Article Title:Being 'gay' isn't our candidates' only qualification
Category:Comment
Author or Credit:Doreen Agassiz-Suddens
Published on:7th July 2007 - 02:51 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:4621
Text:Doreen Agassiz-Suddens Is Maryan Street implying that we should consider not voting for openly gay candidates who might only be interested in gay issues? Should they stay closeted? Recently I wrote a column for GayNZ.com about the lesbian and gay members who are standing for the local government elections. Such as Lindsey Rea, Bruce Kilmister, Christopher Dempsey, and Leigh Kennaway who are all standing for positions at the next election in my hometown of Auckland. They are all gay and proud of the fact, but they are also passionate about many other issues. Lindsey is knowledgeable in many areas from railway stations, Eden Park, refugees, and anything else that you care to name. She also has two Master's degrees, one in Planning Practice, and the other in Environmental Legal Studies. The same is true of the other candidates, Leigh has a deep understanding of conservation and ecological concerns, Christopher is very focused on planning issues, and has a Master's degree in Planning, and Bruce is extremely concerned with the plight of HIV + people. All have had many years of experience between them on Community Boards, and Lindsey has spent the last three years as a Board chairperson. So is Maryan implying that we should consider not voting for them because they say they are gay and therefore will only be interested in gay issues? Perhaps she would have preferred that they stay closeted! No doubt she is saying ‘don't vote for gay people just because they are gay' in generic terms, but as Lindsey, Bruce, Christopher, Leigh, and Tony Milne in Christchurch, have so far been the only openly gay people, that I know of, saying they are to stand in the elections I can only assume they are the target of her column. I too was in receipt of the flurry of emails about giving support to gay local body candidates and was angry that it was obvious that very little homework had been done by some of the correspondents about the candidates mentioned otherwise they would have been more supportive of them and not implied that they were only putting themselves forward because they are gay. Yes I know we should not be voting for people just because they are gay and could turn out to be ‘one trick ponies' in the same way we should not vote for others just because they are women, young, or any other category. It is the depth of understanding on many issues that is important. So I would expect the gay and lesbian community to take a good look at everything else our candidates are saying before voting, and by doing so will find that Lindsey, Bruce, Christopher, Leigh and Tony are more than capable to work on any issue they are confronted with, and to deal with it. I am upset and saddened that Maryan and others seem to be undermining hard working, concerned, and experienced citizens who have put themselves forward for election and who, like themselves, just happen to be gay and will openly say so. Note: Doreen Agassiz-Suddens is the partner of Community Board Member and Auckland City Council candidate Lindsey Rea. Doreen Agassiz-Suddens - 7th July 2007    
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