain stories. One of that is about my grandmother's death, which I now know, because of my year, it's beyond a doubt. But I had been told originally, that she hadn't been taken to Auschwitz, that somehow she stood by her cow, when the Nazis came, and she wouldn't let go of the cows lead to the whole image. And they beaten her to death, with like the rifles. And I preferred that story to Auschwitz to support it eliminated the train and the thing in the gas, you know, like, and for a long time, I wouldn't have been able to tell which one there were no, no. But the other story is one that I encountered in Prague, which was up in the second. And some ways I've made it into something charming and suffering for me, which is in the second floor of the Spanish synagogue in Prague, which is a beautiful building, you know, Hitler was going to make my parents a check. And Hitler was gonna make Prague into like a theme park for Jews. So there's a whole Jewish section, which doesn't exist other places, including like, the old new synagogue, which is from about the 12th century, the only wouldn't synagogue in Europe. And so there, so there's some lovely places in Prague that just don't exist other places. Because he didn't bomb, progress and bombed and he didn't burn down those areas. I mean, they desecrated them. But anyway, so often, the second floor now there's a kind of history of the Jewish people. And Jen over the year in December, and last December, and [01:07:27] we walking around, and I'm just looking at the different, you know, [01:07:34] exhibit. And I said to JN, that's my, my, my uncle. [01:07:42] And there was a, [01:07:45] I knew immediately I'd seen him in that other photo. And he was wearing his uniform, and he was an officer in the Czech region. And so he was wearing his uniform. And then and I just knew it was, and she looked at it said, Isaac Weiss, which is my family, so we knew it was and then, and he was there and just nervous of a blurb about him in chat, of course, but it said that, in English, it said it was a story of his funeral. And that he had killed himself in response in 1947, to a virulently anti semitic government attack. [01:08:33] So this is a Life of Pi. Because I had always known that he killed himself. [01:08:42] And I'd always known the consequences to my father. My father stopped speaking to my uncle killed himself. It was just one last too many. He went to work, he gave his money over to my mother, maybe beat you up sometimes, but he virtually stopped speaking. I couldn't tell you my father was intelligent or not, I really never heard him talk about anything. [01:09:18] I was three when [01:09:22] until I had different stories about him. And then suddenly here was this thing. So I have a friend Norman Franco, who teaches German at Waikato. And I wrote to Norman I said, digitas, big check, because his, and he knew someone at Radio proper. Who radio Prague, who, who ran the English thing, and he translated it for us. And it's about his funeral and his death and 1000 people came and he gets forwarded the Battle of ma Scally uninstalling grant, you know, and you know, that, you know, he was, interestingly enough, I sent it to my brother, see who's my other brother, Herodotus died already. He was a much softer guy. But I sent it to my brother See, and he said to me, over the, you know, we should have known about this. And I thought to this is an answer to your question. Like he had to keep proving, we would fight that for we get a hero in our lives. But because of its effect of my father, that could never be shared with us. Because it was just too much for him. He'd had some communication with him, he thought he would come to the US. He was his oldest brother, they were the two oldest, my grandfather had been killed by being gassed, fighting for the Austrian Hungarian army and the first room for and then their allies came and killed his family. I mean, are you surprised I've never been a great patriot. [01:11:15] I mean, I will let those Kafka esque. [01:11:21] Then the nice thing is they let me go and bring a flower. So I went back later to the synagogue and went, and I left a flower for him to lead. Nobody were there, you know, and, and I took him home, you know, and I have this photo and everything like that. And the very nicest thing is that you may not, you know, there's something called a Golem, not don't think of token he just must have been a terrible anti Semite. And the goal and save the Jews. He was like, an artificial man created joy in a man who was created by a famous Jewish rabbi. And in Prague, and his job, he ran errands, he did nice things for the people in the community. But in the end, he saved their lives, all of them. And then there was a sense that he couldn't really keep living like he was this artificial man. So they'd let him live. He lives in the attic of the old new synagogue in Prague, and my uncle lives in the second floor of the Spanish and Roman. And that's to me, but it's an incredible thing. Like, did I ever think of my you know, the strange thing is that I started out working on violence against women. But [01:12:58] I think really, since [01:13:01] I worked on the Bristol case with this, and got to know this woman whose three children were murdered by her husband, here in New Zealand, since I worked on then, and started to think about these issues for my own life, I really have been interested in in kids, and prioritizing the safety of children from both ends, and that's all really, it got passed in 1995 it's been going now they're trying to take it back because it's too expensive, you know, blood vessels, the whole fight around that whole issue today in terms of something called the family court proceedings reform bill. Anyway, and so I've been involved in writing submissions and doing things and [01:13:50] I really [01:13:53] Initially, I saw myself as the one of those children exposed to violence in the world your dad had an effect on me because I I know even in my own life, I had to learn to take three steps back you know, there's a real there's a real illness, about violence and cuts out a lot of bullshit should you light it really electric and I really did have to learn not to go for that George I'd seen [01:14:30] have the men in my life had gotten off. [01:14:38] I knew I knew the charge. And I just that was a new one. So I read about in some ways myself and violent and then of course, I had to realize that see, he'd had an even worse than me like he always thought my father was not big guts. [01:15:00] When when he was a kid and stuff like that, [01:15:03] he just so angry at his whole world went up and literally went up and smoke. But nothing. All these people. If you see, you know one photograph here one photograph is this no way they ever did anything to hurt anybody. You know, they were just nobody's You know, it was crazy. [01:15:27] And [01:15:29] I, I had no room for him. [01:15:36] And I certainly like breach since terror died, my brother Aaron joy. I, like see was one of these people who could be so mean to hero, but he really loved him. You know, right, because it's safest to take everything out on your family, isn't it? There's no consequences when he died really missed him. So I've never really been anybody that you'd sort of [01:16:04] different is more than just a loser. Right. But [01:16:09] on the other hand, what we had left is a family. And we were the only one who wanted been through the brands together, right? So [01:16:19] I did think of him as a victim. And I've often thought departments of victim. But I also thought, [01:16:26] you know, I used a lot of humor [01:16:30] to get the domestic violence past. I'd been ridiculed and had contempt expressed to me by a guy who had a PhD from Yale with distinction. And, you know, Harvard Summa, pronouncing you know, after 15 years, you learn how to do it yourself, you know, like you just sort of listen and listen and listen. And listen, survivors able to when I was fighting that battle, I understood the power of ridicule and contempt in polysyllabic language. I've been taken apart by it for years, you know. And so I decided to use some of it back, right. And it was one voice that was needed, because there was such politeness that nobody really said, what was really going on, you know. But I think it also, you know, there was this, the second report, I wrote, there was a thing where we dedicated it to by name and age, to every woman and child had been killed in this country center, domestic violence was passed, was very far getting all of that material, there was like 191 people in, you know, seven years, it was a lot of people from New Zealand. And I have a man who I hadn't known before, but who I liked very much as also Jewish. He said to me, [01:18:12] as soon as I saw the names, I knew you were Jewish, because we do those things. Memorial Memorial Memorial. [01:18:26] A lot of remembering of names. And of course, we don't want those names to die. So I've written about my father in that way, no problem, you know, so many names dead with you. [01:18:43] And I said to her, you know, as soon as I knew their names, I knew I reduce the writing. [01:18:49] Because it's like, we have to get away from that politeness and really think about who pays? And what's the cost? [01:19:00] I think, [01:19:04] at least at work at a law school, we're still talking about justice, sometimes, maybe not enough, but we still have some vision of justice. And I've been really lucky to have a job where I've been able to do that for my own life and play games, as well. You know, one time there were these nine Court of Appeal judges in a room and with about thousand people. Anyway, Marty used to love my talks, because, you know, I'd say these things that they didn't think you were allowed to say in a junkie order to your It was really wonderful. It was great. You know, I was best friends with this woman who was the model head of women's refuge. And she was wonderful and she gave me a lot of access into just trainings and talks and things in and we did a lot of it together me and never so when they they taken every judges name out of her report, I could share with you you draw lines through like women were saying said, you know, me and never, we've decided to become rich from domestic violence. We're going to market a board game, we're going to call that pin the judge on the judgment or ex parte booty. And they said and if you've read any of these judgments, you know for sure this again at a jail free card. [01:20:37] With me nuts. [01:20:42] My most prized time was that I was invited to have a conference. Here in New Zealand, I've got something that I've written and principal Family Court [01:20:53] judges, Hayden VU, I come in and I do this kind of funny jokes, good standing ovations. Mariah, you know, it [01:21:05] just is, we're going up to the stage, this woman, Brenda poet who organized the conference. [01:21:12] She said to me, do you want to hear what he said about you? said, Sure. She said, he said, if that bitch steals his conference, you're gonna enter to me. So [01:21:27] I don't need to be invited twice. [01:21:31] So I got up right in, I went for gold, right. And I got a standing ovation and everything like that, you know, like, go to hell each [01:21:42] week, you know, this is the dichotomy, right? [01:21:48] And she comes up and she says, You really are a bitch. I said, What did you expect me to? Do? You know, with me? You know? Why did you tell me if you didn't want me to just? [01:22:02] I think that that my role in it, and to some extent, they were afraid. But for small time, we learned not to be because we really just people, but so back to when I was telling you in my family, you had to be worth living in a way that I don't think a lot of other people necessarily have to question. Because, you know, it's just an accident. Like all my grandmother's grandchildren died with her. But now. So I mean, it wasn't that I'm smarter. There's a huge phrase, it's called be shared to live and it wasn't meant for you to live. And my mother really believed we were meant to live. One time we were walking around her place in Florida. And she said to me all Ruthie, I thought so long, why were we you know, the sheer to leave and why when we meant to live. She said, I'll tell you one thing, it wasn't clear to me with the smoke test. It is the law. But as I said, you had to make, you couldn't make your love funny, if it was given to you, you had to run with it. [01:23:25] And you had to know when the time was right. Which made you a little kind of, you know, amygdala. But [01:23:38] you know, I think I feel like if they if I have a story to tell it, that story of [01:23:44] growing up with them, and somehow trying to live honestly and generously. I, I it took me it didn't take me that long to forgive my parents. Just so people crack up and join us for this, they just joined going. And you know, I thought as even as a young adult, I thought what if I read about them in a case study, I would feel, you know, empathy, and not anger. And I could learn to do that myself. [01:24:29] And [01:24:32] the most wonderful thing to send my mother live long enough [01:24:38] to like me, [01:24:40] and maybe she was [01:24:45] at you know, but he lived to be 94. And so she could [01:24:53] so maybe for two years, I wondered, you know, she she was always a great, inconsistent, she could love you to death and then want to kill you, you know, that kind of stuff. So she was very erratic, but [01:25:10] mood swings. But [01:25:13] after about two years, she was being consistent, right? So well. And then three years, four years, I eventually I learned to trust it and, and to really enjoy it. And then I called my own daughter Devor. And I said to her, you know, we could cut out 50 years of this garbage we could just say let's not lie to each other ever again, what just let's tell each other the truth. And and then we don't have to go through 50 more years of this go. [01:25:48] Anyway, we've what, that wasn't the reason we got better, but we got a lot better, you know, but [01:25:55] just people with so much time. [01:26:02] Anyway. So the important thing is, even though I never didn't make the revolution, like I'd hope to you know, and we haven't reinstituted matriarchy or whatever anybody else wanted, though, I have to say I've never been a separatist I don't think you could be born a Jew and believe in any form of biological determinism. It just never was. Anyway, I have two sons, you know, as well as a daughter at one time ago in my legal systems class, he got up and he asked me if I would, I was a man hater. And I said to him, one of his joint classes like Paperchase, you know, they went all the way up like that. 300 400 kids, and I said a man hater, man. I'm a total idealist, you know, standing here, otherwise, I said, you know, firstly, it's I really believe that all men were rapists, I would have drowned my son's birth. Anyway, if I were a man hater, I'd be doing talk. That's [01:27:22] me with this whole kind of, yeah, we used to have a good time together, there was a, there was a way in which, cuz I was the first teacher at that lower school. [01:27:35] Before even before it, Margaret Wilson or anyone came there, there was a way in which we were all in together, you know, and a lot of bad have Well, those students did without a library, for instance. And we didn't have a lot of those databases, electronic, really determined, empowered, whether we go to school or not. And so, you know, we did famous in we behold, in it, and it was great. It was like, every morning radical who gave a woman to be a lawyer was it that first class, you know, every gay sky, every you know, it was just like, just the idealism of the class and just the anger at the low. And I remember the first time I went in, I said, you know, you may think it's funny to have someone from the Bronx, you know, talking to you about the Treaty of white Tommy. I said, at least I have nothing to unlearn. [01:28:33] It's been, you know, leverage, remember, who is the guy who was our now [01:28:39] he's a minority guy, some shocking the power or something like that. Anyway, and he came to a four years in tertiary education, who he and some, he was leading a kind of treaty workshop and some idiot Coursera from the back, how much Molly, do you have a new anyway? And he says, Well, last night, I had 77 [01:29:05] inches. I don't know, you know. [01:29:09] And I realized, from hearing that, that there was that place for interviews that nobody asked another question was, is getting more here just that those are wonderful answers. And we, our side has to learn to give it a some silencing wonderfully answers, you know, seven inches, wearing a condom reset, or something was wonderful. Ladies, lesbian comedians, one of them got to have so many friends who are vegans now, you know, said to me, said to this audience, she said, I didn't give up meant eat tofu. [01:29:56] And Tina just, she did the same. My mother loved Eleanor Roosevelt, she saw her. It's like a saint, you know that. The women in my neighborhood, the only time I remember them ever dressing up and going to a lecture, Eleanor Roosevelt was giving a talk at our public school, and they all dressed up and went to see her. So Robin, Tyler was her name and the comedian. She had this photo wonderful photo of Ellen roads, said, ever was good enough for Eleanor Roosevelt is good enough. [01:30:34] And everybody needs to do a lot of [01:30:37] more normal. Talk to me about you mentioned coming to New Zealand and getting married to stay in the country. And I'm wondering, can you talk to me about working within the system, and then working without outside the system and how that kind of works on your own here. [01:30:59] Now, firstly, in about 1985. in Hamilton, we used to have a group called lists, core, and it was lesbians inside the system. And we would meet monthly and we talk about all these crazy things like what you wear and pronouns and you know, kind of people's experience and just ways ever getting there probably, I can remember it with must have been at least 20 women would meet and it was just about when lesbians were off the benefit and getting jobs, you know, and things like that been a time when I first came to this country, that a lot of women were on the DPP, and they were getting education. And as I said to a lot of women and children, and then or they were younger women who were also finishing their education. So in by about 85, women, lesbian, a lot of listening to a moving into jobs, I think then, I mean, obviously that is just before but friends of mine, my guess was that was around the University. My lover then was teaching in the content department at work. And there was some famous out lesbians different, sadly enough, and why cuddle? You've never seen the same number of out gay men. And I think, firstly, Women's Studies gave that ability for women to come out. And maybe there's just so much more homophobia against a man. [01:32:38] But he certainly couldn't count off. [01:32:42] Lots of men that I knew, and [01:32:45] anyway, so. [01:32:49] Yeah, so we did have this group lists and, [01:32:53] and those issues were very real life W is in a law firm, you know, and yeah, and, and it also involved not as much, but with the children, you know, going to parent teacher meetings, wherever, how much you come out to these people. You know, there's lots of issues that were being discuss. And then we get that got involved lyst. Anyway, john involved with Morrie activism, because he was young, he co who, who was running the Nordic Women's Center, which really [01:33:32] called the modern center, but it was really [01:33:35] the four year of the rape crisis collective, we given some space and things like there was very, there really weren't buildings and people weren't getting paid, you know, everything was really volunteer. Some some, some rich scheme sometimes, but it was very, very non government funded. And yeah, so there, because there's always been my experience, at least with the women that I know, who've been like lesbian feminists here is that it's always been very involved in Marty activism to, and there's been always so and, like Mariana Pittman or someone but they've always been outmoded dates. Like, I came after the tour. But I was here in time for the heat boy, right. And so one of my first memories was, you know, making 50 times and potato salad and Oakland University kitchens. And, you know, there was all of them never the Tucker Carter front of best Jim point, things and a lot of my friends had been involved, I was, I was kind of, I been a lefty on my life. So I'm, you know, immediately gravitated to those women, and they were very involved and really got earrings and necklaces from the five and diamond, wearing them to brighten up and you know, then convince people to treat the ground. So that was, you know, give us a lot of stuff that went on. And a lot of lot of people, both men and women, but I knew a lot of lesbians palantir men down in Hamilton too, because of stopping the game and things and the tour, the tour was still very close. And when I first arrived, and people had their tour stories and members, lots of that going on. So for lesbians in and a lot of lesbians, it had been, you know, they've been in that part to scored like, was quite wonderful going to that film party with with women from the community could you could recognize, you know, different, it was a very idealistic community. And a great believer in quality. I was later than pitches, which is in dice, which was, you know, a famous, lesbian newsletter and it and I wasn't here when broadsheet hadn't caught, you know, so, you know, when the lesbian split from Gucci. So there were different things that had that really predated me, but I definitely got involved in the treaty stuff, and oh, and then at spy 86, of course, of his homosexual work, you know, and I'd never, like being in Hamilton is really different from being in Vancouver, I'll tell you that in terms of gay rights, you know, like, I can remember going very early on to one of the first Gay Games things in Vancouver, and you know, it mean, Vancouver was about 40%, gay and lesbian, it was just a wonderful place to come out. And you know, and were you there were things happening, clubs, restaurants, whatever you wanted, it was going on, and it wasn't a hidden community, that I have to say that the first club I ever went to, like in about 78. Even in Vancouver, it was you know, mafia, Butch di get the in, taking the money. And then inside, it was all dark, dark, dark, you know, practically, black wolves and things said that, no one would recognize you and you wouldn't recognize anyone you know, or something. But I was still in Vancouver. So that would have been about 82, when there was the first if you can believe this, how long ago the first lesbian, like cafe, there was above ground and had windows that you should go and you're actually there would be the light in it, like actual just miss me stupid. I mean, I remember going on a silent march in about 19 add maybe even before for lesbian rights, and just men just throwing beer bottles that is so stupid, and you know, making stupid or, you know, this whole idea that, you know, they could solve it for you. They added in that day, and someone says [01:38:27] stupid. [01:38:29] You know? [01:38:33] It's just so stupid. I mean, that it was too much to understand that redefining masculinity might be good for men as well as women, you know, like that it didn't have to be exclusionary. And then, and oh, I have to say this just in case we ever forget it. And I'll never get to it. [01:38:52] I have never you [01:38:54] know, how lesbians which seen as managers so much, or maybe stuff? I'd never ever known people who hated men as much as straight women. There is no one because lesbians don't depend on guys by and large. So, like the men who are in my friends in my friends, right? I choose them whatever hurdles the leap. Not that many. But you know, whatever it is, they don't let me down all the time. They don't. Because if that would happen, I wouldn't be around. Right? So I mean, rather than lesbians being managers, I never go to a lesbian dinner. And guys or discuss it with straight women, all they talk about is how they're getting fucked over by God's you know, like, so I just like, who are the man haters, you know, who are [01:39:43] the people who depend on these men and or just failed by them. I'm not saying all of them failure, but the ones who do those women tell stories about them. So I just think it's that whole dental speak, we have, you know, God of love, or, you know, not even Jewish me. [01:40:03] We have different views. You know, do you know, just like, [01:40:09] that whole labeling of something, and, and it's, and it's almost 180 degrees, different from one from one from the label. And that's, of course, what's both fun, and different and so much challenging that living gay or living Jewish or living. All that is you have to understand what the riff is that's gone. And then you also do your analysis of it. So you're working on multiple levels, which is fun, right? And mean, and it's a game and being a lawyer is the same. I mean, my last big relationship was with a woman who was a poet. And we were together for 12 years. And it was we both love words, you know, the spin of words is fantastic. And that kept everyone relationship going for quite a while, just our level of words. OF to say just a couple more things, which are friendly. I didn't come out Chris, I was a political lesbian, I came out because I'd like fucking with women. And I enjoyed it. And I didn't come out because I didn't enjoy men also enjoyed women more just because they didn't kind of the men of my generation who were straight, I didn't have that many to be able to. And you know, this is not a quantitative survey. But qualitatively, they went into automatic and they just kind of went for themselves, and some all too often too quickly. So I mean, that it was better sex. That's what kept them going and had nothing to do with kind of the entry into Watkins analysis of women on pornography, though, that legitimated things and made me understand certain things, but I really came out for sex. And I think that was a problem, because my kids would never begrudge me taping their father, but they did think that maybe I didn't have to be scouting around on the, you know, you know, looking for action. And can you be can, I was so much more matron, in my 20s. And in my 30s, like, you know, when I graduated from university, if you didn't, if you weren't married, you went to go live at home, you weren't allowed to live in an apartment, you know, like, at least none from my family, like, yeah, you know, who was ever going to do that? been living, you know, in a dorm or whatever, for four years, if you just like looking women really hadn't limited options. And, you know, [01:43:04] marriage was your ticket here, too. [01:43:08] And [01:43:12] so I took it. And that's one reason I couldn't stay out. I mean, I really admire those women, when I was 16, who didn't come, you know, who, who stayed gay. And, you know, those women we found out were lesbian virgins. You know, I could never claim that I'd been made love with [01:43:35] men. [01:43:38] More than one. So I, [01:43:43] you know, I don't think when I read about the lesbian lives of the 40s, and you know, working class Buffalo, New York, and there was lilium Fatima, and thing, since one thing, opting into the wealth of the left bank, you know, in the 1930s, and all those women who had lots of money, but I would never have been one of those women. And I just say, Warren, if I agreed, Leslie, fine, stoner stone, but it was too hard. I really don't know if I would have come out [01:44:22] to the harshness and midnight [01:44:27] I think I also wanted to have children at that point, it seemed impossible to do. [01:44:33] And [01:44:37] But yeah, I [01:44:40] I really pay tribute to those women. They were you know, and so all of that stuff about roles not role for, I mean, they lived as well, they could you know, in now, we have so much more, so many more options, we have a continuum of behaviors weekend, and we could be anything we want. And I have to say, I don't believe I was born to be lesbian. That's one thing where Nigel and I really disagreed. He believed that he was born gay and that his choice was to accept it or not. I think I could have been anything, but I think my family's experiences allowed me to see that. You know, it's a postmodern world, right? I I'm, I knew there were layers and layers. And so I never believed. Like, I think that's the worst thing about Christianity is believing that there's one right way. No, or and that everything's literal. I mean, I know a lot of Christians wouldn't believe that. But, you know, like, that's, that's things are multi and multi. And the question for me my law question, my everything. Question is, who paid for it? Who benefits from the choices made? Who benefits from the priority? It's me. That's what I want to know. It does. It's not like the lower down from mine, Mount Sinai, and it has to be that way. Be a lot of ways. So what is it tell us about that? It's that way. And of course, they sell it's like, Look, we now know, how many animals are gay? Or at least bisexual, right? The embedded was like nobody else just, you know. I mean, all of that were just lies, right? And the Catholic Church, like, which projects, this demon of gay men, they're the ones to eat all these children? I mean, that's a little bit what I mean by doublespeak. It's just like, the odors that we have, you know, or like, Foucault was right, right? It's all about power. And we can deconstruct Those are my questions like, why is it like this? Not? What's the right answer? But why does it have to be like that? Well, I can't be something else. Why can our vision least be incorporated? Or, or if it is, and let's at least name that it isn't when, when the culture case came out, I was teaching. You know, I taught fam I have, I'm still teaching it. Family Law for 2324 years at university when the culture case first came out. I was walking to school, or I'd heard it just before I was walking into class, and I got in. I couldn't remember exactly where it was. And I said to these kids, go to the registry and get your money back. You deserve to be taught by a fold human being. And the court of appeal of New Zealand has decided I'm not one. And I will. I mean, I'm not gonna talk this crap, they've just decided that the relationships I have aren't worthy of being recognized. Sure, I have a whole analysis of heterosexual marriage. I know how conservative it is, you know that I do meant I would whenever whenever on men, all of that crap. But nobody's gonna tell me that I'm not as good as someone else and all of the consequences. Personally in this country, this leads to kids killing themselves. [01:48:42] Suicide of gay kids for no reason, except for this view. There's one right way and all the animals are interested actual and blab blab. No one can believe that. I have to say that however many resentments my children, my dad, I'm sure they have some. [01:49:03] They could be anybody they wanted. Just not rapists. Right. But anybody they wanted, and I would support them. And I don't think it's good for kids to have that. [01:49:17] And I wonder why people don't realize how these views are ruining their children. So [01:49:28] because I'm still interested in [01:49:35] you know, I used to believe that they wouldn't care like the family court wouldn't care about battered women. I'd seen enough of that, you know, I was married for 22 years before rape within marriage was a crime. Women talking at 40 we're talking I'm sitting in front of you, was married in 1964. It was 1986. In this country before rate within marriage was a crime. Not till 1993 did the House of Lords at that rate within marriage was a crime. [01:50:20] How is it different that I have that perspective? [01:50:26] How does that color [01:50:31] you know, one time I was sent to this meeting of lower deemed like f4, Benjamin was admitted to the bar in 1891. She was the first woman in the Commonwealth that's when New Zealand sorts of his head. And we didn't have a high court women judge until silver cord right? became that in 1993. It was given as a suffrage present, you know, so 102 years before a woman went to the High Court rape cases are have to be heard in the High Court to 102 years before any woman had any voice of authority in a rape case. I mean, that's incredible. Can we really believe there wasn't even one intelligent enough woman during that hundred two years to outpace Akai in appointments? I said something that sounded like that at the meeting. And this guy who was the Dean of Law at Canterbury, he came over and he said to me, Bruce, you just don't have patience. Okay? Everything's changed in such a short time. Look, you know, like, right, you weren't even people in 1929 engineer, look at this and the human rights. [01:52:03] I sent him john, you know, it's interesting. [01:52:08] It's, we could quantify your level of patients, and that would represent your male privilege. I myself, no more patients. I've worked against badgering for my whole life. My mother was my first battered woman. You know, for most women who work in women's refuge. That's the truth. But nobody says that. Right. My mother was the first battered woman I ever dealt with. Right. [01:52:42] Hello. I [01:52:48] I don't have patience. I'm not sure for all of this work. Luckily, I had a very nice son tonight. I think my daughter has a very good relationship. But I have friends whose daughters are still beaten up. grandchildren are still being exposed to all of this violence, but we're learning to be violent themselves. 70% of boys who grow up in homes where their mother is being abused will become abusers. The primary determinant of whether a boy is an abuser is whether his father was an abusive people learn their social dispute resolution skills in the kitchen, you know, needs to stop. I thought I would stop it. I didn't. And I forgiven myself for that problem to my head or time and I swear it wasn't changing totally cuz I thought that was what I didn't to make it worthwhile that I survived. It's not going to happen. It's too too much of an investment in misogyny. And now I'm a phobia. We see too much event.
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