Will Hansen

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. Will your LinkedIn online resume begins? My dream is to write the histories of queer New Zealanders in particular, I'd love to pin the histories of transgender New Zealanders. And I'm wondering, where does that dream of writing queer history come from? [00:00:24] I guess it's just like a really personal kind of goal for me in that, like, when I, I kind of started to realize I was trends, about 2015 fell into 2014 2015. And before that, I thought I was a lesbian. And when I thought I was a lesbian, I'd kind of gone online and I'd done some reading around it. And I'd started reading about homosexual law reform and like different like in the circle and all this kind of listening groups and clubs and stuff, and so like that history seemed to be there. But then, I mean, I realized I was trans and I kind of started looking for trans histories and stuff. There was just nothing. Nothing out there there was kind of a tiara there's a tiara page on gender diversity. And through that I found out about common and Regina via and watch the documentaries on it on screen. But other than that there was no like, writings about it or anything. And then finally when I got the opportunity to study it in class at the end of last year, there was just there was just nothing. Nothing at all. Anywhere. No articles I there was Louise pyramids, master's thesis on cross gender identities pre like from 1986 to 1950, I think and that was like the only thing that was written about like trans people as trans people not as cross dresses or homosexual cross dresses or anything, and it just really frustrated me. And I just really wanted to know. Yeah, cuz there's obviously so much history that's there. That Yeah, it's Just fresh. [00:02:02] Yeah. Why? Why do you think both histories haven't been written or told? [00:02:08] I think that part of it is that the like, trends, rights movements and things have kind of always been shunted aside, I think, by the more general gay and lesbian movement. And I think that alongside that the academic study has also been, like, put in the shadows as well. And I think that it's like, I think so much of trans studies focuses on trans identities instead of trans stories. And like, there's this whole, like preoccupation with gender, diversity, gender, perversion, gender, you know, all the big questions about gender and stuff, which I think are interesting, but it's not all there is to it. You know what trans people do in their daily lives. What transport, what's trans politics? What's trans communities? And there's been none of that kind of, yeah, I guess as well in New Zealand specifically. And it's quite as small or small, small country, smaller community. And it's only kind of just starting to become a thing and like the United States, even with Susan striker and Joanne meyerwitz writing histories over there, and the transgender studies totally, I think, was 2014 that that started and trans identities generally, I guess, with people like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox, that suddenly kind of I don't know if this is just because it's only in the last four years that I've realized really, that I've been trans, but it seems to me like in general, only in the last four or five years, that's really come to the forefront of the conversation like transgender people in general and like bathroom bills, and all that kind of thing. So I think like, there's just not been as much an interest that's been focused on marriage equality in those kinds of struggles but now that we're focusing on trans struggles a bit more trans histories and stories of studying that come out a bit more. [00:04:07] So with your own journey, how will you come into the realization of kind of a trans identity was through online? Or was it through kind of real world interactions with people? [00:04:21] I think it was, like it was a mix of both because I went to an all girls high school. And that kind of felt like quite a bit of a bubble in a lot of ways. Because I knew that there was something that I just didn't there was something that I was uncomfortable with. And I thought that it was my sexuality, and that was definitely part of it. And that was kind of easier to identify because it was easier to articulate, and there's more stuff out there and all the girls are talking about, well, the boys they've got crushes on and I didn't, you know, didn't get that. But you don't talk about gender in that same way, especially in that old girls environment because I guess there was that consensus. They all fell Girls, most of them, so there wasn't any need to talk about it. But then as soon as I went to the whole and Fest, yeah, and I like it sounds weird, but until then I hadn't actually really interacted with boys my age since I was about 10. And getting to kind of like, explore my gender a bit more and moving out of home was a big thing. And I finally got to I started trying on different clothes that suited me a bit more. And like I said, as well like I feel like it was kind of, I think 2014 was when there was that time cover with Laverne Cox the transgender tipping point and stuff and all that stuff started coming out and everyone in the whole was watching the Caitlyn Jenner taco and stuff or whatever the interview that she did and so it all kind of like I was starting to notice it all a lot more and and online definitely helped. Tumblr tumblr.com and that had like, just people talking about gender and trans and and youtubers I listened to a lot of Alex Beti and Titanic they were too One's British ones, American YouTubers and talking about this stuff. And I was like, Ah, that makes sense. I'm starting to get it. And so those things kind of all happened all at once. The start of 2015 and I just had this major. I'm not a girl. Whoops, that was that was wrong that whole time. Yeah. [00:06:19] So you have the realization. I mean, how does that kind of play out internally for you? [00:06:25] So like, I guess I kind of, I guess for me it was just because I think Alex Bertie, the YouTuber was the first YouTube videos I started watching, I stumbled across him and I was thinking about him and his journey a lot. And I started thinking about my own gender a lot and just, it became more and more every day. I couldn't stop thinking about it until it was all I thought about all day, every day. And I have that kind of same process that happened to me when I thought that I was a lesbian. I was like, I became something that just as consuming my thoughts as all I could think about. Am I really Trans Am I really quit, how are people going to react? And I kind of, because I kind of already done it once before with the sexuality thing I kind of realized, while I'm thinking about it so much, it must mean that it's a thing. You know, like, if you're thinking if you're so preoccupied with this question, am I trans? It probably means you are trans. And so I kind of started then I started telling a couple of friends that the whole and I was like, I don't know quite who I am yet, but I know I'm not a girl. And they were like, that's cool. And that just kind of they were really good at giving me the space to keep thinking about it. And to let them know when I was like, Oh, I'm not a girl. Don't know what I am yet, though. And that was really nice to know that I, there were people who kind of could keep up with my internal thought processes that make sense. Like instead of having to figure it all out and have one, I've figured it out. This is who I am. I could kind of Yeah, explore it a bit more that way. [00:07:57] Yeah. And when you're talking about cool with So this is University Hall. [00:08:01] Yeah, yeah, I went to warehouse and 2014 that was really fun. That was good. Yeah. And they was so they was so supportive and I kind of I think it was about April when I first told someone like all I'm not a girl and then it was about, I think was about August when I was like, Yeah, no, I think I'm a trans masculine person, I want to be called will. And the day I kind of came out to everyone, all my group of friends and I put it on the little we had a little Facebook page for our floor, and the whole and I just, you know, I want to use he him pronouns. Now. I put a little link to the YouTube video. I'm coming out the Diana Ross. And I got great response. Everyone was super supportive. And then the next day we had our warehouse bowl, and I got crowned Kenya bull by our eyes and that was such like a gleam They were everyone was just like that was like the epitome of support. Like you can't get much better than that. So everyone was super, super cool about that. And that was still I hadn't realized I hadn't figured out what I wanted my name to be. So I told them all. I'm a guy, I'm using he him pronouns, but I'm still using my own name. So they were like really good at handling that which, like, is a bit confusing, you know, like when you're trying to form a sentence in using pronouns, right with my old name, which was very feminine. See, so that was just a wonderful time and yeah. [00:09:22] And at the same time, you will obviously also having a hunger for trying to find trans people in the past. [00:09:30] Yeah, I think I think actually, yeah, and john said earlier questions. Well, I think part of that is from just like not having any transference and wanting some kind of community to fit myself in and I've always been someone who's been really interested in history and in stories and stuff and I think like oh, quite a, like a romanticized things a lot. I guess the wanting to kind of fit myself into that proto historical narrative and knowing like, like, where I like, with like, My people have come from the battles the trans people have fought for, and what was those need to be continued and that kind of thing. And just like, because yeah, and because I didn't have any trans friends really, or maybe I had one from from high school, but they were still in Oakland. And I started to meet a couple trans people at uni, but no one that I really properly clicked with until the year after. So I just felt quite even though even though everyone was so supportive, all those people at the hole and stuff, and there was no one that I quite clicked with, who I quiet, you know, understood how I felt about gender in the same way into like, a good year after that. So I think it was it was that as well just wanting to add some kind of sense of validation, I think of like, knowing that, you know, trans people have always been here and I've always been, it's not it's not some new snowflake thing and, and you know, when my parents, they weren't so good at the start and knowing that other people have been there and dealt with that and dealt with a lot worse and that they've you know that the movement keeps pushing forward and so I can keep pushing forward as well. That kinda, yeah. [00:11:11] One of the things I've found quite tricky to cope with in terms of say like, I'm gay history is that when I look back at it, some gay lives in the past, often, it was like really hard, you know, the we're facing a lot of discrimination stuff. And in for me try not to take on board that either that hate or victimhood when you all come back at the past in terms of trans history, yeah, I mean, do you have a similar thing? [00:11:42] Definitely, I guess we will talk about a little bit later too, but when I was doing my interview for my honors thesis, talking to my interviewee who came out in 1976 as trends and hearing all her stories, and I didn't like I kind of very consciously tried to focus it on like trans communities and relationships and all that kind of external like within the trans group as well. I didn't want to focus on what public thought all that kind of thing I wanted to, you know, focus, not focus, I guess I guess I wanted to kind of, which was a bit silly, and I didn't want to focus on all the distressing kind of things. But the topic of suicide came up a lot in that interview, without me having prompted at all, and just mental health in general, and all that kind of thing. And I kind of realized, like, well, that's so integral to the story. And the fact that it just kept coming up, even though it wasn't even asking about it. And just that whole history of, like, mental health crisis for trans people and how that's such a old thing. Like that's not a new, that's not a new problem. And probably, you know, worse I think back in the 1970s, the period that I was studying, and like that was really distressing and I think part of the reason I kind of didn't ask him walking About It was because hearing it I didn't, you know, like it's I've had struggles with trans stuff as well. And I didn't necessarily like, feel like I was unprepared and having to talk about that kind of thing. And yes, that was that was really hard. It was hard having someone sitting in front of me, telling me those stories and seeing how to get emotional and that kind of thing. But equally listening to like Georgina by on the other presidents in interviews is really hard. But I think that it's also like, important to hear it because otherwise, I mean, that's not the full picture if you don't, and it makes the other stories that they tell, like, have so much more kind of weight because you see that background of of the hard things and the triumphs become even more trial than ice but [00:13:50] you really did throw yourself and to kind of queer research in 2017 when you got an internship at the National Library and you produce The queer history New Zealand research guide told me about that. [00:14:04] That was really that was really cool. That was, um, so I signed up for it was like a class at uni, the big internship class. And you went to classes every Tuesday after the uni, and they taught you how to be a good intern. And then the other three days, I spent down at the National Library, and I was so lucky that I got that placement that I did. And Roger Swanson was my mentor there. And that was just so fantastic. And the fact that they let me do something that I was like, really interested in was really exciting and just getting to like in history class, we don't really talk that much about like, the archives and museums and all those kind of like libraries and all the processes that go behind the gathering of the information that is being presented to historians. And that was so interesting, that was really really cool to learn about and everyone there was so lovely and it was actually because like before, then I Like, every time I talk to someone like about what I want to do I want to, you know, learn about trans histories and queer histories and who'd be like, oh, but there's no such thing or there's none of that. There's not that out there. Why would you want to learn about that? There's What's that? What's Why is that important, but then going to the National Library, and they've given me this task, which is, you know, the research gave the queer history that was really, really that put on fire a little bit. [00:15:26] So, how, how do you go about finding sources? How do you go about finding collections because, as you say, a lot of this, these histories either hidden, they haven't been written about or they kind of masked and hold language. [00:15:44] Yeah, I guess there was a lot more out there than I realized. Until like this, like the pride in the lesbian and gay archives. They have so much stuff that I didn't realize and and I realized as well like Yeah, I'd been using the wrong language. Because I think amongst my age group, there's a really stubborn insistence on not using transexual. And we're queer and with transgender gender queer, and I didn't, I was never super stubborn about it, but those were the words I was using, because that was the background I had. And then I realized, well, no, actually, this is people were using transsexual, and they still are, and they're still happy. That's the way they identify, and that's not a bad thing. And using those terms, and I, there was I forgot his name. Someone wrote a index of homosexual or, like, of queer sources, I should find, I could find it. But he, it was this really thick book and that had a lot of stuff in it. That was really helpful. Um, I don't know, I just did lots and lots of googling. Lots of Roger gave me lots of help, like knowing other people, and I'd already started that was I got that into Right after I'd done my New Zealand social history paper, and that was when I first started looking at trans histories. So I had really done a little bit of research and found things like, like, like all the resources down at matanga. And that kind of thing. [00:17:15] It's interesting you you talk about doing a lot of googling, because they mentioned it brings up the point that not everything has been digitized. It's not everywhere. It has been indexed online. Yeah. And so there are probably a whole lot of hidden things in archives that haven't had the attention that maybe they should have had. [00:17:33] Yeah, and that's like something that Roger Roger Swanson is really aware of, I think and he keeps finding stuff that he brings up to me and it's uncatalogued get it's not catalog yet so that's and I know that they're like it's it's there's only so much manpower that the lesbian gay guys have that they can, you know, be cataloging stuff and putting stuff online. But yeah, there's definitely this So much out there. And I think as well, there's a lot out there that is kind of like a historical and that is not necessarily thought of it because it doesn't fit into the whole Western history mindset of this is rational history, it maybe can't be backed up by other, you know, rational sources or whatever it's people talking about how they, how they think about gender and things. And, and I know the trend and sexual activists, the organization and the United States they believed in aliens, contacting them, and that they were that aliens would help further trans rights and they want put a hex on on a turfy lesbian in the 1970s, and all those kind of things that like historians kind of I think ignore because it's how you can write about them in history because you can only write they believed in aliens because you don't have any sources. Aliens, they were having contact with aliens, you can't write that. But that's what they thought and you immediately kind of take away that authority. So I think there's a lot of that kind of information out there, which is just hard to know what to do with how to catalog it, how to write about it in history. And I think that that comes through and oral histories as well. A lot. Yeah. So that's, that's the so many, many different things to think about. [00:19:26] In terms of all history. Now, you've done a couple of oral histories. How was that for you? Because I doing it all history is quite different from so doing it, this kind of interview where it's, you know, maybe 40 minutes, or histories are quite a lot more indeed. [00:19:40] Yeah. It's so much fun. It was just really, really cool. I felt it felt like like, I mean, it's a real privilege to be able to hear people speak about their histories and things and particularly, I didn't interview jack Trello and I that was four and my oral history class this year. And he was Speaking just about how he conceptualized his gender and how he felt like he transitioned in order to express his femininity better, which is so contrary to the narrative, obviously, if you're a trans guy, you're transitioning to be more masculine. But no, it was the opposite. And that really resonated with me because I realized that's how I felt, and I hadn't heard anyone articulate it that way. So like, just on a really personal level, doing these oral histories, it's been really, really amazing. And then when I was talking about like, a historical information a lot of what I spoke about with jack was very he was talking about how he he's really he's really poetic when he speaks really beautiful in saying how he feels like genders is getting to experience death while we're alive and all these kind of concepts which are hard to know how to put in my research. But I think it's so important and I'm trying to and, and all that kind of that kind of thing that Yeah, It's not that I I don't know if I have the words to articulate it, that kind of thing. [00:21:08] You briefly mentioned two feelings feel it could you just describe to me what what to feel these feelings is [00:21:18] so tough T, if that means trans exclusionary radical feminist, which I think is a bit of a misnomer because then all feminists and allowing them to call themselves feminists, even trans exclusionary radical ones. is not is not fair. But I think there's a history just in western history, I guess of lesbians who feel that trans woman actually men and that to have trans women in lesbian spaces is to have men and lesbian spaces and that that's not on because they have male energies and the socializers male and then the transmitted just poor little lesbians who have been given all these hormones and No. And so yeah, that's bad. I think and I think that kind of attitude has come through and a lot of the history that's been written and I think that's why so many trends, transmitted, dismissed as written down as lesbians, when really they've gotten their whole life saying, I'm a man and then lesbian historian comes along and is like, Oh, actually, no, they were just a crossdresser. They were they were lesbian little, they didn't use the word lesbian. They use the word man. You can't be a man and lesbian. Well, maybe some people but I don't think that that's how they would have seen it themselves. Yeah, and so I think it's had a big influence on academic and popular thought the taffy taffy lesbian mindset. [00:22:48] And the within Wellington over the last six months or even longer, there have been some actions that have drawn media attention around kind of two, and response to tubes. Can you describe some of the things that have been happening in Wilmington? [00:23:08] Yeah, so recently a bunch of posters and things have been put up that have been saying things like, women shouldn't be, shouldn't be pressured to be attracted to men, which it's like, no, they shouldn't be. But it's kind of that like, soft intro to more radical ideas and then pushing the idea that, you know, obviously, trans woman I mean, and the lesbian shouldn't be pressured to be attracted to trans women. It's like, no one's pressuring you to be attracted to trans women, or asking for is that trans women can use bathrooms or, you know, trans women on excluded from women's spaces because trans woman, a woman, they should be allowed in woman's spaces. But there's, yeah, there's been that. A lot of those posters going around and then gender minorities. altero has been really active at putting up counter posters that say things just like trans women are women and indigenous trans people are phonto and that kind of thing. But it's been sad as well because I've seen lots of those go up, which makes me really happy whenever I see those but I was walking down the street yesterday and to them someone had ripped off the corner that said trans woman a woman. And I was like, these people were awful like the riffing. Um, so they've been there's a Facebook group called turf Watch out terror and gender minorities have been active on that and have been sending posters and stickers to people and people I'm waiting on some to arrive and gonna go stick them up. And it's really nice to see the counter the gentleman from minorities out sorrow and like people like Marama Davidson from the Green Party have been really vocal at standing up against the turfs which is really good. And I do think there's a lot more of the ante tests than there are tests but it's still just it's so draining and sad to see that these people is still out there and they're really concerned. Apparently they're concerned about trans children and pumping them full of hormones and violent trans children don't really exist. There's only men and girls, boys and girls, and you're confusing them and all that kind of that kind of thing, which I guess I think but that's like the consequence of visibility, right is the backlash and, yeah, [00:25:24] yeah, I was gonna ask, I mean, why now? Why, why is why is this happening now? [00:25:30] I'm not 100% Sure. There was something on the Facebook page that was talking about. I think they were saying this there's kind of these three women who are behind it. And apparently, it's someone's personal vendetta someone, just someone I think someone called them out on on Twitter, I think, or something of that said something that wasn't appropriate. That was transphobic. Someone called them out and now they're trying to organize against it. And I don't know. I don't I don't know the specifics of it, but I know there was a woman born women festival for a while for a few years. And that got shut down. I think in the last few years. I'm not sure the because they were excluding trans women. And they were, there was, yeah, there was anger about that. And so the physical got shut down. And I think a lot of people are angry about, about that, which I understand why it's amazing to have a space where women can feel comfortable and free, but it should be for all women, not just for some women. And to reiterate the idea that trans women aren't women is just such a violent thing to do. And, yes, yeah, this I think, I think there's like some little like, personal politics going on, that I'm not really aware of, because I think I'm that young and I'm still kind of coming into the queer community, you know, but, yeah. [00:26:51] And what's your perception of, it is looking at both discrimination in support for kind of the trans community within the the wider queer community. I mean, is the support and discrimination going on? [00:27:07] Yeah, definitely. I definitely think so. I think there's a lot like I, I think in terms of my age group, generally, people are supportive. I think trans is almost a cool thing. Now, which in some ways is good, but in other ways, like, I have a lot of friends who study it messy, and or people I know who study it messy and they doing things. Like I've got this gender neutral clothes that I'm making, I'm doing a gender neutral photoshoot, but all they're doing is getting their male friends to put dresses on and their female friends put suits on, which just reiterates the idea again, the trans women and men and dresses and trends and they don't understand they're not talking to trans people about their ideas, and they don't understand the history of those ideas and what it is that they're saying when they put those kind of things out there, which is frustrating, and so I don't know if And counted an awful lot of outright discrimination from other queer people within my, my kind of group, and I've been lucky, I haven't just in terms of queer spaces generally I haven't encountered much resistance, which is really nice. But I do you know, I was I was warned that there was someone at the National area I don't think, I don't know if this is true, but someone I mean, I haven't encountered whoever this person who potentially is, but who was not on board with trans people. And I was like, Oh, and I was nervous about that, but never happened. They were all lovely, but I know that there's there's people out there, but I haven't encountered them I guess. [00:28:41] When you say your age group, what combos group it [00:28:46] sounds 21 so I guess, yeah, people kind of, like, I guess 18 to 24 ish. Most of the people that I Tov [00:29:00] Just getting back to the the queer History of New Zealand Research Guide. You mentioned on that page that there are some either hidden or underrepresented communities that that you couldn't find information about what kind of communities are you talking about? [00:29:20] The intersex community was the big one, which I felt I was really, I would love to find more information and make that more accessible for people because I think with people like Manny Mitchell has an insane actress doing all the work that they do, they do such amazing work and they're so hard working. But like, I think, I think there's a documentary about them and there's the website and that's kind of it and there's nothing kind of written about it. Also, it's hard to find information about other like sexualities beyond gay and lesbian is Well, like bisexual, there was a little bit but not much. And in terms of all and then is not elevate one time missing is just like pocket top way history indigenous queer history, queer history of generally non white people in New Zealand. This there are there's some, I forgotten exactly what it's called, but there's like a blog, which is about Asian queer experiences and that kind of thing, which is, which is cool, but there's not an awful lot i think that like, explicitly addresses the intersection of race and queerness, which I think is a big, [00:30:38] big thing What's missing? [00:30:41] Yeah, those would be the main one. And I mean, there's all sorts of generate indies like like when you're searching like we were saying before, you have to use the word transexual if you're looking for histories, but now that there's more things coming out of this, but there's not much there for like non binary identities and stuff. You So, but mostly mostly, like non white histories of queer people and insects history as that says that, once they tried how this defined and couldn't [00:31:11] will, I guess one way of addressing that is to be come part of an organization that is charged with with capturing all our queer histories, which has always been in getting archives of New Zealand. And you became a board member. Earlier this year? [00:31:29] Yeah. Yeah, that was really that was really cool. I was because Raja Swanson is on the board. And he was my mentor, National Library. And he was like, oh, would you like to come along to a meeting? And I was like, Oh, absolutely. And then at this meeting, he was saying, Ah, you know, we really need new board members, and we really need board members who are trans and also young. That's me. And I didn't think I kind of I was like, oh, wouldn't that be cool, but I didn't actually seriously think that they'd want me on the But then Roger came to the next day. And he asked me if I wanted to wanted to join in. And that's been that's been really interesting. I'm so, so grateful that they want me to be a part of it. And I'm, I just go do I don't do too much really just go to board meetings. I've been to a couple working days and stuff. But in terms of actually like the actual organization I've been to, I go to, we have board meetings in the first Tuesday of every second month. And I've been to those and there's been there's a lot of like, talk about financial matters and stuff, which I'm not very clued up on, I know, finances and all that. But it's so interesting to hear them talk about queer archives and how to preserve histories, how to promote the archives and promote those histories. And my role, we've only just decided is going to be focusing on queer youth engagement. One thing I'd really love to do but I don't know what the life policies and stuff are behind it yet but which the summer I'm hoping to I'm hoping to get involved in would be making something like an Instagram for the archives just to because I think that'd be a great way to get people my age and younger involved in it and show what the collections are especially because the website is kind of hot and it's when you're new to it you want to be seeing you're used to seeing photos and everything you want to know what it looks like. So I think that would be a really cool thing to try and do yeah and and I've been telling all my friends about it always told my friends about it and I get updated my Facebook to say that because it sounds so noisy cuz I'm proud of at his stuff. And yet, you know, as people who said, I'm gonna make it happen now I'm a board member not that they know about but but anyway, I updated that on Facebook. And all these people were liking and commenting on it. And now I get all these messages and this how do you have videos of this? So do you have photos of that? And I'm like, no Go to the archives, I can send a link to that this might be a good, a good source, but they think I've got I've got it on my laptop. That's not quite how it works. But yeah, that's been really cool. So I'm hoping to I want this this summary. I think I'm gonna, I've got a couple ideas that I want to lock up and propose stuff to them. Yeah. [00:34:24] So why do you think it is important to have a community archive or a nice archive, in this case, looking at kind of queer history versus something like the popper or National Library, which clicks a broad range of things. [00:34:40] I think that there's just like so many kind of specific things that like, problems or or dynamics that are specific to queer histories and queer, like archival information that that requires that kind of specific attention and I think it's, it's just, it's just so important to Know that there's a fight like it makes it feel more important, like, Is it that space that like, as a whole archives, this is the lesbian and gay archives, it's got the queer histories. It's it gives it that sense of importance, I think, which is really, which is really necessary. And yeah, and I think if you've not got people specifically looking for it, and people who've got that, if they're part of the community, and we've got that information, then that easy for it to get pushed aside or that you know, but if there's a group that's constantly dedicated to looking for it, then it's not going to go any anytime soon, will be pushed to the back. Yeah. [00:35:41] So just thinking in terms of like, your own opinion now, in terms of what are some of the biggest challenges facing an organization like leggins? What would that what would those be? [00:35:51] I think one of the big issues like we touched on before is how to categorize a lot of this information in light of new vocab, That we have to explain things. But, you know, you can't know if someone would have identified as non binary and all that kind of thing. So there's all those kinds of kind of challenges which I think we can overcome. And I think it just takes a little bit of thinking about it and sitting down and that kind of thing, I think, resources and things, it's because I know that the National Library only has a certain amount of space, and it's housed at the National Library and especially digital. Having space to store digital things online, and are one of the big things is like, how does how do we preserve things like Facebook groups, like this tap watch group, or I'm part of a group on Facebook, which is the secret group for trans guys. And there's so much information on there. And that's been that's been a huge help to me. And there's some like we're talking about how which doctors are the best ago people ask What bothers do you go to what are going to be on me? We're finally Where can I go that they're going to be nice and all sorts of information, like almost quasi counseling and stuff goes on. So it's Oh, really, there's some really personal stuff on there. And I know that like, with Facebook, this little, just the problems with Facebook generally, and trying to archive that kind of thing. But like, all those people who there's like, 300 of us in that group, and you'd have to get all of the information and there's all that sensitive stuff. But it's so important. And it's such a big thing. And it's such a huge way that the trends guys in New Zealand communicating with over 300 300 of us on there, and it's active every day, and how do we how can we preserve that because I think it's so important. See, I think I think that's one of the biggest, biggest challenges which I think will become even bigger is just preserving all those digital, digital [00:37:56] communities and things are moving so fast now. I mean, just in terms of actions or reactions, you know, I think of Twitter and and you know, the amount of information that's coming in. I mean, how do you how do you catalog that stuff? How do you how do you preserve it? Beats me? [00:38:16] I don't know. I think I, I am I have a really big collection on my laptop of screenshots of things. Which I don't ever be able to be the kind of thing that's accurate, but I think it's just important to have it, have it there. And I don't know, I think I would love to learn more about about about this news. I think that i think i think that's a that's something that I've kind of learned this year last year. Just the importance of archiving, which I think is missed out when you do history in high school and at bachelor's level uni, and how, like all of these challenges and stuff, I think it's just important that we keep learning about it at all levels, not just at the higher levels [00:38:59] which pixels nicely on to your current research project. Tell me about that. [00:39:04] And so in my honors year of history, which is my fourth year of study at uni effort, Victoria University, and my honors thesis, which is just 10,000 words, is on transgender communities in Wellington and the 1970s. And my supervisors Savelle luck, and she's so cool. And she does a lot of oral history stuff. So she's been really, really helpful there. And yeah, that's so that's so big thing that that I found in the 1970s. And Wellington was that, it seems to me that there were kind of two major communities. So when I say trans community, I always mean like, in the plural, because there's always there's never just one trans community, queer community or anything, right? It's always there's always multiple. And whenever there's a community of some people, that automatically means that others are excluded. So there's all those kinds of tensions and things and Anyway, so I found I think that the two major kind of sites of community for trans people in Wellington and 1970s were the what I call the night scene which is people like common common repay and Regina by the person I interviewed all those kinds of people who are active in the nightclubs and kind of but the most marginalized people in society really the most of them are transforming most of them are women of color. Most of them are a lot of them sex workers. And they have a very, you know, specific relationship with the public with public spaces and that the public don't want them in this spaces. So I think the 1970s is when trans woman of color, or I don't know if about started but they were taking control, putting getting public spaces in their own hands common in her nightclubs, Chrissy Toko, all those kinds of people, creating spaces for them. themselves that will not only safe spaces and social spaces with trans people will meeting other trans people, trans people with discovering trans people for the first time, but also important sites for economic reasons, you know, giving it giving themselves an income and a way to stay in that sense. And then the other major group that I found was the kind of membership only clubs so there was a group called hedis. The year founded in 1972 by Christine young in Lowell hot. And that was primarily it was started for married heterosexual, transvestites. And but then, very quickly, they became more inclusive of transsexuals and transvestites and it was kind of seems to me like it was about 5050 transvestite transsexuals, and a lot of them started thought that they were transvestite and then realize they were transsexual and vice versa. But that group seems to be predominantly if not entirely white. Predominantly middle class, middle upper class. And they were very much came to talk to, like people in the medical and legal institutions. And they would sit down and have conversations with counseling services and all of that kind of thing with the police and talk about what they can do for trans people. But it was very much they were not at all like the people from the night scene and they did not want to be associated with the queens of the night scene. They will not sex workers. They were sexually normative. They were they were very respectable citizens. And they were decent and hardworking. And they weren't anything like the six workers on the street scene that kind of that's pretty much what they what they talked about their newsletters and things. [00:42:55] Yeah, I mean, that's pretty fascinating in terms of The whole idea of assimilation to to be seen as just part of mainstream society versus actually just being yourself. Talk to me about that. But because I mean, that still plays out with more people, isn't it? [00:43:15] Definitely. I mean, I even feel it in my personal life play Am I am I being an assimilationist? by, you know, just working within history and that kind of thing. But I think in terms of the 1970s and Wellington, I definitely I mean, it's, I I do feel for them in the membership only group because they just want to be accepted. And that's the way they were going about it. But equally they were very derogatory to a lot of the street queens and things. They, I don't think they my interviewee asked to join them and was turned away and she was told that it was because she was transsexual, and it was only for transvestites. And that's what she that's what she was she was she was like okay, Realize that actually there were a lot of transsexuals in there, it wasn't because she wasn't a transvestite it was because she was mullerian because she was a sex worker. And so they were definitely, I think that it's the the whole idea of, of portraying trans people as respectable citizens that relies on that process of secondary marginalization and distinguishing themselves as better by comparison to this other group. And so any kind of gains that are made through that assimilationist politics is made to benefit only that group, and the people who need it the most iliff on the margins. So I think like, and I know I'm, oh, what's what's the name and Chelsea Manning was talking about, there was a indeed express the gay Express article about that, and she was talking about how that plays out today. And I read that and I thought, I think it's always it's always been there. There's always been that tension. And I think I mean, Definitely, there's something to be said for talking to, like the police and talking to counseling, going, they went to a lot of universities and stuff. And I think that's still a good thing to do. But it needs to be inclusive of everyone. And it needs to there also needs to be that more, I think, like, direct action alongside because, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I think I think the people from the membership only clubs like this The, their whole lives before they they were kind of had so much privilege their whole lives and have had institutions look after them. And I've never had a problem with them, until they kind of realized their sense of gender transgression. And so they've never had a problem with these things. So why not work with them and kind of try and neutralize the more non normative aspects of their personality versus people like Regina via when she's talking about it. She's, you know, never been supported by these institutions. So it makes no sense to try I can live with them if they're not even gonna listen. Yeah. So how did [00:46:04] you find out the information about the hoodoo scheme group? [00:46:06] And they have they published newsletters from 1974 onwards, and that is with the lesbian and gay archives. And they in 1976, one of the members of hideous the core Gillian Cox, she was transsexual and her wife Margaret, they made an or another organization called transformation, and transformation. Also have newsletters and documents and Lisbon and archives. And so my research on them predominantly came from those two sources. And then there was a member of hedis, the UK called Leona Neal. And she was really active in the 1990s. And she did lots of interviews with broadsheet and some women's magazines in the Australia and stuff. And so and she talks a fair bit about that kind of thing, and she also did some research papers. With the minorities trust in the 1990s 1991, I think and she talks a lot about her experiences back in the 70s. So I got some information from that as well. And that was really useful because and then the Hudis the newsletters, they actually they only talk about race once in a in the 1970s. At least they would every single copy. They only mentioned race once and it was to say, one of our members, as conversing with a negro trends face style, Negro transsexual in the United States. That's right. She's talking to a colored you know, TV, and I was like, Well, you know, it's very, it's clearly it was a very surprising thing for them. It was not normal for them to do that. And that's the only time they mentioned it, and they live in New Zealand and people like common the most, you know, you know, visible trans people and they'd never talk about motor transsexuality or anything. So it's like, that's clearly a big thing. And then latently O'Neill talks a lot about how she didn't want to she didn't want to be seen like a queen. She And she talks you make some kind of remarks which not very, she talks to kind of is very dismissive of Maori people and the intersection, kind of struggles that they're faced with races as well coming into the picture. So that was really informative. But also, I'm aware that it's 20 years later that she's writing it. So not sure. But [00:48:26] yeah, I don't know if she may not have held those years in the 1970s. But it seems likely because of just the absence of it, of talking about race that that was how most of them felt. Another thing that really comes to mind when when you're talking about kind of just referencing newsletters is sometimes the kind of the when information is so sparse, you've only got one source like for instance newsletters. Was that really what they thought? Yeah, you know, you might, that might be one either to his opinion. [00:48:57] Yeah, definitely. And yeah, there's definitely They encouraged members to write and but it pretty much was mostly like a kind of group of, of maybe four of them who were writing most of the time. Christine young and Joanna goal, who was the leader of the Oakland chapter, and she became the leader when Christina passed away, and that they kind of the two main voices that you hear in most of those and it and I think it's interesting, when they write about gay liberation, it becomes really clear that there does seem to have been a kind of a divide between what the leadership felt and what the kind of rank and file member fell, and there will only ever I think Max 100 hundred and 50 members, but they kind of they write about because I guess that's the one thing that they did, which it does seem kind of radical, they were quite involved in gay liberation and they went along to a lot of panel discussions and meetings and they held panels on transsexuality and stuff, which is really cool. But then the other group the night scene, I don't think we're quite as accepted in a lot of ways. So, you know, but anyway so they would they would talk they would write all these articles in the hideous the newsletter and they would say things like you know we have to understand that at least 30% of our members have come from gay groups and and and you know even though most of us are heterosexual we have to understand that there are homosexuals and that it's okay and we have to support our gay brothers and sisters because they live in closets to just like we do and we've got a lot of these shared struggles so we need to support them and so the fact that they sound like they're trying to be persuasive makes me think that there were there were people who needed persuading in the group. So I think and they write all the time about how it's okay to be you can be transvestite and not be homosexual and it's okay but but you know, homosexuals are okay but but it's we have mostly heterosexual and we mostly married and we've got children and We're not we're not sexually perverse at all. And we only do it for femininity, not because of sexual pleasure, and all those kinds of conversations about sexuality is such a you know, it's so they're trying really hard to make it a normal thing and an okay thing, where is it so kind of taboo, right, so spoke about sexuality. So that that's really interesting. And that's, I think, a large part of why they dismissed the night scene because of the whole sex work aspect. And that's the most sexually non normal thing you can do because you're not only a woman, I mean, what a trans woman giving pleasure to a man, you're doing it for money on the street like that. Wow, that's the best is these people who are we living in good suburban homes, without wives and children? And trying to emphasize that about themselves? But yeah, I think I just [00:51:53] it's really fascinating to think that so like those newsletters. This was this was well before homosexual warriors. So to actually put things in writing is kind of interesting, but also to hear you talk about that they were involved in law reform. Yeah. Because from a lot of the media coverage I've seen of the law reform around the 80s. There's not a lot of mention of any mention of kind of transgender support for reform or activism or anything like that. [00:52:28] And actually, that's like one of the going back when I was talking about being frustrated and stuff. I'm so sick of reading histories that only about gay men and lesbians, maybe bisexual people, but that say, you know, on the back, they like this wonderful history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and they never mentioned transgender people. But that's always the little catch all phrase at the back. It's always the LG this book about all this article about the LGBT community, and they never mentioned trans people or if they do, it's to say, oh, and they didn't really accept trans Or they were trans people, but they mentioned at once, and that's kind of it. Um, but they were so they were definitely a part of it. And that's what I want to I didn't focus on that so much in my research because I had to narrow the scope of it, to fit it into 10,000 words. But next year, I'm thinking, I would really like to investigate trans involvement and gay liberation. And I and and like with hedis the, it seems like idfc I had quite a good relationship with gay liberation, because they will often invited along to give panels and speeches and stuff. But I think, again, it's because they were trying to say we're respectable, and we're fine, and we're quiet and they weren't out and about protesting so much as these people on the night scene were. But yeah, I think there's so much out there that I would really love to investigate more. Because it's so important and it's still in it. It's still going on today, even though you know, I think trans is becoming Cool there's still like I do get from like I was saying with the students doing all these projects that don't seem to really take into account actual lived experiences of being trans and and people I know who gay and but they don't they like oh yeah I support trans people but they don't really know anything about it and they don't really understand the history of trans people being involved in it and they don't see it as the is that kind of shared struggle even though there's obviously differences in this different things that we need to fight for. But yeah, but seeing us as needing to support one another it says what I'm meaning. [00:54:36] It's interesting, just as you're talking, I was just actually thinking I one of the only bits of TV footage, I can recall around kind of transgender issues around homosexual or form and it would have been Georgina buyer in Georgia style, which kind of, I think was 8586 but there was not a lot of footage that I've seen around That that they kind of reference kind of transgender activism around law reform? Is it? Is it one of your drivers to not only write about kind of transgender histories, but also to actually make sure that they're recorded? [00:55:15] Yeah, definitely. I don't know. I don't know. If it's one of those kind of summer plans that I say I'm going to do, but I never actually end up doing I hope, I hope I do it. But this this summer, I really want to get some of the get the recording equipment from the honest history department and talk to just as many people as I can get my hands on and just start recording things even without a without a project in mind or anything like like, like, Well, I think what you do is just so important, because it's these people, you know, are getting older. And it's important to record their voices because there are these histories that are going to are going to stay hidden unless we unless we record there. So yeah, that's something I really want to do. Um, and just in general, I think I think I think just oral history is just unbelievably important to queer histories and trans histories to record all those, all those stories. Yeah. Yeah, I think it was, I think it was, I think as well, a lot of the narratives around trans people framed by medical and legal professionals. And so to put it in the hands of trans people with a the trans people like me, like rewriting history, or the actual people that I'm interviewing the you're interviewing is so important, right to fight back against that pathologize ation of trans identities. And, like I was saying, to say that trans people are more than their identities and they're politically active, and even when they're not politically active, they're still important and they're still, you know, it's like every other group, not every other group, but other groups get the history of just their mundane daily lives recorded, and I'm trying People daily get more than the fact that they're trans are coded. [00:57:03] Yeah. Do you have any thoughts on [00:57:09] peer interviewing? So like, do you think gaming shouldn't be gaming trends should interview translates mentioned in today's VM? Or do you think of the pros and cons for for that? [00:57:23] I think there's pros and cons. Yeah, I think I think it's so important that queer people are able to interview other queer people because I think that there's certain questions that you just don't know ask, unless you are queer, right. And like in terms of transit I've done for so many of my peers and stuff asked me to want to interview me for various so many that makes me sound up myself. But people people I think I'm the only trans person that quite a few people know that and just in my circles, I run an unfortunately cisgender you know, people ask me question about things. And they just don't know what to ask. And I could tell you about all sorts of different things. But with things like I don't know, like dysphoria, a lot of cisgender people not even knowing what the word dysphoria means or on when they do only focusing on dysphoria and only focusing on the struggling aspect of trans lives when there's gender euphoria, and there's all the exciting parts of it and all the fun parts of gender exploration and being trans that picked up on because, again, that narrative has come from medical and legal institutions or when it hasn't, it's come from media who loves to see trans people as these exciting, you know, for this kind of people. Yeah, so I think it's important light because there's only certain questions that other queer people know to ask. But then as well. If you're on the inside, maybe there there are things that you forget to ask because You already know what it means. See, don't ask about it. And also, I think that it's important. Like, I've been very aware of the fact that I'm so in awe of these people that I'm interviewing and writing about, because I know that my life would not be possible without any of these people haven't done what they've done. And having to step away from that a little bit and be the critical historian and ask the hard questions and kind of disrupt that narrative of heroism, necessarily, which is not always so productive. And just that whole kind of discrimination resistance paradigm, which I think structures so much of queer history that before Stonewall, everyone was in the dark, and after Stonewall, everyone was liberated, which is so not true. It's so much more nuanced than that. And I think interviewing across sexualities and stuff, is a really important way of in cross is a really important way of disrupting all those kind of meta narratives and mythologies, the Sal unquestioned. [01:00:04] One of the things I was going to ask you, just in terms of how things may or may not have changed was you mentioned in your conclusion on your research about some Georgina buyer having a really brutal assault in Sydney in the late 1970s. And I was wondering, just in terms of violence towards trans people say, in New Zealand, and maybe particularly in Wellington, has it? Has it changed? I mean, what what what is it like now, I guess for trans people, [01:00:38] I think, I don't know, again, because I didn't like want to focus my research on that because it's so like, hard to hit like you were saying, but I don't think I don't think it has changed as much as people would think it's changed. I think that again, with I think, trend, I think trans people in the 19th knees were really visible with people like common and stuff. And that that did result in a lot of violence. And then I think people again, trans people are really visible again. And it's, it's, it's still it's still having no i i personally have been beaten up as well. And that was I don't think I mean, I didn't know I was trans they called me a faggot. So and that was only one time on the Wellington waterfront and I think people like Georgina Baya had that happen a lot and to a lot less extent like I had a, you know, a bit of a, I think my brain trauma or something, but I was often back to you know, walking, I was walking around and stuff straight afterwards, but, you know, it wasn't it wasn't super brutal or anything but it was it was still obviously it's still shocking and stuff but, um, you know, that that that really shocked me because I did feel safe in Wellington until that happened and then with people like, What's her last name, Xena, Xena, Campbell Xena Campbell on our streets. And knowing that I used to walk along that street every day when I was at my old flat, and that's really scary and knowing that the people who attacked me and my friends are still out there. And the police haven't been on catch on, there's no CCTV down by the waterfront and I was talking about with but with things like the Wellington pride precinct, which is going up soon with the rainbow walkway and stuff like that's really cool, and I'm glad that I would love rainbow walkway but I'd also love some more CCTV cameras around and some more lights and certain areas and more kind of practical measures that can be taken because I think when that trans people are also visible again, we're more visible than they've ever been this sense that like all the battles have already been one but visibility isn't the best. Oh really. It's all these kind of practical things. Healthcare, the big one. But yeah, in terms of in terms of feeling safe around Wellington, I do during the day, but not at night. And I don't. I mean, with my friends in general, like, like I said, most of my friends ISIS and I were all very careful after that happened to me to message each other when we get home and make sure we're never alone, or if we were on the phone with each other, because there are these people out there who just don't don't care. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I think it's this. I mean, and then in saying that as well, I'm a white trans, masculine person. So I know I don't even get the worst of it. Right. Like it's 10 million times harder for a trans woman of color, that kind of thing. Yeah, so it's there's so much that needs to be done. And so much, yeah, so much educating that needs to happen. The thing [01:04:00] What What did you take away from hearing the stories of life in the 70s? What's the biggest kind of take takeaway for you? [01:04:09] The thing that struck me the most and which really made me feel quite like hopeful was regardless of whether it was people from night scene or people from members only club, they all emphasize the importance of friendship, which like, is just really sweet. And that whole message of at the end of the day, we need to band together even though quite severe distinctions between these two kind of groups but within the groups and I think the night scene they were more accepting of the membership on the club than the membership on the club where the night scene. Yeah, but yeah, just just the importance of friends and have trans friends and when I was talking to dn I asked her how her friendships with transit People compared to her friendships with with queens. And without missing a beat. She said there was solid, solid sisterhood soulmates forever and ever. And she just rattled off this kind of List of synonyms. And I was like, I just had me beaming because I was like this just so sweet. And two of her best friends was sitting in the room next door to us when we were talking. And just like how strong those friendships Yeah, and that made me feel and that made me reflect on the friendships I do have with trans people and like some of the people closest to me, and or just other queer people and how important those and how I do hope that their friendships for life and I think they will be because I am seeing them form in the same kind of way that dance friendships formed out of the same kind of background, if that makes sense of, of queer people sharing their experiences with each other and helping each other. Yeah, so that's that's been the nicest thing. I think the thing that's resonated the most

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