Ted Greensmith-West

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. teeth, we came across each other at a recent screening of homosexual Law Reform material from 1985 and 1986. And I'm just wondering, to begin with you at the end of that screening, you spoke very eloquently about maybe how far we haven't come. Right. Totally not there. [00:00:23] So, the screening was to give some context was for a low school event, I'm a law student studying at Victoria University. And obviously, this year 2016 is the is the 30 years since the homosexual law reform passed in 1986. And I guess, some of the things that I wish I was talking about as a, as a younger member of the queer community and New Zealanders, the areas that we still have to work towards, to achieve for equity and equality in New Zealand for question people. I think personally, when it comes to my envisioning of where we need to be going forward, there are three different branches, there's legislative change, so stuff like the homosexual law reform and marriage equality over the past few years have been progress in that area. Then we also have sort of what I would call social acceptance. So the ability and that's sort of more entrenched, tackling some of the more entrenched ideas around sort of homophobia and queer phobia, allowing everybody to see queer people as being equitable and equal and in the same way that other people are. And probably the third area of of importance to focus on is international diplomacy and international advocacy for queer people around the world. And how New Zealand can play a role and advocating for queer people overseas. [00:02:00] One of the comments you made at the end of the screening was that, yes, we do have will reform but we're killing a gay couple hold hands and New Zealand. [00:02:10] Exactly. Well, we do it as you said, we have we have law reform. So it's entirely legal for gay people to be able to walk down the street and hold hands if they so wish. And of course, it's legal for them to be married. However, and this probably comes down to what I was talking about with social acceptance as queer people in New Zealand, particularly gay people have sexual orientation, and not able to walk down the street without first assessing the risk. So you'll be walking home at night with your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your partner, however you choose to describe them. And you're a queer person. And you'll be constantly looking ahead of you along your journey as to whether there is any dangers ahead. So for example, you'll get coming home at night after going out drinking, let's say, you're walking down Courtney place in Wellington. And you know, you're looking around you thinking to yourself, what about that bar over there? There's a group of men hanging around outside that pub, do I feel comfortable walking past them holding hands with the person that I am sort of in a relationship with, or you're walking down and there's a shortcut home, but it's down a dark alleyway, and you think to yourself, is it safe for us to be able to go down there as a couple, these are all things that queer people are constantly thinking when they're walking down the road, particularly at night, but during other times during the day. Also, I think even if you live in a particularly nice area of town, let's say you go out shopping for the day, and you go to like a posh department store or something like that, and people will still notice. And I think true equity will be people not noticing, and people just being okay with it, even if at said posh departments, you know, people look and they say, Oh, isn't it nice to see that gay couple out and about together? That still noticing that still making us something other than the norm? And I think there is some, you know, there is something special about queer people, I think we are different from the norm. But I think there's no reason to treat us any differently. Socially that is. [00:04:18] So have you ever been either queer based or heard abuse thrown at you? [00:04:24] Yeah, regularly. I remember when a particularly high school, I think now. [00:04:32] But then again, I don't know, it's, I keep on telling myself like I want to, you know, I'm a 21 year old man. Now I'm quite tall. I don't think anyone would want to pick a fight with me. But then again, recently, in the past six months, I was walking down down to a work function late at night, I was, you know, sort of dressed quite smartly because of the place that I work. And I walked down and sort of an alleyway sort of shortcut down the road. And I remember sort of being hassled by a group of men wanting to have my wallet, and various sort of slurs were thrown at me, then. Of course, there's nothing. Well, I don't know, there's obviously something visually, about queer people that makes them stand out, even when they're, when they're by themselves, that makes people feel the need to harass each other. I think for me, the main extent of my queer bashing, or queer abuse comes from from high school, and I think that would be common for a lot of a lot of young people nowadays is that often it takes place in high schools, and high schools aren't safe for queer people. [00:05:45] So what? What years were you in high school? [00:05:50] I was at a Catholic [00:05:55] college, sort of mid 2000s to I think I graduated high school in 2012. Six years, I think, yeah. [00:06:06] I've been out of uni for too long. [00:06:09] So I mean, that is still like 20 years post war form. So you were still encountering quite a lot of households victory? Definitely. [00:06:17] Definitely. And I think if you ask anyone coming from single sex high schools, I mean, I went to a coed school, so it was a little bit easier. [00:06:27] But if you ask anyone going to single sex schools, especially ask them gay men, who went to single six, high schools, their experiences a horrific. And I think this is a really common thing. This is happening all the time. And I don't think it's just gay people. I think trans people as well, although trans people can also be gay as well, we, you know, what I mean, it's not just gay men, it's, it's people of all sorts of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, or lack of. [00:07:00] So will you, coach? [00:07:01] Yes, I came out when I was 13. [00:07:06] It was an interesting experience. I've always known who I am and what I am for wealth ever since I can really remember. And I think I grew up in an environment at home that was very accepting of, you know, difference. And I think for a while, especially when you're younger, you I don't really think you have necessarily an orientation or, or any form, let alone a sexual orientation. But I think there's definitely signs that you know, people are different, and people queer, or have a quickness about them. And I think I was very lucky and being able to pinpoint what that was at such an early age. But then again, I also think, you know, it's at that stage where everybody's kind of, you know, 1314, people begin to sort of think about things in a sort of sexual light, and you know, straight people do it well. And I don't see why any reason as to queer people should have to wait five years to be able to fully realize their sexual identity, unlike straight people. So for me, I came out when I was 13. [00:08:14] What does that mean coming out at that age, when? [00:08:17] Well, it's a for me, it's, it's it me, it meant pushing friendships at risk, and then putting personal safety at risk. Especially considering that I went to Catholic High School, which isn't the most, even if it's a liberal Catholic High School, it's still going to be difficult. If you live in a small town, or if you live rural, it means putting yourself at risk. And terms of this very little support networks out there for people. It really is like stepping out of repeatedly, it's like stepping out of out of a box. But it can be a very lonely experience for some life. So I think it's quite an empowering experience. I'm not necessarily convinced by arguments that say queer people shouldn't have to come out. I mean, I don't think we should have to do anything. But I think that quote, coming out for a lot of queer people, that self affirmation of I am this, or this is how I didn't find this is what I am, is a very empowering experience for people. I also don't think it's a one time event. So you know, I might have come out on that one, I was 13. But we're coming out every single day of our lives, all the way through our lives and our, you know, our sexual identities and our gender identities develop and change and morph all throughout our lives. I think it's interesting comparing my experience as a queer person, and as an out queer person in high school, compared to what I left high school, I think there was, you know, there was a massive sort of maturity shift there. So, you know, there's always different sort of psycho rovers, there's lots of different sort of petals to the stand, if you think metaphorically like. [00:10:02] So how did how was it for you coming out with fishing? [00:10:05] Oh, hot, quite difficult. And because of the fact that there were no other out people at my high school. It was me. I knew there were other queer people at high school, but it wasn't my job to tell anyone who they were, or what they were, it was, you know, that was there, right. And I would keep that secret. But I was definitely the only one who was out until about two or three months before we all left in year 13. For a cup for uni. So um, it was an incredibly isolating experience, at times, not having support networks. And I think it's interesting, because at the time, I thought I was like, right, well, this is just something that I'm doing. And I was sort of get on with it. But once you leave that environment, you, I think a lot of that pain, and a lot of that damage catches up with you. For a long time, when I first left high school, there was a lot of catching up on a lot of pain that I didn't allow myself to feel because I had to put it to one side, because I just had to keep on going. No, it's like survival, you have to put it underneath a rock, you have to deal with it later. Because what matters every day is getting up and doing what you would normally do. [00:11:22] Let's be incredibly hubs, knowing that the might have been either gay or queer people at school, but they've not been out. So it was kind of like a Converse hidden. [00:11:32] It was hard. And I think it's interesting. [00:11:37] I don't judge anybody who decides to remain closeted, because obviously there is that real social danger. However, I think for a lot, and this is goes back to what I was saying about my sort of the maturity aspect of leaving high school for a long time, I had to come to terms a lot of internal bitterness towards those people, those people that I knew, were actually, you know, closeted, and often at times were quite homophobic towards me, and, and in a way that was acting in a sense of self preservation. And I think I think there's still a little part of me that is quite bitter and angry towards them. But it's about moving past that and asking, what is the bigger picture. And actually, you know, it is hard to be closeted. It's, I think it's even harder to be the only person who's out. And if it meant that those people were able to feel like they could come out, because they'd seen, you know, they've seen the worst of it all. And the storm had passed in their minds, because they'd seen it sort of put up against somebody else, then if that means that they're living a happier life, and I don't really mind. [00:12:56] So were there any, like queer straight alliances or No? No? [00:13:00] What about externally from school with a nightmare support groups, no support groups, nothing, even, even if there was anything, it would probably be probably would have been located solely at the University at a university level. And then I seem to remember expressing a desire to go along to one of those events, and a person close to me, telling me that all you wouldn't want to go to that, because there'd be all the game in there that might think that you might be sort of a bit of a catch. So I wouldn't be comfortable with you going to that. And that was from someone that I wouldn't regard as homophobic but still made a blatantly homophobic comment. And it's stuck with me for a long time. Because I think it shows actually how ingrained people's assumptions and attitudes about people are. [00:13:49] So now there were there were no support networks whatsoever. And then [00:13:53] we've got the internet, we're getting any information from you? [00:13:57] Well, it's interesting. I, one of the things that I on one of the reasons why I study Laura's is because I'm interested in queer issues. And one of the papers that I'm doing at the moment is on Laurin sexuality as why I was talking about class. And I have recently done a, you've been writing a sort of a essay about the influence of gay porn on that on that young gay people. And it's very interesting. It's very interesting, I think I stopped the essay by asking my lecturer to catch up polls, because I'm going to go there, and no holds barred. But I think I think it's interesting that you mentioned internet, because I do think that, and this is one of the things that I obviously have been talking about for a while is that because queer men are not allowed to express any form of sexual or sort of romantic development, right, from an early age, you know, you think of the typical sort of high school sort of development, like, you know, you might have your first girlfriend, and you're not really, you know, you're not really in a relationship, you might just like, text each other, and you know, it's a thing or then like, you move on, and then you might be 15, you might, you know, have a girlfriend that you might hold hands with, and, you know, it sort of progresses along that route. And straight people are allowed to develop that form of healthy sexual development, but gay people aren't, because we're told right, from an early age, that we're not allowed to be gay, and that being gay is something that we should be ashamed of, and then it's unnatural. So when people turn 18, they know nothing about relationships, no, nothing, very little very little about healthy sexual relationships, and the one area that they can find it is online in the form of internet porn. And I think that can be incredibly damaging to a lot of queer people, because I think it embeds certain ideas about sex that I think can be quite unhealthy. But that's just my opinion. [00:16:02] Yeah. [00:16:04] Yeah. So internet, internet sources were obviously I mean, you have things like the Trevor Project, which has fantastic resources available, there's, I don't feel like there was very much for New Zealand, us in terms of support networks, but there were, you know, there were things like the Trevor Project, and sort of various things like that, that were available. [00:16:29] And I guess nothing actually beats face to face, you know, either meeting up with somebody for a coffee or doing whatever, [00:16:36] exactly. And other the queer people that I knew, were much older. So they were often friends of my parents, or watch it only ever were friends and my parents, they're often much older, and often lesbian, which is great, by I love, I love my parents, lesbian friends, and they're amazing, and incredibly supportive and wondering people, but often you need someone I think you need someone like you to ever really feel like that. I mean, I if I that if I'd had, you know, a gay uncle or something that would have been the best thing in the world. But sadly, I'm not blessed with such a gift. [00:17:17] I'll have to be a gay uncle. [00:17:21] And how did you navigate the whole kind of kind of religion in sexuality? [00:17:26] Well, I'm, I'm not religious, and I never have been, and my parents are not religious. [00:17:35] So I always enter this goal is sort of the part of the, you know, 10 or 15%, that were not religious, and they had to take on because, you know, because of the because of the law and stuff like that. So for me, religion was never a burden on my mind. [00:17:50] Although there were elements within the school, [00:17:55] that were difficult when it came to queer rights, and how that related to religion. So I think this school was very careful to not say anything expressly negative, because I don't think I would have gotten away with it, frankly, because it wasn't fully private. I think there were definitely people that held very firmly held religious beliefs against queer people. And I think it will, I very quickly cottoned on to who they were. And I think they very quickly cottoned on to what I was, so mutual avoidance was always quite healthy. I think, I think it's interesting, for example, Lewis awards, marriage equality bill was sort of coming to its first, you know, first important stages in 2012, which was my last year of high school. And I remember being all over the news, and people were talking about it and my year group, but it wasn't something that was allowed to be discussed at all class. And a lot of people brought it up in our religious education classes. And we were told over, we're not going to be talking about that that's not relevant to what we're talking about today. So there was just a complete it was it was like a cone of silence over everything. That's probably the best way of describing it. Yeah, I think I think one of the hardest things for me, I sort of one of my memories was, I mean, I've always been quite an ambitious and politically active person. So I ran for Board of Trustees Rep. At my school. And I remember a teacher when I asked for their vote, telling me that they didn't think that I embodied the values of the school because of how I was. And that was not a particularly pleasant experience. And I'm not entirely surprised that that was something that happened, but it was what it was, and you know, you just keep on going. Yeah. [00:19:55] What about your family? How are they? [00:19:58] My family were okay. [00:20:01] I think my parents knew, for a long time. And I think it's interesting, because I think I was always taught that it's completely normal and completely fine to be queer. Even before I realized that, that's what it was myself. So I think that for me was a matter of, well, if that's the case, then I don't feel the need to be have to nail anything particular upon myself. And, and unfortunately, because the world that we live in, I really think that works. So eventually, I had to sit down with my with my, with one or other my parents and just say, look, this is what I am. And, you know, this is this is, you know, this is why I am, and I think, you know, I, I don't blame my family for that. I, I don't think that's, I almost don't think people can help it, because that's the society that we live in. But I think that, at least on a family level, if you're taught that there's, there's nothing wrong with being queer, this, you can just be completely whatever you are, and that's absolutely fine, then, as far as I'm concerned, I think children should be able to bring home a boyfriend or girlfriend or you know, or partner that they that they care about, and it should just be something that happens, not something that they have to declare. So that's, you know, an issue that I think, is important. I think it's also difficult when you are the only visible queer person in your family. As I said, I don't have any queer relatives that I know of. So being the topic of conversation really is difficult. And especially if you know that the conversations are happening, but you're not privy to them, you know, that everybody's saying, but what about such and such and see come out yet, and you know, that sort of thing. And it's just like, can't be bothered being talked about over cups of change internet, family members, it's not something that I'm interested in. So [00:22:05] you're using the word queer. And so I'm wondering, why do you use that word? [00:22:10] I think it's interesting, because a lot of people don't like the word queer. I have a few friends that are LGBT, and don't like the word queer. because traditionally, obviously, queer as a slur against has been a slur. But in recent times, it's been reclaimed. I use the word queer, because I feel like it's very all encompassing, I feel like it doesn't put boundaries or labels and anyone that just makes it just embodies us as a group, without necessarily sort of having to define us. Because I think for example, the term LGBT is inherently when you begin sort of categorizing everything, it automatically is exclusive towards certain groups of people. For example, LGBT is literally the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans transgender transsexual. But, you know, there are obviously other groups in a rainbow community that do not fit into any of those categories. You know, you have intersex people, or you have a gender people, you have a sexual people. I also use the word queer, because I think we need to move beyond the point where we have to justify and label ourselves to straight people, we can just be ourselves and whether you know, as a gay man, you know, or queer man, as I like to call myself, I don't like to, I don't want to place a restriction upon myself upon myself to say that maybe one day I'll have a girlfriend who knows, who knows, I, you know, I will never know I hope to live a long and fruitful life and anything could happen. But I think as soon as we as queer people start putting labels upon ourselves, straight society will hold us to those labels in a very restrictive manner. And I think we need to transcend that for one. [00:24:04] You were saying just before about marriage equality, and what were your thoughts on marriage equality? [00:24:09] I thought it was great thing. I think marriage equality is really important. I think that a lot of people see marriage as being a very inherently oppressive system. And I would not disagree with them on that. I think for years, it's been the tool of oppression and marginalization against women, I also think against queer people. But I think that there is a lot to be said for marriage. I think that being married is if somebody wants to have that, that I don't see why anyone should be denied that. I think one of the things that I have struggled with, though is how marriage equality and and I realized that we're only a small group and society and we can only when it comes to sort of time talking about issues, it's very difficult for people to be able to think about lots of different issues at once. So I think the fallout possible consequence of marriage equality was that other issues in the queer community, especially for trans people, were put to one side. And I hope that in the post marriage equality world, that that queer community starts to move towards fighting for rights of people who are, you know, trans and intersex and then a gender a sexual, and the same fervor that they were fought for fighting for marriage equality. [00:25:40] That was interesting was in the 1985 86 footage. We're those same kind of statements were being made in terms of actually, the gay people need to come along and need to support other issues besides reform? Well, one, I [00:25:58] think one of the most important things about homosexual law reform is that it actually acted as a catalyst for a wider queer rights movement. It, it put queer rights on the agenda for the first time, and in a really symbolic way. And I think that it has progressed significantly legislatively, it's progressed a lot. I think socially, we've come a long way. But I think we've got a way to go yet. And I think that it's going to take more than a few bills and parliament, it's going to take generations of hard work. [00:26:37] So being born in the 90s, how did you kind of react or relate to that material from lemonade? [00:26:44] Well, I'm British. So I was I always found it quite shocking that New Zealand was so late to coming to homosexual law reform. Of course, it was, you know, how big was the six days in the in the UK? And my family being British, you know, it's obviously been legal in the UK for, for much, much longer, almost a whole generation of gay people were allowed to be sort of who they were before, people in New Zealand actually changed. I don't when you think about it, 1987 wasn't really that long ago. If you think if you think that I was born in 94. And it was sort of passed in 86. I think was it Royal Assent 87 or something like that. Another [00:27:33] 36? Yeah, but [00:27:34] August 36. Yeah. So so would have been for eight years, which isn't, you know, as much as the one term, one lifetime of average government in New Zealand, eight or nine years. So not that long, at all. Really? I think, looking at the footage, I was shocked at how well at how openly awful people who were. But then again, those people still exist today, they've just moved, because society has said, you're no longer allowed to say these sort of things about queer people. So they've regressed into areas where they can be adjusted as violence they were back then. Now we have family first talking about trans people and bathrooms and how they going to abuse children and all that nonsense. The same people is that, you know, as we're on the documentary saying vile things about queer people, then it's the same people now. Just kind of keep on fighting them. [00:28:38] Another kind of viral episode and New Zealand's history, I guess, as civil unions with just the church doing anything. [00:28:46] Yeah, definitely. In fact, I probably remember it quite, quite well. [00:28:53] Even though what about Oh, God, it was 2004 or five. So I wasn't out at that stage. But obviously sort of very aware about feelings and inclinations, that I definitely knew queer people. I remember being on the news. I remember it being quite frightening Actually, I'm even if I wasn't entirely self aware, I think as a human being just watching it unfold. [00:29:18] The particularly the, [00:29:22] the march down the street, by by the destiny church people, was quite frightening, because I think it was a very strong statement against equal rights and New Zealand. And I think, as a very young person, and it was it was a while I mean, as an older person, it probably would have been scary as well. But, you know, I think that did leave an impression on me. And I think anyone who remembers that will probably remember it for the rest of their lives as being something that was quite scary. [00:29:56] You're saying earlier that you're now studying law? What drew you to? [00:30:01] What drew me to law? I asked these questions every day, when I'm stuck in the law library studying some bloody contract exam. What drew me to law? Well, I've always been an activist at heart. [00:30:17] I've always been politically active, a bit of a rabble rouser. [00:30:22] And I guess I came to the sort of thought process at the end of my time of high school as to what I wanted to do with myself, and I have always been interested in politics, as I said, and I think I saw Laura as I Well, I, I saw it as something that could help me move into an area that I really wanted to in terms of my political activism, and general knowledge about sort of legislative change and everything. It's interesting, I think, everybody comes to law differently. It's a bit of a bit of a brutal process getting through law school, lot of people do it because they want, you know, they want the money. Guys quite well paid. A lot of people don't, because I think they do it because their family's always done it. And no one in my family's done law. As far as I'm aware, I think I did it because I want to make the world a better place. And I think having the knowledge that a law degree can give you, especially if you're a queer person gives you an extra tool in your box to be able to go out there and fight the good fight. [00:31:31] So what are the fights that you were kind of most keenly interested in this race? queer, but? [00:31:39] Well, I believe that queer rights, one of the most important things in society, I, I believe strongly in fighting for queer rights. I am a bit of an old school socialist. So I think that workers rights are incredibly important. I think that for Well, I think, as a man, I think it's important to know what you can do. In terms of supporting women's rights, I think women's rights is extremely important. I think that is because of the fact that I, for many years as a queer man, growing up queer was always a very dangerous environment. And I think that women were usually a lot better, and often were a lot better with me and a lot better and with knowing about the struggle that I had to go through, and I think I often felt very accepted by women. And I mean, I'm not saying that there aren't homophobic women out there. And I don't want to make sort of women's rights about me in any way. But what I will say is that I do feel like I have a debt. Hey, in terms of some of the amazing women out there that have helped me along my journey. And I think it would be incredibly selfish for me to not at least say, offer, what can I do to help you, even if that means sitting in the corner and baking bread, or sort of muffins or something for, you know, feminist nature, and then me sort of running off dems shops and buy wine and none. And I like, you know, even if even if that helps, I think it's incredibly important for the queer community and sort of the wider feminist movement to join forces and ban the patriarchy. Those are the days probably that I mean, there's lots of different things. But those those are three of the ones that I'm seem to be talking about the most. [00:33:47] In terms of queer legislation, what are the things that need to be worked on? Currently? Well, [00:33:58] I think we have, we have a long way to go when it comes to human rights act. So this government has not taken any steps to changing the Human Rights Act to include any form of recognition of gender identity or gender expression. They are committed to thinking that sex as an encompasses encompasses gender identity, which it doesn't. And they make that statement without any support from any queer thinkers or any sort of queer evidence, they don't actually make that decision based on our lived experiences as a queer community. I think if we look at the laws around birth certificates for trans people, they the requirements are appalling. They require trans people to basically approve themselves before a court of law, and then subject and then they're subjected to various forms of medical examination, which I think is degrading and inhuman. And I think that that law needs to change. I think that there needs to be massive legislative reform around around some of our adoption laws, I think needs to be modernized. I think that it does affect queer people. Because I think, you know, you look at the discussions that are happening the other day. And I think it was just under I don't and that man, Mike McCroskey from family. First, were discussing the the laws and sort of de facto sort of gay couples. And these laws obviously still affect queer people and some way. And I challenge people's ideas about whether queer people should be able to, should be able to adopt children or not. So as a three main one, that we definitely need to be looking at immediately, I think YW legislative action, I think, looking at the court process, in terms of how trans people are treated within the justice system. You look at the way that trans people treated when they're sent to prison, they are not allowed to be sent to a president that conforms with their gender identity immediately it used to, they used to be sent to places that assigned with their biological sex. And then they weren't, it was very difficult for them to be able to leave. But now you're able to apply to change, but you get sent to that prison that have, you know, forms of the biological sex first. And we know that during that time period between when they're first sent there, and when they apply to change that abuse, and sexual assault can happen, and that it does happen. And this government has done nothing about about that, to date. Look forward to seeing some changes in that because I think it's really important. [00:37:00] You mentioned earlier about international diplomacy. Yeah. And I was wondering if you could talk about that? Well, [00:37:08] New Zealand was one of the founding members of the United Nations. And I think one of the things that the UN has always been, we look at international law, human rights law has always embodied rights for humans. In terms of you have a right not to be restricted of your freedom of speech, you have a right to, to not be unjustly sort of imprisoned, you have a right to not be tortured. And I think it's interesting, one of the one of the presumptive Democratic nominee for US president Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the I think it would might have been the Human Rights Commission. I'm not quite sure what organization it was. But she said that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. And whilst the people in the room drafting the night in 1947, the Bill of Rights of that sort of the International piece of legislation around human rights might not have had gay people in mind, our rights are still enshrined within that document. And in New Zealand, as a progressive, first world country, as I think it's our responsibility to be fighting for the rights of queer people overseas that are infringed upon by their governments. [00:38:34] I think that can be done through [00:38:39] advocacy in terms of the United Nations, I think we can do more for accepting queer refugees do New Zealand. And I think we can take moral stances. I think, for example, this government has been really keen to enter into progressively more corrupt deals with the Saudi Arabia government, Saudi Arabian government, their bare hands queer people, and supports extreme groups like ISIS, which think that throwing LGBT people off the rooms is the solution to the queer problem, as they call it. And I think we can actually take a really hard stance and we can say, no, this is not something that we are going to be doing anymore, as we're not going to deal with you as a country, we're not going to engage in any form of trade with you as a country if you continue to abuse human rights, because as you know, Hillary Clinton said, human rights or gay rights and gay rights are human rights. I think maybe sort of attached to that as well. You look at New Zealand's rovers. I mean, one of the things that we seem to always be talking about is, how much of a sporting nation we are and how and how we, and how we are one of the world's best nations when it comes to athletic competition. And as we know, gay rights, internationally and domestically are not recognized on the sports field. And I think, I think it's interesting, there was the Winter Games and such a white shows, I think it was 2013 or 2014. And this was at the time where the Russian government was making advances towards a really restrictive legislative framework for queer people in their advocacy, so called anti gay propaganda laws. And New Zealand continued to send athletes to that games. And despite the fact that there was an international boycott by various members of, of, you know, the sporting community with, okay, artists, and sort of singers and pop stars who actually won't go to Russia won't perform in Russia, because they object to, to anti gay laws. And I don't see why New Zealand as a, as a country that, you know, since the 1980s, we've been having we've had an independent foreign policy, since the nuclear since nuclear free and New Zealand has always said, we will have an independent foreign policy that is about New Zealand and not influenced by other state actors. And I think it's important that we stick to that when it comes to gay rights. I don't see why gay rights and queer rights should be any different from nuclear issues or trade issues. [00:41:29] It was Footage from 30 years ago that brought us together in terms of seeing the screening together. And I'm just wondering, as a kind of final question, can you predict 30 years into the future and describe what your ideal world is? as like, [00:41:44] my ideal world, and it is time? [00:41:48] Oh, gosh, [00:41:49] Wow, my ideal world in 30 years time would be where I think that's impossible to answer. Actually, I have to be honest, because we have, you know, we have no idea what's around the corner. And as, as we see, different generations of people are having to deal with different issues at different times of their lives that that past generations will never have to deal with. We look at the experiences of queer people today, or we look at the experiences of queer people in five years time compared to you know, 30 years in the past. And I think we're having to deal with very different circumstances and different challenges. So I think it's really hard to have to project what we will want in 30 years time I think. I think for me, though, ideally, it would be an I am such an idealist would be a world where people regardless of their gender identity, or sexual orientation, can feel like they can live freely and equitably, and society as independent people. I'm not feel like they're restricted or told that they can't be who they are because of some people's attitudes. I think that's and I think that's what a lot of people want. I think we're we're getting there. You know, I, as I say, we do have a long way to go. But I think we are making steady progress. And I think it's, I think it's important to keep that goal in mind. Even though some people call us idealists, actually, we know that the world where queer people are treated equally will look no different than the world we currently live in today. You know, there will still be, you know, you still get into an argument with your parents and you know, you're still not want to get up in the morning because it's too cold. Or you'll still get into an argument with that man because he stole your parking space out and all those sort of issues or life will continue on being just as boring as it is. When queer people have the right to belt lovers free and equal citizens as everybody else.

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