Article Title:Deb Stanaway on being out 'Down South'
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:16th October 2006 - 12:00 pm
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Story ID:1452
Text:Deb Stanaway Originally from Christchurch, former radio newsreader Deb Stanaway lived in Auckland for 16 years. This year she and her partner Beth moved back to Christchurch. We had to ask: Is there much going on for us gays Down South? Where do you live now, and why did you decide to move? I'm living in Christchurch, in St Albans. Beth (my partner of almost 12 years) and I made the decision to move last October with the intention of it happening in Spring or Summer (who in their right mind would move to Christchurch in Winter?) but it all accelerated when her sister and father became ill. So we moved in a hurry, and just as well … her sister has since died and we're managing her parent's lives - so our lives have been pretty busy! AND it was the coldest firking winter on record. What are you doing for a job down there? Well I pretty much killed my newsreading career with the move! But that was all part of the plan. I'd wanted a career change for a few years and somehow it felt like Christchurch was where that was going to happen. It took nine weeks for me to slow down out of Auckland pace and into Christchurch pace and three months to find the right job. I'm a Radio Tutor at Aoraki Polytechnic's Christchurch campus. I'm also the Radio Coordinator, which involves coordinating the other tutors and administrative stuff. I feel like my brain has gone from 60k's an hour to 120k's, and I'm on a steep learning curve but I'm loving it. Deb(L) and Beth(R) - Mainland, NZ So is there much for gay/lesbian people to do down there? Stunningly little. There's a great gay club called Ministry - not many women go. We've been here nearly seven months and a woman's night started there a couple of months ago. And that's it! Other than that I've noticed 'groups' advertised. Walking groups etc. See, that sounds like a cup of tea to me, and I'm a short black girl. The upside to nowhere to go? Lots of spontaneous parties at home. And I've learned the art of feeling content to stay home and watch a DVD. The Drag Oscars are set to be huge again this year in Christchurch. What's your involvement? I'm MCing with Miss Ribena. I'm honoured to be involved, although the crowd are going to look up and think, "Who's that?" so maybe I should borrow one of Ribena's outfits… I've been to one Drag Oscars before and I couldn't believe how many gays and lesbians there were -hundreds. So I started talking to the women and asking what the scene was like and not one of them ever went out! Just the Oscars and the Lesbian Ball. It's a wonder that didn't put me off shifting here. So did you make the right move Ms Stanaway? Absolutely. I'm very happy. Been on a roller coaster since we arrived but it's been rich and it's real. We were in a rut in Auckland. And I've always thought we're just like plants - if we're not growing, we're dying. See Deb Stanaway on stage with Miss Ribena at the 24th annual Drag Oscars - this Sunday 22 October, at Christchurch's Civic on Manchester Street.     Matt Akersten - 16th October 2006
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