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35th anniversary panel discussion on homosexual law reform [AI Text]

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Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, people of every shape, size and sexual orientation, Gender identity, iwi and tax code. Welcome to the 35th anniversary of homosexual law reform. Thank you all for being here to celebrate [00:00:30] with us this morning. On this day 35 years ago, Parliament voted 49 to 44 to pass the law reform bill. My name is Judy O'Brien. I was born to Catholic parents three years before law reform. At the time, the path to law reform was brutal and divisive. Opponents of the bill were fired up and mean they used [00:01:00] AIDS to make the argument even harder and meaner and to condemn gay people. Uh, opponents described the bill as the thin end of the wedge. They knew that homosexual law reform was about more than just sex, that it was about a shift towards a more inclusive accepting society. And they didn't like that at all. 15 years ago, I attended a conference for queer students [00:01:30] for the 20th anniversary of homosexual law reform. I stood on the steps of Parliament and kissed my new boyfriend in public for the first time today, I'm legally married and legally female. A proud, pansexual transgender woman. This room is full of queer people full of heroes and quero allies who continue to strive for better outcomes for people with diverse sexual orientation, [00:02:00] gender identity and expression and sex characteristics. This is what the thick end of the wedge looks like. But we can get much thicker. Yes. Today we celebrate our rights to live freely our rights to love our rights. To express that love. We celebrate inclusion. [00:02:30] The flags that we raised this morning are a signal that our society has progressed. That we say yes to love that we say yes to freedom and that we are all included here, especially in parliament. 9.2% of our parliamentarians are queer and that is a world record. So thank you for being here. Thank you for the work that you did to get us here. [00:03:00] But we have much more to do. We have three wonderful panel panellists joining us this morning. Um, Dame Fran Wild, the right honourable Trevor Mallard and Mr Kevin and I'd like to hand over to Dame Fran to share some reflections with us on homosexual law reform and your time. Thank you are these [00:03:30] They are on. Um um, and members of the diplomatic corps ministers MP and all your fabulous people. And I don't know how to say all you fabulous people in, but I learned shortly, Um, thank you all for [00:04:00] being here for the celebration today. Um, this, uh, is now part of the history curriculum in A and I am frequently approached by young secondary school students or their parents. Sometimes you know me and say, would you do an interview? And it makes me feel really old being part of the history. We used to be 10 66 and all that when I was in school. I actually was born also to [00:04:30] Catholic parents, but I was 30 something when this was happening. Um, So, um, when I offered to sponsor the bill, I really had no idea what it would what it would end up being like, uh, I should have thought about it a bit more deeply. It wouldn't have changed my view or my, um, response. But nonetheless, I might have been better prepared. Uh, I wasn't very well prepared for it. Um, I just want to talk a little bit about [00:05:00] the strategy that we used because this is very important for other issues as well. So, um, this was actually about changing public opinion. And what we had was a public that had been brought up to think of, um, gay men in particular, but also lesbians, um, as being, um, perverted child molesters. That's that was the stereotype that that that a lot of [00:05:30] New Zealanders had. So this was a public education campaign. Um, we needed the public in certain electorates to understand, uh, what this huge human rights black hole meant for New Zealand and to give their members of parliament permission to vote for it. When the bill was introduced in those days, they had, um what I would call a gentleman's agreement. And it was a gentleman's agreement because there weren't many women in Parliament. It was mainly men. [00:06:00] Still, um, that any private members Bill, as they were called then, was always given a first reading. So it was nothing was voted down on the first reading. It was given a sporting chance, and then it would disappear forever in the select committee. And at the time it was given the sporting chance we knew that we had 19 votes. Absolutely. That would see us take. That would go right through to the third reading, which wasn't very many. Certainly wasn't enough. So all [00:06:30] we then divided the MP S into different groups. So they were the ones that were lost causes. We would never get them to vote for us. We didn't worry about them. We did later on, actually, when? And I'll tell you a little bit in a minute. Um, but mainly we focused on those in the in. The middle group that we knew probably wanted to vote for it, but were too scared politically to do that. So we focused on them. And it was those electorates that we focused. The campaign on campaign was massive, many people and I want to acknowledge this, particularly [00:07:00] in the, um in the gay and lesbian community had for many years struggled with the, uh, the issue of, um, homosexual law reform and legalisation. And there had been many other attempts. And there were also a lot of liberal groups that were, um, also, um, behind the issue, and much work had been done for our campaign. We needed to bring all those groups together plus [00:07:30] find other allies. So we went to the religions, the religious groups that were supportive. We went to health people. Uh, we went to education people. And, um, we put together groups and did had and work programmes in the electorates of the MP S that we were targeting. Uh, and we needed, uh, the opinion leaders in those electorates to actually say to those MP S, it's OK for you to vote for this bill. Actually, we want you to. So, uh, it was actually a public education [00:08:00] campaign. And, uh, we wanted to change the 19 members who we knew were core supporters up to what we needed to actually get it through. We ran the campaign out of the whips office. My caucus had made the terrible mistake of making me one of their whips, um, to keep me out of cabinet, which actually was good, because had I been in cabinet, I wouldn't have been able to do this bill. So actually, in retrospect, it was probably quite a thing, and the whips office was also very [00:08:30] handy. Um, it gave me a lot of information that I needed. Um, but we ran a campaign out of there, and, uh, it was kind of like conducting the orchestra, you know? Not just for what we were talking about in Parliament and maybe to our colleagues, but what was happening around the country. Um, there was a massive media campaign, um, radio, print, media, television, when we could speeches, meetings, rallies. I didn't go to rallies because it was thought unsafe. Um and, [00:09:00] um, generally getting out as much as we could. There was no social media, and I say hallelujah to that. I mean, don't get me going on social media. It's such a destructive thing. I think now, particularly for young people. And we did not have to contend with social media, which made it much easier. Actually, I can't imagine it wasn't an easy campaign, but it would have been inestimably harder had we had social media. Um, the idea was to change the stereotype view of gay men and [00:09:30] the, um, what we needed was visibility. The real heroes of this campaign were the gay men who came out during the campaign. They were criminals. Um, many of them would have been in danger of losing their jobs. Um and losing their friends and a whole lot of other sanctions. But they knew that New Zealanders needed to know who they were recording, recording in progress. So, um, they were the They were the heroes of [00:10:00] the campaign because they actually put their, um, their often their jobs and their personal safety on the line to come out. And I just want to pay a tribute to them because that was really what was important for us at the time. Uh, yes, there were AIDS had emerged, and the anti used that as a reason for not doing gay law reform. We used it for as a reason for doing it because we knew that gay men would not present that health for health checks if they were criminals. So [00:10:30] every time the bill was in the house, which was every Wednesday for a long, long time, we needed to make sure all our votes were there. Uh, it was exhausting. Frankly, um, and, um, this was a cross party issue. This was not a labour party thing. There were people in the Labour Caucus who voted against it, and there were many nets who were very supportive of it. And I particularly want to acknowledge Catherine O'Regan, who did a lot of work. Um, so I one of the [00:11:00] things about being whipped was that I ran the leave book, so I knew who was going to be away. Um, and that was really helpful. And, um, we organised for the anti to be invited to obscure places in New Zealand every Wednesday. No, I'm not. I'm not sure whether they realised what was going on after they'd been invited to, you know, the Far north or Stewart Island or something on a Wednesday, Funnily enough to talk to some local [00:11:30] group. And, of course, uh, we always could find, um we always managed to give them a pair with somebody on our team who maybe wasn't going to vote for it either, but might have wanted a night off. So it was. I can say that now, a long time has passed. It was pretty handy, actually. Um, so the committee stages were probably the most difficult, because that was when um, I haven't even talk. I won't even talk about the petition, but the committee stages were were pretty ghastly. [00:12:00] And that was when they tried to change the words. And one of the big issues, of course, is the age of consent. And a lot of MP S who were kind of not quite there, said, Oh, well, if you just change it to 18 or 20 I'll vote for it. I went back to the gay community and said, Um, you know, this is what I've been told and they said, No, 16 or nothing, it's got to be absolutely equal. And I came back and said to my parliamentary colleagues at 16, and interestingly in the committee stages, the people opposed [00:12:30] to the bill voted for 16 for an age of consent because they thought that nobody would, in their right mind, would vote for a third reading for the bill with the age of consent of 16. So we got what we wanted in terms of the age of consent. Thank you. Um, all those people. Um, so the other thing was the I suppose I should talk about the petition. It was the most terrible time, and they had this kind of Nuremberg rally on the streets of on the on the steps of parliament, which actually worked against them [00:13:00] because people said, Oh, my God. You know, we've got this in New Zealand. Kids in uniforms, religious hymns, Um, you know, kind of almost military overtones. It was really, really bad. And, um, they they said they had. How many? You're gonna talk about this? I suppose you can talk about the petition. So many 100,000 biggest petition ever. But Trevor led a group of people who went through every single page, and we found many of them were just fraudulent. [00:13:30] Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse sign signed many times. And that, of course, was people who had been forced to sign in a group. And they didn't want to, but they just signed any old name. Um, but I I Look, there's so much to talk about. I just want to acknowledge people who I worked with. Um, there were a number of there were gay active groups in, um, the big cities and Auckland did, uh, they were very helpful. They, um I was up in [00:14:00] Auckland a lot because it was still even then was the biggest population centre a lot of electorates. Um, and they also raised money for the campaign. I have to say which was very helpful. Wellington, this is really classic. It's like Auckland and Wellington. Wellington were more, um you know, uh, intellectual and about their approach. They provided a lot of the material that we used. OK, so we had librarians, Phil and others, and and And they they they kind of ran there. And the Auckland and Wellington groups didn't always [00:14:30] see eye to eye. But that's how Auckland and Wellington are. Um, we also had, um, other groups in the community. Look, I can't mention them all. They were fantastic all around the country, and I particularly want to acknowledge people in small rural areas because it was really tough for them. Um uh, in Parliament, Trevor and Ruth Dyson, who wasn't in parliament then, uh, we actually the key people who ran the campaign, and we had a a number of our colleagues [00:15:00] who are really staunch supporters. Um, anne um Judy Keel. Um, where are you? Just talked about Judy outside? Yes, Thank you. Thank you very much too. And all. I just Look, I'm not gonna talk about everybody, um, but I do want to mention, as I said before, Catherine O'Regan who later on, um got through the human rights side of the bill, which many MP S voted against as a kind of insurance policy. They thought, Well, we have to vote for legalisation, [00:15:30] but with human rights side isn't so important. Well, of course it is. So we vote against that. So Catherine took up that. Have we got to where we want to yet? No, we haven't. Um, we actually, um I think are much more tolerant than we used to be. And and and And I mean, the make up of the parliament now is tribute to that. But frankly, um, we are far from being, um, instinctively tolerant. I think in a lot of [00:16:00] areas, OK, and I, particularly at the moment, think we have to do something, um, more organised. And this means the state in schools. I think kids are still being picked on and bullied, and it's really tough for them. Uh, when we did this, we didn't see many trans people. You know, we talked about the lesbian and gay community, which is what I've talked about. Now it's LGBT Q I et cetera the alphabet. And I can't I don't [00:16:30] know all the letters now But we realise now that much more. I think that sexuality is just a spectrum. And, um, you know, people should be able to be what they want to be. But, um, I think kids are still having a really tough time. And I would say to all your members of Parliament here, there's one thing you can do The kind of legacy of gay law reform would be to look at the education system and see how kids are treated. Um, when they're going [00:17:00] through these and it's bad enough as it is, teenage years and younger finding out who you are. But if you've got other issues as well and and the kids around you are not accepting, then I think that must be really hard. So I just want to thank everybody. Um, I want to finish with Des because Dez came into the office to help. He was one of many people that came in. Am I allowed to tell you a story, dear? Deers came in and, um, to help. He was a builder, and, um, [00:17:30] he came in and we had a lot of people on every night just doing all of this. Uh, we had thousands of letters. I signed out up to all the people envelope stuff, and you know what it's like. And, um, finally, one day, somebody said, Des wants to say something to you, and des was told me that he was actually gay, and I said, Oh, I had always just assumed that. And, you know, So this was kind of what happened. People [00:18:00] were So even before the bill went through, um, I think it was starting to make a difference. But I do want to acknowledge those guys who came out publicly. A lot of them were in, um, public, uh, roles. And actually, it made a huge difference. So, um, thank you all for celebrating this morning. Um, 35 years does seem a long time ago. Uh, but actually, there is still more to do, So we we haven't finished yet. [00:18:30] You said before that somebody had to do it, so thank you for being that somebody uh Kevin, Uh, you are an archivist. You have a a wealth of knowledge of history. What do you have to share with us this morning? Um [00:19:00] welcome, everyone. Uh, K. Yes, Archivist. I'm not too sure about that. Um, but I'm here for reasons I'm not entirely sure why, but I am, uh, chair of the lesbian and gay archivist of New Zealand. And I'm involved with, um uh, Trust LGBTI community organisation. [00:19:30] The elements that that I actually wanted to concentrate on in terms of my response to today was actually to acknowledge that the homosexual law reform was a key step. I believe in LGBTI Rainbow Communities are helping New Zealand to determine the society that we live in today. And I think that's a really important, um, legacy [00:20:00] that the, uh, people who enabled that change, um, left for us. You know, I think it's, um there are so many changes that are happening within New Zealand. But I also, you know, we celebrated this morning at breakfast. These are all things that have occurred since 35 years ago. Uh, and what I wanted to acknowledge was that [00:20:30] at the time of home sexual law reform according to what I understand, you know, New Zealanders were really challenged by the ethics and the morals of the society that we live in because we all come from different cultures and different ways of understanding what is right and wrong. Uh, and and so this, uh, reform taking away being discriminated as a homosexual challenged [00:21:00] individuals in our societies to think about them, um, very, very deeply. And those challenges, uh, I believe, opened up pathways for us, for our rainbow communities to start shining. So I look around the room today and I see our intersex community. I see our trans community. I see our gay community. I see our bisexual community. I see our community and I see all the other cultures [00:21:30] that make up, uh, our rainbow communities. Uh, our other, um, cultures within New Zealand are being tested around the morals and the ethics that each of us have been brought up with. And I guess the challenge going forward for, uh, our society is for government to help us, to work out a way of coming together in living with a common standard [00:22:00] that is, that is attainable for everyone and equal for everyone here. And so I think that's my message also to as New Zealand to to the world. That's what we bring. That's the nuance that we bring in terms of our society. And I think It's something that we need to share with our Pacific neighbours and help um, them to determine the types of societies that they want to aspire towards, [00:22:30] um, in the future. So, you know, there's lots of things going on at the moment that reflect the changes in our society. The Birth Deaths and Marriages Act, Human Rights Act, reform, um, terrorism, uh, act or, you know, all of those things that are that our rainbow communities are helping to shine a light on what is good and what is not too good from our perspective. [00:23:00] Those are the legacies, I believe, that have come from this reform. And, uh, and it's, uh it was hugely important. Uh, played a hugely important role as a step for our society to develop, and I acknowledge and applaud all of those who are involved. We weaving in complexity and nuance. Uh, where are [00:23:30] you going to take us from here, Trevor? Well, I I'm in relatively familiar territory because I've spoken after Fran. And generally what happens is there's an agreement about who's saying what which Fran ignored. It's not true. There is no agreement, Mr. Speaker. Um, so I, I think I just want to make a few points. And the the I think the first point that I'll make is that, you know, again, [00:24:00] AAA younger member of parliament. A younger person from a quite a conservative family background, Um, and someone without the gaar that, um, Fran, uh, has, um So I managed to spend a lot of my early part of my life just totally unaware of the fact of some of the people around me were gay. And and [00:24:30] that's and and And probably that was added to by a couple of, um, individuals Who, um who sort of I had contact with over the years. My father for a short time was a teacher in There was a young man he taught there, called Trevor Rope. Um, and and, uh, later, when [00:25:00] he was a very conservative share broker, wandering down Willis Street quite often with a group of friends and sometimes with me, Carmen would wave from the other side of the road and say Hi, Colin. I haven't seen you for a long time, which tended to cause a, um, a bit of a commotion. And And those who know Carmen know that Cameron wasn't quite, um, [00:25:30] And And there's another link there, too. And that, um even after I was married, I was still under age for going to the pub. But we went to the pub anyway. And the place that the only place basically you could go after the pub in Wellington those days was the balcony, uh, which had really good music groups and really good dancers. And it was only about on about the fourth time that I went there [00:26:00] that I, uh, understood the fact that they struck teasers were not women. Um, and one of the people there was Georgina and and so, you know, I. I just want a bit of forgiveness for being 35 years ago, subject to, um some stereotypes which were not, you know, weren't quite there. Um, I say just a little [00:26:30] bit about the I. I was one of those marginal seat MP S one of the in those days. We didn't have lists. You people were voted in and out, and we're all told that we were you know, not only going to go to hell but lose our seats as well. Uh, by by groups of people, we had a lot of pressure at home. I had, uh, by then a four and five year old because the campaign went on for about 18 months. Um uh, child, we did. No one had cell phones in and no one had answer machines. [00:27:00] Um, people answered the phone, and my baby would answer the phone, and people would say just obscene things to her, and it was just awful. We got the solution in the end, and it involved a whistle, and we and we gave her a list of words, and if anyone said any of those words, she blew this high pitched whistle in the phone and we worked out There must have been a limited group of people, Uh, because those phone calls dropped away, [00:27:30] Um, over a over a period of time. Um, I mean, Fran indicated you know, some of the, uh, the the tactics, I My role was mainly to do numbers. Um, I worked as an accountant. I knew how to do. We didn't have proper computers for spreadsheets in those days. We had division lists and coloured felt to pens. [00:28:00] Uh, and we had series and series and series of these on the different, uh, on the different issues. And it was my job to do to do numbers, because I'm thinking our friend is in charge of she's in charge of our pay, but friends, friends never been good at numbers. You know, She she she was, um she was a very optimistic person. Um, and and and at times, we did need to, you know, be absolutely realistic to make [00:28:30] sure that we that we were going to get the numbers. Um, the It became obvious quite early, Um, that the human rights part of the bill would not succeed, as Fran said later went through, um, sail through the parliament when Catherine O'Regan promoted it. I think six or seven years later, uh, and and and But what that meant was that, [00:29:00] um there was nothing in there, which was of any assistance to the lesbian community at all. So after after that, it was sort of it was, like, good will on the part of the lesbian community that helped keep the coalition going together. And I think that was something which was, you know, incredibly appreciated, um and and and not and not that straightforward, because you know, [00:29:30] like as I indicated, or I was talking to someone earlier, the, uh, Jane, maybe the the lesbian community was divided. Then, um, and and I'm told that it, uh well, I know that it still is on lots of lots of issues, lots of splits and divisions. Um, the Fran again indicated there was a number of people who, um voted for different ages for 18 and in and for 20. Um, some of [00:30:00] that was some of the people deeply believed in it, and and others saw that as a as a cover within the 18 and 20 voters, there were people who really wanted it to go through at 16, but felt like they could. This could be something that they could do to give a signal that they weren't quite as radical. Um, to their communities. Uh, and and so [00:30:30] there was, You know, there was a lot of There's quite a lot of people who would who tried to take some cover. Um, as we worked our way through that and that included some of those people, several of whom did it with our permission. No, we worked it through work with them. and we knew we had the numbers. And so we said, you know, in the interest of getting the legislation through overall in the package and people in good shape, [00:31:00] it was OK to do that in the committee stages, to vote, to vote for for 18, and for 20 came back, Um, for the for the third reading, Um, we knew absolutely. We were going to win by three. Fran had been told, and, you know, she kept on telling me, and I didn't rely on it that we were getting an extra one effectively were told [00:31:30] a proxy vote. There was someone who had organised someone who had not been voting in the general direction of passing the legislation through much of the legislation suddenly turned up in the eyes lobby, Um, on the on the night and that was, you know, that that made the difference between three and five, you know, plus one minus one. Um, we also had, uh, two, national members [00:32:00] of parliament, whose electorates were strongly opposed to it, But who had family members? Um, brothers, I think in both cases who were who were who were gay and they indicated that they were not prepared to see the legislation fail. They went to the end of the lobby and waited for a signal that the legislation was going to pass and then went and voted against [00:32:30] it. Um, so I think I think all of what I'm trying to say in this is that for people involved, it was It was hard. It was It was awful politics. Fran might have built communities around the country who were supportive. I don't think we ever got above 32% support in the polls for the passing of the bill. This was a bill that was at the time, not wanted [00:33:00] by the majority of New Zealanders. It was a it was a matter. It was a matter where Fran and and I think you haven't mentioned Michael Cullen, who was also Michael Cullen. Who who who was, um, acting involved Ruth? Ruth Ruth not only helped run the campaign, she sort of ran Fran's house in order to, you know, looked after the kids and made sure there was food and all of that sort of stuff to free Fran up [00:33:30] to do the work because Fran was the person who could convince people and that, and it freed Fran to do that. Uh, and then there was, uh Then there was Catherine Catherine O'Regan, who was the liaison into the, uh, into the national party. So I think I think for me, it was it was an education. Um, there's an education to how parliament worked. There's an education to people. Um, [00:34:00] but what has happened since the freedom to be oneself that has flowed from that for me has just been absolutely fantastic. Thank you. Thank you all for your for your wisdom, for your recollection. Uh, and for your calls to action, uh, we have time for maybe one or two questions if there are any questions [00:34:30] that anyone wants to shoot at our camp. Mr. Speaker, it sounds like you were, um, somewhat oblivious to the reality that the LGBT Q I community was facing at the time. And it was such a difficult and unpopular battle in the beginning. So how were you convinced to join and and fight for this community? Um, I'd I mean, I've followed the issue since 1975. You know, [00:35:00] um, Vin Young was, uh was an MP. I knew uh, Margaret. Really? Well, I knew Audrey, who actually works here. The the the for the herald. Uh, world And and And I think I was there intellectually. Um, you know, II. I knew the law was wrong and had to be changed and would have supported in 1975. It's just that I didn't think that I knew any gay people [00:35:30] that was a pretty general, actually, because people would you know it It is it. You know, I mean, I, um you know, I'm the grandfather of a couple of kids from a gay relationship or a lesbian relationship. Uh, and and and it's just it is It's hard to believe. Now, the way [00:36:00] you know, the world has changed, and and, um, there was some stuff, a lot of stuff that was hardly there at all. And then there was a whole world I didn't know about. So it's not only do we know about the world but more now, you know, Although, although I keep on learning um um, but but things have changed as well. And that was classic. Most New Zealanders didn't think they knew any gay people. Uh, they just [00:36:30] didn't and Then they suddenly found out that their son or their brother or in some cases, their husband or the guy they worked with or whatever all these people were gay. Oh, I mean, it was just that revelation. It was a revelation, actually, Or or or for me, or for me, the, you know, the the two women who lived in the corner house, Um, down the street from, you know, where I grew up, Um, weren't just flatmates, but I think I also wanted to add that, you know, it was a time [00:37:00] and struggle for, um that heralded the reclamation of traditions. So, you know, from a Maori perspective, gay people, there's been people have always been there, so, you know, it's just highlights the it highlights our history as well. And the struggles of, uh that comes with that. I think today the continued fight for recognition of transgender rights still [00:37:30] shows up every week where I meet people who say, Oh, you're the first trans person I've ever met. Now I am not that so we have tumbled. One more question. Um, um, I was just wondering, um, I for for anybody to answer this, but Um, just like, I'd like to hear your thoughts on how you think, Um, this this law is, like related to to, like, other colonial laws [00:38:00] in general. And how, like, yeah, like how? How like changing a law like that is is like it is like a Really? It is based on these, like colonial laws and, like, they're really throughout our whole culture here. So, yeah, I just like to hear your thoughts. I can say something about that. That's really important. Um, we knew that if we if we had not succeeded, then that wave of ultra conservative Christian [00:38:30] fundamentalism really, which was pushing the anti, would roll back a lot of the other laws that we had already managed to just move a little bit and have subsequently due to a whole lot of other people have moved a lot more. So women's rights, you know, there was there were huge issues then about things like rape and marriage and, you know, domestic violence, et cetera, And the same people who opposed gay law reform also opposed all of those changes. And [00:39:00] it was almost like, um, this was the pivot. I was looking back on it think our society was gonna go one way or the other, And thank God we went this way because, frankly, that opened the way for a lot of other things. But also, it meant that some things that we had already achieved were not pushed back. So there is a relationship. And the, um particularly the fundamentalist Christian lobby who were quite strong in the case of the law reform [00:39:30] bill, were funded from the US. And they had speakers over here, and it was a big campaign. They would have just moved in a big wave across a whole lot of other issues as well. And that would have set New Zealand society back hugely. So, um, for me, that was a later realisation during the campaign where I began to see that you know, there are other things at stake here, too, actually, um, and they were linked for sure, and that's about how society manages itself [00:40:00] and how it sees itself and what it wants its political leadership to do to reflect that. So it was really, really important. I think you can think of the opponents and you think Brian and then you think times 1000. You know, he he's a kind, compassionate soul compared with, uh, the the leadership, the evangelical leadership at the time, you know, [00:40:30] thank you very much. Thank you all for joining us. Uh, I'm going to now invite Doctor Elizabeth and Chris Bishop from our cross Parliamentary Rainbow Network to close the panel. And then we'll share a screening of the Rainbow Voices documentary. Yeah, OK, [00:41:00] I have heard Fran and Trevor speak many times over the 35 years since I was a young person with the megaphone leading our march in Dunedin against homosexual law reform. But it's very, very different hearing it now that I'm in Parliament and especially the strategies that so I've taken a lot of notes, um, and to thank, uh, our crew who's put this together and especially lewis' office who did most of the heavy lifting for this event? Uh, 35 [00:41:30] years is a really, really long time. But there are still people right now who are suffering massive discrimination. And so I just want to acknowledge that over this time that the sites of struggle have moved and that for a lot of us who are lesbian and gay who have come into a relatively privileged place in this society. We must We must put our energy and all our effort behind promoting the rights now of our Trans non-binary and, um, intersex. [00:42:00] This year is gonna be a tough year. This year is going to be a tough year for our we have and and I'm proud to say that. And it says in the record books that the two biggest petitions in this country were the ones for the homosexual reform, both of them completely unverified. I'm proud that in this country now, it was our conversion therapy, uh, petition with nearly 100 and 60,000, uh, signatures in one week. [00:42:30] That is the official verified, uh, largest petition of all time in this country. Now, this year, we're looking at conversion therapy legislation we're looking at and marriages, um, Relationship Registration Act. A lot of ugliness is gonna come up again, and we need to really, really support the efforts, especially I look at IN not funded that, but they are holding up the voice of of intersex in this country and around the world. So it's like we those of us who have flash [00:43:00] jobs. Think about where you want to make donations. Think about how you can help. Uh, we need to make sure. And I think if we can get the homosexual law, um, not the the Human Rights Act amended to acknowledge the rights of people with diverse genders, uh, gender expression, gender identity, and sex characteristics in there. Preferably not in the context of hate speech. I prefer that we looked at this and the rights of our people in the context of health and well being and and based on Waitangi that acknowledges the [00:43:30] in this country. So having said all of that, I had to get that all out. Um, thank you all for coming. Um, and I'll pass you to do whatever you want. I don't know why. I don't think I need one. hey, can I just start by acknowledging Lua? Um who's, uh, one of the co-chair of the Rainbow Network with Elizabeth and myself and also her office. But also we and the team from Parliament. We've got the chief executive [00:44:00] here as well. Great to see you here. Um, is it my job, uh, along side E to really thank the pan for their insights. Um, and Elizabeth talks has talked about some of the other battles that are to come because, you know, I, I was, uh, four in 1986 and three and four in 1986 and seven. And it's astonishing to to look back. Um, you know, 35 years ago, I've read the I'm a bit of a parliamentary geek. I've read the I've read the [00:44:30] debates. I've I've seen the the history books and, um, you know, I've only been an MP for 6.5 years now, and I just can't imagine uh, the, uh What it would have been like back in the eighties. I. I actually just can't imagine. I mean, 800,000 people allegedly, you know, signed the, um, signed the petition. Um, back then, um, you know, the the the speaker talked about the the names, the made up. But you know that that's a lot of people. [00:45:00] Um, and it's not a perfect analogy by any stretch of the imagination at all, but I think about the battles in the last parliament around euthanasia. Um, which was really tough for quite a few people. Uh, in the in this place. Um, obviously a very imperfect analogy, but I just made the point around the pressure that comes on people, um, in this place, who are the MP S? Um, the the emails and the phone calls and the social media and the, um [00:45:30] the, uh the hostility that comes towards people. Uh, and, you know, it would have been way worse, uh, back in the eighties, and so I just want to thank, uh, Trevor and Fran in particular for sharing their insights. And just with a view to the battles ahead that Elizabeth, uh, doctor Kerry care has made reference to. I think there's two insights that I took from the the presentations. The first was, um, bravery, that actually, uh, we're sent here [00:46:00] as MP S and representatives to ultimately do the right thing. And sometimes doing the right thing means going against what the vast majority of people want. And actually, to do that, you have to be brave. And I've just been reflecting on that a little bit. Um, because there's going to be a bit of bravery required from a lot of people, uh, in the community, but also, um in parliament in the next, uh, couple of years, I reckon. And the second thing is, um, just the importance of, uh, personal stories [00:46:30] being able to make a difference, Uh, in, uh, particularly when it comes to persuading MP S to do the right thing. Uh, personal stories and personal reflections, Uh, and personalising the debate, uh, really does make a difference. And I think that's something that, um, we're gonna have to think about in the next, uh, few months and a couple of years ahead. Um, I'll be there, uh, fighting hard alongside, um, doctor, uh, and and the rest of the cross party radio network. 35 [00:47:00] years is a long time, Uh, and we've come a long way, but there's still a long way to go. Um, so it's wonderful to have you all here at parliament and, uh, just, um, want to thank the panel for their insights and their reflections. Um, and thank you very much for your, um, back then. But also your continued work today. Thank you very much.

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AI Text:September 2023