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Glenda Gale - homosexual law reform

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride nz.com. Glenda, you were involved in the activities leading towards having sexual Laura form. And you were living in Wellington at that time. Can you tell us how you became to be involved in those activities? [00:00:19] I sort of tempted to say, Well, how could you not be involved, but I guess there were people that weren't, I always feel it out. While I was very out, and had been out and about, and Wellington for quite a long time. I was in my early 30s. And it seemed to be a no brainer to me to be involved in this. I mean, some people may have felt that because it was largely about the legalization of male homosexuality, you know, what did it have to do with women, and some women did think that, but also, particularly once we had the sort of the human rights aspect as well, I mean, you'd be stupid, somebody would be really stupid not to support trying to ensure that both of those pieces legislation went through. And of course, you know, I had gay male friends as well. But, but I think everybody that I knew, pretty much saw that this, this affected us. All. [00:01:12] Right. Were you involved in political things at that time anyway, [00:01:17] I can't remember particularly at that time, but I had been involved in political things over the years. I mean, I started when I was about probably about 20 hours involved in gay liberation. So that was very important to me, and went and did quite a lot of public speaking with gay liberation groups, went to speak to the police went to some church groups, things like that. So I quite liked that kind of aspect. So with anything for me, it's always that I liked it to be very personal. That's how I operate rather than writing submissions and things which are all very important. I know, but they're never been my thing. [00:01:55] So prisoners, and you would rather talk to someone who's whether with people, and [00:02:01] absolutely, and I think that I'm always hopeful that even in some of the worst situations that by making some sort of a personal approach, that sometimes that had time, right, and it's hard to people, I mean, obviously, some people do not going to change their attitudes. But I think sometimes if you can put a personal face on whatever it is, it helps, right? [00:02:22] What were some of your successes, taking that personal approach and the gay liberation [00:02:27] side? Well, that had been, as I say, going out to speak to different groups. And I mean, I can remember going out to speak to the police college, we were a mixed group of men and women. And we went out there. And it was really interesting, because you got a measure of some of the people and one of the guys who was in charge, I mean, it was horrendous. He said at the end, or I think gay men, we should put them on an island and shoot them and lesbians I'd like to watch. And that's what this means see it right in front of his young recruits and everything. Having said that one of the women came up later in sort of told this, how brave she thought we were and that she was in the closet. So I always just felt it didn't matter. You get the horrible stuff, and you get to get the people you never change. But maybe you just touch somebody. And I'm always hopeful that it made a difference to here. [00:03:13] Yeah, yeah. So when you were doing those activities, that was part of a gay liberation, [00:03:20] that wasn't part of gay liberation group. [00:03:23] whatsoever. Other people were involved in that group was a large group or [00:03:27] every sort of size. It was I mean, some of the names are still around. Now. We had an event at the National Library a few weeks ago. And I actually ran into at least one person who was involved in that as well. So it was a mixed group of men and women, I think, at that stage, possibly more men than women. Most of us were quite young. And I think it was also quite exciting. You know, you go out there, and you put your pink triangle badge on and you see the I'm Korea, and it was still a little bit shocking to people because we're talking the, I guess, sort of early 70s. And I was at Teachers College, and it was still raised eyebrows. And I liked that aspect. I think it's good for people to be shocked. [00:04:11] Yeah, yeah, it really is. So in the event you're talking about a few weeks ago, was logins? Yes. making history. That's [00:04:19] great. Yeah. Yeah. [00:04:21] So so being part of that group mixing with with the guys as well. Was it helpful in terms of leading you into working on the homosexual or [00:04:29] for Well, I mean, that was quite a few, there was quite a few years difference. And then between that I was quite more involved in lesbian groups later on. But I've always felt that link, I mean, in a, in the broader sense of the queer community, the first queer people live, and you were drag queens. So for me, there's always these these links where we do fit. And even if we've got different agendas, sometimes so for me, you know, and having known some of the game, and of course, that felt like, there is a connection here, and I want to support them. [00:05:03] And how did you meet the drag queens [00:05:06] going to come as copper land and my girlfriend at the time and I went there, we've been taught, we've read about it, or we've been told about it, and we sort of went and were really scared. And they were very kind and we got toasted sandwiches. And then I don't know, that was the first night I think it was the first night these two women came up to us and said, Oh, are you Libyans or they probably said gay girls or something. And we see these and they, they were quite drunk. And they said, we'll come back next week, and we'll take you to the gay bar because we didn't know where the gay bar was. We were also under age. Now. When we thought all know, they'll never come back because they're actually quite drunk. Next week, they were came back and they took us think he took he took he was one. And so that was the kind of entree and into a very much in a queer world, you know, at the pub at the Royal Oak. It was very mixed men and women, the end of different bars for different kinds of people, I guess. And we will drink in the tape and bar mainly. And so that was my entree into a sort of the queer Society of Wellington particular [00:06:13] or an entree. [00:06:15] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So say thank you Turkey, it was you know, because in those days, in particular, it was very, very difficult to find it weird people go, you know, weird people go. And we found out that, you know, you went to the pub, usually on a Friday night. And then by the time it was really close in time, somebody would say, our party at my place, or somebody else's place, we didn't even know and then you'd all traipse off over there after the pop [00:06:40] around. And what what memories Do you have of the late 70s, early 80s, perhaps of, of people not being so accepting of you being lesbian? [00:06:53] In the sort of late 70s, early 80s, I lived in the valley, and I was totally immersed in. [00:07:00] And lesbian culture. And by that stage, I would say, and so I actually, other than having to go to work. I didn't mix in straight society almost at all. So it was quite insular. And I surrounded myself with people who were the same as me, grow politically active as well, yes, I guess so not as much as perhaps some and again, one of the things I did in the end, I can't remember the exact date. But I had a little coming out group going at one stage, it was the first iteration of a group that took off again later on called breathing space. Because I always felt very, very strongly that although I appreciated, we've got this little closed, more British close community that we live in, and we're safe, and we enjoy each other's company. And all it was marvelous things. But I always felt that it was often made very difficult for women to come out. And we made it hard. And I never could understand. You know, even if it was hard for us, why did it have to be hard for the next ones that came along? [00:08:05] What were we doing to make it [00:08:08] I just think we were no bridges for people who particularly hadn't decided that was the hardest thing or didn't know, there was no safe place for women to explore the sexuality and the sense of talking, I've got these feelings. What does this mean? So there was a there was lesbian line. And but I'm thinking that the script may have started just prior to that when there was a kind of a more of a gay line. And people would rang. And, you know, to invite people to come to a meeting. And also there were women around who, you know, had been around for a while, but he still had questions. So I can remember a number of meetings where they came to my house, and we discussed things, we talked about things. And it was that thing to try and say what does in this space, you don't have to say I am anything, you can come up and talk about what it is that's wiring you or what you want to know. And nobody's going to jump on you and say that's a stupid question, or how dare you ask that question. That was the kind of environment that I tried to create. And there was a wonderful film that came out at that time. It was called Wooters out. It was an American film where they introduced and interviewed a whole lot of lesbian and gay men. And it was for me, it was really revealing film. And we managed to get a copy of that somehow. And we showed it on a video, I think. And we had a discussion about it afterwards. So that sort of thing that just to try and make a space for women to talk about how they were feeling. How are you advertising the game that really was more word of mouth at that stage later on? And it would have been, I've lost track of the years a little bit. But in the 90s, the Darrell Walker and I resurrected that group again. And that was advertised this be online provided us with some of the people that came to that, and some people reached us word of mouth as well. We're now able to advertise in the newspaper. I'm trying to remember that's terrible, isn't it? I think mostly it came through this bin line. Yeah, I think that's mainly because it was in my home. So I don't think I in that iteration. I didn't advertise my home phone number in the earlier one. In fact, sometimes the phone number was put out on posters. So you got all these terrible phone calls. Not all of them. Welcome [00:10:34] are really the greatest thing. Yeah, [00:10:36] that's it. That's right. But I was pretty young and tough data, I didn't really care. [00:10:43] So if people were hanging out with us and meet with them first and the years, especially [00:10:46] in the second iteration of the group, that was very much the case that people would ring and would offer to meet up. And then I would go and describe how I might look at that the funniest thing was there was one person that we just held with last about this later, sit on Meet you in the cafe or outside of cafe, you'll recognize me because I have my team speed with me. And apparently, this poor person spent a very long time wondering what this thing might be, of course, it was a bike. bike. [00:11:20] Exactly, this person had a rather interesting sense of humor. That's what she told me afterwards. [00:11:27] But so often it was this, you know, meeting in a cafe, some we're talking, and, and and if you know, the person felt that this was this little group for the and then they'd come along. I remember one night though, I got a phone call from someone saying that they were going to come. And then the person rang me and said, I'm driving around around the block, I'm too scared to come. And it was like being in the control tower at the airport. Now just come around the corner. Once more. Now you should see some packs there just just packed your catalog, it's all right, we're all here. And this piece is slowly kind of knocked on the door. [00:12:04] So you're the only one really offering it. [00:12:06] At that stage. She is a say two of us ran that group. And I wanted it so that, you know, what I discovered was that many women come into the group had come from marriages, and I had no experience at that. So I really felt that I needed someone who did. The other thing that we used to do was that in every second meeting, we would invite a speaker to come along. So for example, if I had someone in the group that was perhaps having religious issues, then we would try to get a speaker who had had a religious background, or if they'd had children, whatever, we try to match it up with positive stories and people how they had faced their issues. And and you know how their lives were now that sort of thing. And that was really because I mean, you know, as one person or two people running in the group, we can't representative release VM, that's not a possibility. But it was really helpful to women to hear that there were people had similar issues or just backgrounds to them. And that it was still possible to come through that and come out. And all the way through was nobody was ever asked, Are you at least being a you have to identify? The only thing we said was that if at some point, you realize that that was not your identity, then obviously you wouldn't want to stay in the group. And that was that that was up to the person to self select. Okay. [00:13:24] Did you run that during the years sort of around? [00:13:30] Not really know that probably it happened previously. And it happened post post that right? Yeah. [00:13:36] Why was it? [00:13:38] I think the first time it just kind of, you know, we hit a group of people that seem to want to come and then that kind of disappeared. And then for ages afterwards, there wasn't such a group. And I think somebody from lesbian line may have contacted me and said, Look, actually, we've got a need, you know, that people are women are contacting us. And we've actually got no way to see them. Yeah. And so that was really the thing. Oh, well, actually, if there's a need, and we continued the group for about six years, and the second iteration. And until it just seemed that there was not a need at that point that we stopped getting people being referred or wanting to come. I think things sort of relaxed more. And perhaps I don't know why they stopped. But so we decided at that stage to stop the group I understood. Some other people took the group on after they had started new sort of, but I don't know how long those went. [00:14:30] Right. So in the [00:14:33] late 19, say, 1984 98? Five, yeah. [00:14:38] How, how were you drawn into the activities like, like, well, I [00:14:46] guess you'd hear about them, you'd hear what was happening, what was on. And I think we're really quite protest minded. So it was good to get out there. I mean, I think many of us were just really angry, you know, had a and when you heard people, I think the thing that I found really quite tormenting was when you heard some of these absolutely horrendous things that were said about us things like, you know, these people should go back to the castle where they belong, or these people should be put on an island and shot. I mean, there was one minister, his name just escapes me at the moment. He certainly was saying that gay people should be killed. Now, these are extreme views, but when you hear them, I mean, either probably make some people run away. But father's that makes makes us angry. [00:15:29] Yeah. You have you were still in touch with your family or your family? Yes. Oh, yes. Yes, yes. What was the reaction to what was? I don't [00:15:40] I have my mother was really just my mom. And I don't think she had a particular interest in it, particularly, and I don't think I discussed it much with him. But one thing I did do, when it became very apparent, for example, that there was a petition to try and stop the bill going through. And I understood that, you know, there's petitions were being presented at churches and also sorts of things. I wanted to see again, what could I do on a really personal level. And so I wrote a letter. And I'm sorry, I meant to actually try and drag it out. But I haven't got it here. But I wrote a lease a very personal letter, and it was something around, you know, when you hear about law reform, when you are asked to sign a petition to stop this happening, you need to know that, you know, at least one queer person, and this may. So when you sign this petition, you assigning my human rights away, because this petition if you sign it, and and this whole reform process has stopped, it will mean that people will be able to throw me out of my accommodation, there's a potential for me to be thrown out of my job. And you must always remember that, you know, one person, you probably know more, but you know, at least one and that is May. So I wrote this letter, and I sent it to everybody I could think of straight away all I could think of I seem to to the staff of I had been a teachers. So a couple of the schools that I taught it, who knew me, people knew me well, and sent them out like it. [00:17:11] How many do you think you've seen? [00:17:13] I don't know, probably 20, or maybe something like that. It wasn't a huge amount, but I sent them out. And it just decided that that was one thing. Because you know, when people can put a face to someone, it I think it does tend to make a difference. [00:17:28] Did you hear back from anyone? [00:17:30] Um, no, I don't think I did. Really, I I did hear years later that one of the schools where I see that they were a bit shocked, and wasn't couldn't have been shocked that I was lesbian because they all knew this. But they were but I don't think people sort of in the mainstream, are used to people actually saying things like that. And I mean, I still think the in is possibly now hopefully lyst. Now, you know, this one thing about knowing about someone being queer and being told, and some people don't like this, you know, they think you should just be quiet. And you know, you can be what you like, but just keep it to yourself. And I think in those days, it was probably a lot more of that. So this was probably quite confronting for people. I think there were probably some people who also thought it was great. I can remember and I'm just try, I really can't think of the year. But it was before law reform. I can remember wearing I think it was a pink triangle when I had it on my jacket. And I worked the school where I was teaching, it must have been about 1979, something like that. So it was pre law reform. But I think there must have been something going on was why I wore it. And I remember the principal asked me where it was. And I told him, and he said, Oh, you give me one of those Oh, with it. Right? Well, and I can't remember whether I did in fact, give them one. But he said he would wear it and and he was not a game in. And so you got people sometimes and he was somebody that it was, I was really surprised. really surprised. But you know, you just sometimes you just don't know where your support comes from? [00:19:05] Yeah, exactly. [00:19:07] So with the, with you being involved in the activities, and Wellington, Wellington, we you in any particular form or groups? [00:19:19] Look, honestly, I can't remember but probably not. I don't know that many of them. Were there for a while I think that we came together with a need arose. I mean, I think there were calls of people that were causing people organize things, and I not wasn't usually one of those. I have someone that's slightly aversion to meetings. So I'm more likely, I mean, at least at something, you know, we're having a discussion, one to one discussion or things like that. But but but planning meetings and stuff like that I have an aversion to them, I always have and I still do. And so I'd be more likely to go along when something had been organized. [00:19:51] Right. So you weren't actively part of setting a task force? Oh, no, [00:19:55] no, I don't believe so. Not Know. So [00:20:00] who were you connecting up with to [00:20:04] get involved? largely it was the lesbian activities where they, you know, people from the other women in the community would have said, Oh, something's on and you know, the winners losers and things. So I would have found them out with that and gotten along, [00:20:16] right? Can you remember any particular events that you went, [00:20:20] there was a big match, and I effects spoke at the end of that it was a match that went right through the right through the city and ended up at pigeon Park. And there were thousands of people there. And I did speak again, I can't remember exactly what I said. But it but it would be definitely around this whole thing of freedom of, you know, having the right to be who we are. And not being you know, I mean, I think the whole thing that sometimes people don't understand or don't remember that, sure, the legalization of male homosexuality was very important. And but there was also the Human Rights aspect. Because leading up to those times people were afraid. And I can remember being really afraid, like when you went to get a fled, you know, did you look to queer? What would they say? And there were possibilities at times like that, where I'm sure people didn't get accommodation, because they they looked wrong. And there was a potential also to lose jobs. So I mean, there was a real fear about this. And this was an opportunity to think, well, we will be included in the human rights legislation, this has got to be positive. And so I think that, that that was one of one of the driving forces as well. [00:21:35] Did you ever experience yourself during that threat of leaving of losing a job or [00:21:40] No, but I was always really aware of being careful. So I, I was a teacher in the early 70s, mid 70s, really a primary school teacher, and you know, when you're a teacher, little kids, when you got little kids are like come and drape themselves all over in certain units. quite natural, lovely. But I was always really, really aware that what happens if somebody comes in the room and sees this? What will they think and and will I, you know, be in trouble. And, and another Instead, we're in the school where I had this pink triangle with the headmaster asked to wear it, there was a woman who was sort of the manager of the junior teachers. And her thing was she met complaints to other people that I had bought pink triangles to work and tried to force them on people, which was not the case at all. So you know, you had these kind of experiences. So for whatever reason, there were certainly people who were were hostile. But I didn't I had a really positive experience. I'm just trying to think what year it was. And it might have been around homosexual Law Reform time. I'm not absolutely sure. But I was in a flat, and the tenants upstairs were harassing me. And the owner of the flat was extremely supportive, and knew that I was a lesbian. And although she didn't say that to the other tenants, she just told the other tenants they had to be to behave otherwise, you know, they might be the ones that got thrown out. And and I can remember at that time being Oh, wow. So obviously, I did not have an expectation that a landlord will be particularly supportive of me as a person if they knew I was at least being but she didn't know. [00:23:33] But you weren't [00:23:34] or particularly closet? No, no, no, I wasn't, I totally wasn't. But but it was always that thing. If you went to go, you're getting a new slate, and you were going for an interview, it was always worried, gosh, what will I think what I look to career, or perhaps it's, you know, going for a job I remember. And the job that I have now, which I've had for nearly 30 years will various versions of it. Really, really quite harrowing thinking. When I went to go to the interview, I think I'm to look to career, because I wasn't gonna change it. I looked how I looked. But I was really, really concerned that that might have a negative effect on me. [00:24:14] Clearly, I didn't know you're looking at nice day. [00:24:17] I had to remain and so it's, you know, it's nearly 30 years ago, but you know, probably not, I don't know, short here to trousers, you know, you know, not when I look at I think all that's not that different. But when I compared with what the other staff members look like, then then you see cash, there was a difference. But the the work that I went into and the stiction that I went into, I was very interesting that we were wide variety of people. And I almost think that it may have been a positive attribute. Not that I was be the token lesbian, but that I would, I would join a team of people who would be sitting serving a wide variety of the public, right. And I think we had a very enlightened manager who saw that that was a that was advantageous. We had people of different races, we had people of different ages. And I think that he saw that that was a positive thing. [00:25:13] What sector were you working on a library, the library here? [00:25:17] So I think that was very enlightened. [00:25:24] Or bit that you weren't the only lesbian? [00:25:25] No, probably not. And I probably know, I couldn't possibly say, but I think it's it. I think it's a sick day. I mean, I think it's a sector that we're quite lucky to work. And I think that in general, the library sector is, is has been a fairly good refuge for queer people. Yeah, [00:25:46] yeah. So can you recall other events in the match? Yeah. Around summer sexual love. I [00:25:52] think the one that really stands out was I was went down, Lampton key one lunchtime, and there was a couple of people standing live with the petition. So and they were getting signatures, so I waited very patiently in line and got up to it. And then it took the the the clipboard to sign it and then disrupt as many off as I could talk them into pieces and stuff them down my trousers, and the two people it was a man and a woman who had the petition, they got me and they jammed my arms up behind my bed, and it broke my arms. And I had fingernail marks across my arms for days afterwards, they were really rough. And, and I told them, you know, if they tried to retrieve the torn up, I would hit them for salt, I probably could have hit them for salt anyway, but they hold the place. And the police said I needed to get the petition back. So I took it out and wrapped it up some more and gave it back to them. I was always very memorable. I love that. And periodically, I used to see at least one of the two people there had the petition on the bus and we just a little bit of pain. Tibet wasn't forwards. But yeah, I mean, thought, Well, you know, I'm going to fight back. I'm not going to just let them click the signatures. Good on you. I mean, I suppose some people would think that well, let's stop very democratic and people want to sign they should be able to sign but it was kind of it was necessary to make it a really loud protest about it. Yeah. And yeah, [00:27:14] and and the people around against lifting k did enjoy as he [00:27:18] did anything, they just sort of were looking as my memory serves me. But it was very interesting how quickly, these two people resorted to where I would have to call force and end violence against me. So that was kind of interesting. It wasn't very charitable. It was certainly wasn't turning the other cheek, I'll tell you there. And I think the other things that as I said earlier, was during this time, there was lots and lots of stuff in the paper, there were lots of letters to the editor. There was also I mean, I tortured myself, there were lots of articles and religious magazines, and and you read some of those, and it was just it's really what some things that we'll see if we just, I mean, shocking how horrible things about us, which were not true. And, and just sort of an end, I always thought, you know, if you've got people are in the closet, they're reading the stuff, there might be very tempted to believe it. And I think that was extremely said. [00:28:14] So were you torturing yourself in terms of seeking out some of those? Yeah, yeah. [00:28:17] I wanted to know, and I was in an environment where we actually got those magazines. I saw them and read them. And I made copies of lots of the articles. And just some of them were just appalling. [00:28:29] You didn't hide them away? No, [00:28:31] no, no. And the library that I was in at that particular time, and they were used by journalists, so I didn't hide. And and then and then we just made I mean, but you knew that for the market that they were produced for that those people believed what was out here. You know, and, and I suppose the thing I found really interesting at that time was, again, the law reform, it seemed to they're not even that being the major thing, but the Human Rights thing really seem to really, really upset some of these people, you know, that the thought that I suppose it was thought that they could be, you know, would no longer be able to say no, to a queer tenant or quit queer employee, I think some of those people were really worried about that. And so they really push that. And then when the petition was presented to Parliament, it was the most horrendous thing to see, you know, they're all up on parliamentary steps with all these boxes, they had sessions around them, and they sort of hit on my memory, they hit their hands in the air, I think it looked very much like a Nuremberg rally. And I think they shot themselves very much in the foot by doing that, because when I think people saw those pictures in the paper, they were shocked. Were you there, then I use the word what they did was that was really interesting, the police had sort of divided up the grounds of Parliament and put fences around. So they kick the two sides apart. But it was really shocking to see. But on the other hand, it I think they shot themselves in the foot. And I think the other thing around that whole time is that I personally also was really shocked at the states and the role that the Salvation Army played. [00:30:17] I when I'm in my sort of [00:30:20] nice aside, I think, although they got used by the religious right, but I know that that's not true, that they really were kind of they put a respectable face, some of the more right wing religious groups, I think mainstream New Zealand wouldn't have listened to them. But the fact that the Salvation Army was saying that this was wicked, this was bad, this was wrong, I ensure that there was more support God, even though they didn't win, ultimately, but because people respected the salaries. And that was I had actually worked for the Salvation Army. I wasn't a member of the church. But I worked in the hotels for a number of years. And I was really sad. And by that stance that they took, perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. But it was not very nice. And for a number of years. Right up till probably about five years ago, on the day that they clicked on the streets, I normally told the collectors, and I'm very clear to say, this is not directed at you personally, but I want to tell you why I'm not going to give you any money. What do you say, to say that, you know, during the homosexual law reform, the Salvation Army played a major role in trying to, you know, deny us human rights. And occasionally, I've had people sort of strike. And other times I've had people say, here, we know, and we never, we didn't agree with it, it was awful. So you know, at some of the the Mad articles that you read from sort of more sort of right wing sort of more on the age groups. It wasn't just the M, it was, you know, major groups, like the Salvation Army, like the Catholics. Yeah. [00:31:57] And there was a group that you saw coming in at night being allies with us. [00:32:02] Um, did I see, I don't know that I saw groups. I mean, politically, I guess there were political groups. But I think a lot of perhaps individual people emerge. And I think probably, I know that there were people who came out in that time from Salvation Army, for example, when they saw and heard and realize all that talking about me some of those people head, but some of them actually came out. Yeah. So and I think they will probably sort of lifters groups that will probably be really supportive. But it's interesting, really, it's hard to know, because I think that the feelings about homosexuality run very deep and some people so I'm quite sure there would have been some people who you would consider to be liberal who weren't. And some people who probably were quite conservative, who were supportive. It was never always quite what you expected. [00:32:55] That was my memory of it. [00:32:57] On the night that the third reading went through. So the bill we drew, we were you. [00:33:03] I can't remember. I'm sorry to say I had no idea now. But obviously somewhere where I was listening or watching. Yeah, absolutely. But I don't I honestly, I can't tell you where I was. [00:33:14] Yeah. I've spoken to two other people who say that they they were listening to it on the radio at home. Yeah, [00:33:20] I probably was as well. But I couldn't swear today. [00:33:24] Do you remember any celebrations later? [00:33:27] No. Sorry, is too long ago, there must have been there totally must have been? Absolutely. But I don't actually have any memory of that. [00:33:35] For you do. [00:33:39] Say that after it you relaxed around things or in terms of the discrimination? [00:33:47] I think what it does with things like that Is it just adds to your pride. And even though I mean, [00:33:56] you know, there's been discussions over the years that what what the queer world was like when we were sort of under the radar. And there was certainly bad things about there, no doubt about that. But there was also really good things about that it was kind of an inner circle or circles, you know, so there was secrets that nobody else knew about. And there was something quite appealing about that. And I think that by the mid 80s, even prior some law reform, but certainly after it, I think as we come it came out more, some of it disappeared, and quite a lot of it disappeared. And I think I still think there's something lost with that. But I wouldn't say we shouldn't have I mean, we needed to move on, we needed to come out more. And I think that after this, I think the world has moved on. I think by 85. You know, I think there was a lot there was a lot more out I mean, I'd come out in about 1970 as a teenager, and particularly by about 72 especially. So I'd been there prior to that. And that had been far more sort of claustrophobic. You know, we we lived very much under the radar life in general, even if you're quite out, there was still a lot of things that you didn't do, or rules that you followed unwritten rules, but certainly By the mid 80s, that was really, really changing. [00:35:21] Do you see that it was an inevitable thing. [00:35:25] In hindsight, it's easy to think he is it was but I still think we were still you know, it was still something you had to fight for. I mean, even now, with the whole gay marriage thing, it's not necessarily I mean, I'm not commenting on it, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, or whether it's a thing I want to do or whatever. But just that, I guess if people had said that a few years ago, probably most of us would have said, Oh, no, not yet. It won't happen yet. And so sometimes things creep up. And they happen. But I mean, obviously, during the law reform, a lot of hard work and gone and preparing the ground that, but it also relies on those people that make the political decisions to have the world to change it. I mean, it was only obviously that there was enough, yes, vote that it went through. So you know, a lot of work have been done preparation work had been done, you know, people have been lobbied but not just prior to that, but for quite a few years, you know, and But you see, I always feel you never know where those what things are going to go because the way people vote, say in the in the parliament isn't necessarily what they think they might be totally not homophobic, but for their political career, or for their party lines, they can always take a different view. And you never quite know here [00:36:39] after the bill went through, did you stay involved in gay politics? And in a way that [00:36:46] not? Not really no. As I say, I'm not a meeting person. And so the and again, it was later a few years later that we started the breathing space group again. And again, it's that personal thing for me of wanting to make a difference and a very peaceful way, on the ground sort of way. So that was probably the next thing I was involved in. [00:37:05] Do you think the [00:37:08] the next stage when you bought the breathing space back again, that that changes and the legislation head that in itself would help some of those woman come out, [00:37:21] and it's really hard to know, I mean, because the group went on for about six years, and then kind of, then we didn't get so many people, it's tempting to think that that would have been all part of creating a fabric of life. We're such a support group wasn't really needed. But I'm not sure about that. I mean, now we still here, I still hear stories of people that have struggled. But it was interesting, because certainly post law reform, in my place of work, I regularly had people coming to me wanting to talk about coming in, or somebody they knew, that was, you know, wanted to come out, or even somebody who talked about the fact that their wife had come out to me. So I mean, you know, but maybe Law Reform meant that they did feel confident to talk to me. But certainly, these were people who, you know, wanted to know how to change their lives often. And they still needed to make some sort of content to do that. And because I was clearly visually obvious, and was quite open about my sexuality. That certainly was happening post war form as well. Right? [00:38:40] Was your involvement. [00:38:43] It were discussed it work. I remember when I first started and and the organization where I am now. And it was one of the first few days and I was sitting at my desk working. And there was some people from another department that we all sit on the same floor on a group with a woman was sitting near me having a cup of tea at a desk and chatting and I they were talking about their husbands and things. And one of them said are my parents hated my husband when I first brought them home? And I'm going Oh, yes, yes, yes. And so I thought, okay, and I just stuck my head around my desk and said, You will try bringing a woman home and see what happens Leanne, and I just laughed, and then it was just a way to come out, basically. So, again, those, that's what that personal thing of saying something making yourself a bit vulnerable, but also making it positive. And being out there really. [00:39:34] Yeah. [00:39:36] That's kind of interesting. You're talking about that with the sort of non judgmental approach the approach I guess, taking? Because this week happens to be by visibility. Wait, right. And I'm just wondering, back in the day, yeah. But being bisexual. [00:39:56] opaquely CNT. remember anything? [00:40:00] Totally. I mean, the view and I mean, you know, I'm part of it, who was that person said they were bisexual was because they just didn't have the courage to come out ahead and make their minds up. Right. I mean, I think we had a limited view of sexuality and gender is, you know, I mean, obviously, you know, I was minutes, it's not quite related, but it's sort of as that when I was first came out, I came out with a partner, we can't we were at school together. And there was somebody, a lesbian woman doing a study, she was at university, and she was looking at the Kinsey scale. And, of course, you know, wanting to strike one is, is gay. And then the Kinsey scale does put gray [00:40:41] in the middle, which was quite a revelation. And I remember I was at one end, totally at the query, and, and my partner was very, very close [00:40:50] to the strategy and, and we decided that probably this was not going to fly for long, which was the case. [00:40:57] But in the in the breathing space. Yes. The issue is of being by with a, [00:41:06] in in, in the second iteration of that group, there was at that time, a bisexual woman's group and Wellington and we did have the policy that if a woman in our group said, I am bisexual, we referred her to that other group. And we did that was because once that was out in the open, I mean, that woman's, I suppose what she may have wanted to talk about was something very different to what we saw we wanted to talk about, and a group that was for undecideds, but it was sort of a coming out group, if you like. So we made the decision. And I think I don't know that it ever happened. Maybe it happened once. And we just made it clear to say that, you know, if at some point you decide that you're not clear at all, you're straight? Well, we'd expect that you wouldn't want to come to the grave. And why would you buy that if you have a bisexual identity, we can then refer you on to a bisexual woman's [00:42:06] group, which we thought was more appropriate. Whereas our group was [00:42:10] quite fine if people hadn't made up their mind that didn't know and wanted to explore that. That [00:42:13] was what that was for. [00:42:17] Next year now. [00:42:19] 2016 is the 30th anniversary of homosexual or form? If you got any ideas for how you'd like to see it, man. [00:42:32] I don't know there. That's interesting, isn't that? I certainly think [00:42:36] some really nice sort of cultural type of events would be nice. [00:42:43] I mean, there's probably things that can [00:42:45] happen. But we've been wonderful. Have somebody produced a film or a play [00:42:49] something to commemorate something [00:42:51] that was a major thing in New Zealand? I mean, a major thing in the world, actually, when you think about it, [00:42:55] you know, [00:42:57] because we're being recognized internationally, we're moving internationally around. [00:43:01] Absolutely. So I think that [00:43:03] those sorts of things are important. I mean, maybe some reunion type things would be fun, you know, people who were there. I mean, talking about it, you know what, I mean? You're obviously doing interviews with people, but there's probably more people who might want to remember those times or not. [00:43:18] Yeah. I mean, what I'm often hearing from people is it is quite a [00:43:25] demand for sort of intergenerational discussion around things. [00:43:30] I think that could be really useful. And that doesn't, just from the point of view of saying, oh, you're, we're, we're older and wiser. And, you know, we know all about it. But I think it will be really interesting, because I think there will be young queer people who don't know about it. And and it's that thing, again, it's not to say, Oh, look, look what we did for you. But actually, it is useful for people to know that it isn't always the way it [00:43:53] is now. I mean, [00:43:54] there are people who don't know that it was illegal for me. You know, there would be people who will wouldn't expect that you might get thrown out of the job, or, you know, you'd have to pretend not to be queer for various reasons and society, although there's probably still some young people who know very well what that's like. So I think that those things could be useful. And I think the exchange not just as telling them, but this change how they have how they find their world, [00:44:22] because I think it's different to ours. really different. [00:44:26] Yeah. So I think they will be great deal to be gained from there.

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