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Neville Creighton profile

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[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by pride in With dinner support from the rule foundation. [00:00:07] I was born in 1931 in Otago and spent all my life and I taga until I finished university in 52. [00:00:22] Then went to open for teacher training. [00:00:27] And Maurice of [00:00:30] n stay there for quite a while teaching, then move around the country and various places fielding. Then back to the need and again. And then after marriage moving to other places, [00:00:46] growing up in the 1930s, in the 1940s, were you aware of kind of homosexuals or [00:00:54] nothing? [00:00:57] Looking back, I can see it but nothing. [00:01:00] So what looking back, what can you say, [00:01:02] I'd see, my interest [00:01:08] was certainly not with girls. I very seldom went out with a girl. And if I had an occasion, which demand as a partner. And I just put that down to shyness. I didn't know how to manage that. And so on. [00:01:25] We've talked about like in the family or never talked about anywhere. [00:01:31] So completely, not a forbidden subject, it was just not not a subject at all, just didn't happen. [00:01:40] And and of course what was going on, but [00:01:43] most of us didn't know that. I would say that 90 95% of the population. [00:01:50] So when did you know within yourself that something might be up? [00:01:56] Probably not until I was in my 30 years, my 30s you know, after I was married, [00:02:04] you know, consciousness of until then. [00:02:07] And what happened? [00:02:09] Oh, just [00:02:10] gradually, I realized that I was in the wrong place and not unhappy. But it wasn't quite the pace I expected it to be. And just develop gradually from there. And a little bit of explanation here and there. And until I realized what was what [00:02:31] did you feel when you start having those feelings? Did you feel kind of like torn was something that you kind of reacted against? Or? [00:02:41] Yes, I guess was the same sort of feelings that [00:02:45] young guys have when they start masturbation and believe that as evil? [00:02:50] Yeah, those same sorts of feelings. [00:02:55] The moment of pleasure was great, but the you'll have to a gym. [00:03:03] Because you had been quite quite a bit of your life, up until that point have been quite involved in the church. [00:03:10] Well, only [00:03:14] well, only from late teenage years years. And then on to [00:03:20] the ministry. [00:03:22] Tell me about that. [00:03:24] That just sort of developed as I got involved with youth work in the church as as it as a member of youth groups and so forth. Gradually, that's when I decided to I wanted to go. [00:03:39] So for you was I mean, did you ever feel conflicted? Or was that just a just a natural kind of progression of finding out who you were? [00:03:47] Well, it was both, it was both natural progression. Plus, there were conflicts after [00:03:55] my [00:03:57] being in the ministry of the church, and being married, and parent, and so forth, and so on. And having been a secondary teachers, as well, all those things were contrast to where I was going. [00:04:11] Can you describe for me what it was like? Having all of that, like, you know, a wife and family and the church. And then also, on the other hand, thinking that you may be gay? [00:04:29] Well, it was possible to keep the two separate. that more and more. I resented the church for its attitude. And I spoke quite openly about the church's attitude, even though I wasn't alpha or anything. [00:04:48] But in the parish, and in the [00:04:51] National Assembly of the church, in the Presbyterian, so forth. And it was the time of the homosexual Law Reform then, which was for several years before that, of course, it was a hot topic. And in the church. Yeah. My marriage, we managed it in the marriage. As far as the relationship was concerned, I mean, the marriage was, the relationship was a good relationship. [00:05:24] So it was actually talked about [00:05:26] in my relationship for a while when it first manifested itself. And when I fell in love with someone, yes. But after that, [00:05:39] it was agreed we wouldn't discuss it. [00:05:43] It was, it was out of concern for [00:05:48] my wife. [00:05:50] Can you describe what it was like, kind of living those two, two kind of lines. [00:05:59] There's always a few being discovered. [00:06:02] There was always a fear of [00:06:06] transmission of Section fictions. [00:06:11] Those were the two major fears. [00:06:14] And there were fears rather than guilt. I didn't feel terribly guilty [00:06:19] about any of that. [00:06:27] Long before that resolved the biblical Christians in my favor, which I still believe are the right interpretations. And there was supported by through that through my theological training. [00:06:43] Professors also [00:06:47] taught that those [00:06:50] comments in the Bible were misinterpreted and interpreted in today's background instead of against the background of the day. They're very different reasons for the prohibitions and biblical times, and they weren't moral reasons they were national survival reasons, as well, just had to keep up the birth rate. And otherwise they wouldn't survive. So that was the reason behind the reasoning. [00:07:24] A lot of the history that's been told or that you can actually use it as about people that were kind of kind of out things like gay liberation in the 60s and 70s, you know, that you can actually people were happy to be out and they were very political, but I'm guessing there's, there's a whole lot of stuff happening that is a lot quieter, [00:07:46] is Yeah, I mean, [00:07:49] the, the public face, the two public faces, I think there was the what you might call the flamboyant. [00:07:59] I left him going man or flamboyant. [00:08:05] queens, drag queens, that side. But there's also the the side of those who are working seriously for, for change. Led by you know, such people here in Oakland, as to any kind of edge. Richard Burton, all those people, and they will be for my time of involvement at all. And ally new basis, I'm very well. [00:08:29] It was after all the turmoil I've been gone through. And [00:08:36] can you paint a picture of from your own point of view of what perhaps the 60s 70s were like, in terms of being a gay man, it wasn't necessarily kind of out? [00:08:52] Well, I think for most [00:08:55] the [00:08:59] the avenue of activity it seemed to be available was the British call cottaging. [00:09:07] And in one or two, [00:09:13] I'm just not sure when West Side began getting other sort of thing. backstage, of course, was that it was back there as well. Not that I knew anything about it, I'd heard about it natural [00:09:29] or anything. [00:09:32] And yeah, so it's [00:09:36] I, I really had absolutely no involvement with the community until the HIV issues. [00:09:46] And when you say cottaging is that it's kind of a toilet key upon saying, Yeah, [00:09:52] that was the only place to go to meet the g8. Any chance of meeting the like, people? How would you know where else to go? [00:10:00] Those who, who had been [00:10:04] out for return sales and so forth earlier, they formed groups, small groups, and a lot of them are sort of dinner party groups and those sorts of things. And lots of well known people belong to those. Yeah. But I didn't discover those know much [00:10:21] later. [00:10:23] At that time, what kind of language was around? gayness? You know? What, what kind of words being used to describe somebody who's gay? [00:10:35] I see. I never came across that because apart from few general ones, it school and those sorts of things and forget and [00:10:50] see even home I wasn't used. [00:10:56] We're good. That was us a little bit. But I think favorite, the main one that was used, but [00:11:05] being used on being present by [00:11:07] Oh, no, no, not for any course. It depends what circles you're in. I mean, some circles you can use it with each other. Nobody's offended, you know that it's it's and watching a TV thing last night about racism and the British police force, and a black woman police and being charged with racism, because she said to one of her black colleagues, come on hurry up being that lazy nigger, and that they sort of knew each with each other that it was just a sort of a chugging along. And somebody reported it is serious. Yeah. So it was that sort of thing. And so I guess I avoided a lot of that. Yeah. And yet, just thinking now, in my teaching, because I was teaching in the area of sexuality. Yeah, just beginning to think when, when I started that it must have been late 80s, I think I know, it was at the time of the HIV thing is. And so we explored all that stuff in class and lecture. Most of it sort of came from like, it's because of the way I taught, they bought that sort of stuff happen. We put it up and then we explored and its meaning and so forth. [00:12:28] And when you say teachings, like what secondary school or [00:12:32] certain for form, [00:12:34] back in the 70s, to do find that your thoughts were in conflict with church teachings. [00:12:43] Yes, but not biblical teachings. And the two are really quite separate. And more and more, I, I withdrew from Christian belief that I felt that a huge amount of was rubbish. theology particularly and, and church politics and so forth. biblical things now I have always held the Bible as an amazing book. Yeah. And interpreted openly. It's not per se. [00:13:20] But [00:13:23] I gradually beginning to reject the church, in fact, all organized religion altogether, still, and reject it completely. Natalie, today, greatest evil world has ever known. So responsible for more human suffering, I think, than anything else in the world. And it doesn't matter whether it's Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist or anything else, or [00:13:49] all the pagan religions of Africa. [00:13:52] It was all about power. [00:13:57] Wasn't there a point though, in the 70, some must have read somewhere when you in church type workshop, and you suddenly kind of hit quite a discovery. Yeah. [00:14:10] Well, I had a discovery, but I was able to announce it. [00:14:16] Yeah. And that was, but that was part of the, [00:14:24] of the encounter movement, which came into New Zealand, following Erica through the church. And I think Anglican church started and then it came into the other churches. And we, there was a group of us who are very active in that. And we did started workshops, and then we began to develop workshops, and so forth. And that was hugely liberating. [00:14:49] And, and to me, that was the real church. [00:14:54] Can you tell me about that experience that workshop, [00:14:58] just that one of the things in those words, workshops were to design exercises, which would help people to communicate, to open themselves to other people to take risk. And one of my, one of the guys who trained with me in theology, he designed this one called the pyramid. And it was not quite sure when it was, but it was in the time of the debate about homosexual or form that might have been after [00:15:33] that. [00:15:35] Because the question he asked, was, what people's attitudes were and participation was in that development. And a build up layers in this pyramid, because I didn't really do there's only one place at the top. And so that's, that's where I place myself and was able to say, and, and the support I received from every single one of that group was just amazing. Even though some of them were quite conservative Christians, but they were all exploring Christians, and it was a big thing. [00:16:12] So was that the first time you had kind of quickly kind of come out? [00:16:19] Probably was, can't think of any earlier time. And I guess I came up because the ethos of that group was what happens in the group stays in the group. So I felt safe enough to do to do that. [00:16:36] into that happen to explain the group? [00:16:38] As far as I know, yes, certainly, there were no repercussions from it. [00:16:44] And how did you feel after after doing that, [00:16:47] it was very liberating. [00:16:51] To begin with a few fears that it might go elsewhere. Although I don't know they worried about that, at that point. I think probably, I felt so completely safe. Because two or three of the guys came to me afterwards, and were talking. And they were those great guys. And they were expressing their support on their end, and wanted to know more about what it was all about, and, and so forth. It was quite a quite an experience. [00:17:20] You left the church in 19 7036. Why was there [00:17:26] I no longer believed. And I was very angry about the church's attitude to the homosexual reform. And, or to the whole, that whole movement of developing that was developing. And that the, the Christian church was going backwards in terms of openness. It was retreating all the way. And Lyft, a lot of us stranded on the shores as it were, you just couldn't participate in that and just walked out? [00:18:00] Did you fill yourself with any other kind of spirituality or or religion? No. [00:18:10] So one of the views I have a religion is, it's a crutch for people who are not whole not well, once you become holy, you don't need to purchase certain way. And so their whole process of knowing who I was, was actually becoming whole, and no longer needed. [00:18:32] And found it was a hindrance to being whole. [00:18:37] Human sure mentioned this before about HIV and AIDS. I'm just wondering, When was the first time you heard of AIDS? [00:18:47] mask in a very, very early 80s. Just genuine us, I think, maybe really bad in time or something like that. Yeah. And of course, it mainly resonated with me is concerning me. And so I guess I was, I was also looking for some way of becoming part of who that was part of who I was what be involved in something, and to meet others like me, and this was one way of doing it. So there was there was some self interest in in that side, but also concerned on the other side, what was happening. [00:19:34] So what was being established in New Zealand? I mean, when you say you wants to be a part of what? [00:19:39] Well, I think, trying to think now, I think would probably re Taylor, when he came back to America, and set up the shanty system. [00:19:52] And I think they're calling for volunteers, [00:19:58] and people to help trained volunteers. And I felt that with my inner, inner self, and with the expertise I had, that was something I might be able to do. That was a thing, but I can't quite remember exactly how it happened. [00:20:14] Can you just explain what the shanty systems [00:20:19] it was set up in San Francisco is a, a support system for people with HIV. And, and based on on being trained person trained and betting would be buddied up with someone who was HIV positive. And we trained quite a lot of people here in Oakland, in that, but of course, a lot of them got lost energy, because it was no one to buddy. The wound, that came a time there are very few cases, and most of them are guys, you came back from overseas. And so it took quite some time. I think we we probably lost 50% of the people we train because they're just nothing to hold them. [00:21:06] So the the kind of shoddy principles became, what incorporated into the this was the eight support it is Yeah, yeah. And so that's retailer in Brisbane is can you describe for me what it was like, being a part of a new group, a support group, where you may have, you know, kind of gay people and also the Australia allies. [00:21:33] Well, that was part of the reason why I went there, because was a group of other gay people. To begin with almost all gay men, then few straight women particularly came in. Not many lesbians, very few, in fact, at that stage, and so that's, I guess it was the driving force for me, because this was an opportunity to get into something that had some standing, and wasn't just six, and had opportunity to meet a lot of other gay people in a normal, natural way, which I've never had before. So that was a motivating factor. And I was supported in that with been a wife. She was very supportive. And she became partners as well. [00:22:24] Can you describe for me what one of those meetings was like, [00:22:29] the training meetings [00:22:32] that it was interesting to me too, because it was part of the encounter movement, it came out of the encounter movement. So it was the same sort of setup, which I was used to in our group, our church groups, where people were able to open, they're able to challenge each other without being upset, or too upset. And some of the things were revealed by individuals in those groups. What just unbelievable. That and I'd never, ever told anyone else about them. Ever. [00:23:10] So so they were quite [00:23:13] though very emotional. Very [00:23:18] warming, very supportive. [00:23:21] Very [00:23:23] positive realizing. Yeah. And, and it meant that they were able to deal with their own fears, and therefore were able to go and support other peoples in their fields. [00:23:37] In were you saying that your wife was also part of? [00:23:41] Yes, she she trained in, in one of those groups, one of our biggest ones, right about 40 members in that particular group? So learning and then. [00:23:52] So what was it like for you, being in that group, with your wife talking about things? [00:23:58] It was fine, because we I mean, we've always pretty communicative anyway. And, but in her one of the things starting point in those meetings, because they usually began with a weekend, and the starting point was what was called the circle. And everybody went around and introduce themselves and said, why they were there, and so forth, and so on. And that would be some of that would be just unbelievably deep. And, and there'd be lots of tears and lots of laughter. It was, yeah. And remember that particular group, we took the whole of the first day, just doing the circle, because it was so big, and there was so many. And there were several guys in that, who revealed for the first time that they were HIV positive. That never revealed to anybody else, not even there. I don't think some of them not even medical system, but they knew they were [00:24:55] at the time was a test for HIV. [00:24:59] I don't. So [00:25:02] was it was very complicated. It wasn't done in New Zealand anything had been sent to Sydney to be on. [00:25:10] What was the life expectancy at that time of somebody with AIDS? [00:25:15] Well, it varied. [00:25:17] And it depends where they contracted the virus, because of different modifications of the virus. And some were very virulent. Sydney one, for instance, I mean, guys could die in six weeks from infection from the first infection. And whereas others, it was a much slower process. And it also on the individuals immune system and someone. So it varies greatly. And of course, it became longer and longer as medications came in. [00:25:54] So in those training sessions, what were they saying in terms of the kind of scope the kind of AIDS issue in New Zealand? What you know, did they did they say that we're going to be hundreds infected? Or what what were they saying? [00:26:07] There was a lot of fear that would be very widespread. And [00:26:13] and, of course, many felt that it was going to spread into the general community. Most of us in age group said, No, it was unlikely to do that. Because gaming tended to keep the sex within the gay community. And so we said, you know, in many ways, the gay community is holding that alpha, the general environment in New Zealand, whereas in other countries like Scotland, where it was transmitted mainly through drugs, drugs, or Africa, heterosexual stuff, the New Zealand general community was pretty safe. So yeah, those there's a fear in our own community because particularly, eyes began dying. And the number of funerals you meant to insightful. [00:27:06] You were saying that quite a number of the volunteers kind of Lyft after a while, just because the weren't that many people. It was hard to keep them motivated. [00:27:16] And they've been through the process I understood. And we used to say, Well, you know, even if they don't stay, they're going to be better members of the community for them for having done it. And therefore, we weren't too worried about that. Said perhaps to lose a friendship or in the group or whatever. But yeah, so I guess in the angel Lyft not live, but it came down to a group of really committed people. And many of those bellied guys right through and my wife, buddy to like three ideas. [00:27:54] I've been saying network and I'm just wondering how extensive was the aid support network in New Zealand? [00:28:00] Well, manifestations of it appeared and unpleasant. I think Ray had done quite a bit of traveling around. And so Bruce, and I know there was a group in Christchurch Wellington, there's a group in Hamilton, and the probably other small groups, hither and yon. But they tended to be not as focused, organized as the local group. except perhaps Christ Church group. Christ Church communities, strange community. It's, it's, there's no cohesion as at all, there's not much an organ that does that fat [00:28:41] loss at that stage anyway, [00:28:43] the Muslim network, a kind of a government initiative or grassroots initiative, [00:28:49] always grassroots game entirely from Ryan, Bruce. And people like myself, and Tony Hughes and Bob Harvey, [00:29:02] you know, strongly in support of their and the doctorate. [00:29:09] Now, Mike Paul was one of the doctors, the other doctorate organ hospital was his name. [00:29:16] Oh, Dr. It was people yes. [00:29:19] And things like that. And whereas in Wellington, they had some horrific situations of guys going to hospital, the way they were treated, and so forth, here and all kind of in your head, [00:29:29] what kind of situations [00:29:30] well, ambulance people and nurses would be dressed from, you know, head to toe and protective clothing and all that sort of stuff and wears an Auckland, they just took the normal gears. And we say, you know, it should be the normal care that you give everybody, if you're not giving that to everybody, you're not doing your job properly. So, and quite a lot of, of the nurses at open hospital were just amazing. And one or two of them came into our network groups. Did some training there and part of that. [00:30:09] So when did the government get involved? [00:30:11] Not until establishment of the AIDS Foundation. That was largely work I think of Chinese Hughes with probably Kate shepherd. No. Okay. Okay, Leslie. And who else was involved with a bob Harvey was involved in that quite strong as well. Yeah. But Tony, I seem as simple of Christianity, because Christianity would never have survived without support, it would have just disappeared. And Paul's and Tony's the same. He's the one that had been there and held things and held things in a way which people listened and respected. And he's done. amazing job. just superb. [00:31:03] And just explain who Tony Hughes is, because [00:31:05] Tony Hughes is the well, he was a biomedical researcher. And I'm not sure what his title is now. But he's [00:31:13] outside probably to yc of the [00:31:17] AIDS Foundation. [00:31:20] And he's been there now 30 years more, and just has done an absolutely tremendous job very quiet in the background. He's so thorough in his work, that people can't question it. They try they soon shot down on flames. And, and no history or next or anything like that. Just solid, understanding, skillful, the highest respect for [00:31:54] what is the difference between the eight support network and the foundation. [00:32:01] The aids support network, in some ways felt that the foundation came in and took over and pushed aids, the AIDS support network aside, and there was some friction [00:32:15] after I left the foundation, and Lauren took over, and there was some friction between the two, that [00:32:25] it died out. And [00:32:30] and the same with the guideline, there was a little bit of antagonism there as well as as though the foundation was taking over and pushing everybody aside, and everybody else made it. And it was a little bit of that feeling. Which was probably true to a certain extent, but yeah, I mean, the guideline, for instance, they staff the AIDS hotline, for years, with absolutely no financial support from Ah, Foundation, even though it was official that they were doing [00:33:06] that sort of thing. [00:33:11] So yeah, there was a little bit of, but it never got out of hand. And I think [00:33:18] it's just transitioning. [00:33:21] And correct me if I've got it wrong, but am I right, in thinking that also, you know, you're going from a very much a volunteer based approach, in terms of support is something like the iteration, which was prevention campaigns. And, [00:33:39] yeah, I don't know, there's that [00:33:43] a little later. [00:33:46] Now, when I was director, I have no clue now what the salary was, I can't remember. [00:33:52] It was Listen, what I was getting teaching. [00:33:57] That later, it became quite high and those friction about that. And and the staff that were there were quite highly paid. And some volunteers was a little bit of [00:34:15] annoyance of death as well. [00:34:18] Because Looking back, I think the foundation should have drawn the network in as part of the organization. But they didn't Shut, shut them out. They took over the premises, took over their phone line. [00:34:35] And just as over didn't exist. [00:34:38] Within You were the first director of this was after this. After [00:34:42] Yeah. And the that I was there. I mean, the looking back now, they didn't really know where they were going. They were very inexperienced. And it was it came through Yeah. [00:34:55] It must have been quite a quite a stressful time in the it, you know, mid 80s, you don't know where this is heading. What you see from the US is that numbers of death has just gone. Yeah. And and here you are starting out in this new organization. What was that like [00:35:13] that? That was very clear. And that centered around training. And the thing was prevention. There was no cure. So we had to bring prevented the only intervention was using condoms. Right from the beginning, that was the message and put it out and and even though we bigger, did a couple of big posters, I can see them very clearly now. And even in those, we basically said that oral sex was safe, which was way out of line with what everyone else was saying. And that was because Tony said, No, this is a virus and does not travel that way. And his his understanding of was so accurate. And right for the beginning, there was that sort of not that everybody believed it. But that was certainly there and said that the only means of transmission was basically anal sex, and protective diagnostics. And apart from blood transfusions and things like that, obviously, sexually, it was the only dangerous activity. And they hammered and hammered and hammered dead and still do. And it's proved to be true. Because even though we have figures, recently risen as the heavy whales and the world, [00:36:40] our use of condoms in New Zealand as much higher than anywhere else. [00:36:46] What was it like for you in this kind of mid 80s period, like as the first director of gates foundation? [00:36:54] I don't. [00:36:58] I felt I was put into job willingly. [00:37:05] But no one really knew how to organize it, what, what our role, what my role was, it wasn't really given a clear job description, and nobody else had a clear job description. So everybody's grabbing at parts of the job that they wanted and all that sort of thing. So it was it wasn't it wasn't a comfortable experience. And it was nobody's fault. It just you know, the nature of the beast of a new organization and, and Sydney area. [00:37:38] And other uncertain thing at the time was, of course, homosexual law reform, which is 8586 [00:37:43] years. Yeah. [00:37:45] Did you do anything around law reform? [00:37:49] part from talking? I wasn't involved in the so called movement. Because I was too busy with other things and cut stretch everywhere. [00:38:03] And [00:38:06] just trying to think who [00:38:09] who were the front people here in great shape? And certainly, and Tony Canada, which behind the scenes, he provided a lot of the money but he was he said to me, one day said, I live to do the work and two miserable bastards. [00:38:29] You mentioned Britain, Tony a couple of times Tell me about him. [00:38:33] Well, they they've they owned the out Empire. Start started with the Westside sauna, and the magazine. And they had a very large mail order catalog and live workshop, so forth. And I got to know them quite well, because the guideline were how's by them in the in a building in and take Avenue. So I got to know them quite well. And Tony's partner, john Kitty, died. And yeah, so I presume Tony's to live, although I should have been dead years ago. He and Britt both contracted cancer, prostate cancer round about the same time. And Britt didn't do his medications properly and died. And was Tony really bad or did everything and still live? [00:39:40] That you know, 20 years later. [00:39:43] So he's, he's a bit he's difficult is well known for being very, very difficult. But he just, he won't put up with bullshit of any sort. And very direct and he'll challenge anybody, government Council, anybody. He's a hoarder, in the hoard every piece of paper that comes in every document, and it goes when it comes to battling. He's got all the documentary evidence. So he went a whole lot of battles. But yeah, so from that point of view, he was he was good. [00:40:21] How did you get involved with K line and what [00:40:25] guideline [00:40:27] was set up when 1972, I think, is a telephone line that was set up for guys. Like, contact talk, see it up by a couple of guys who first of all, put their own home telephone number in the Herald. As place it gaming, good context. And this was, you know, in the early 70s, incredibly brave really, to wander the hill, or the Herald even without it. And so developed from there. And [00:41:10] I lived in a number of places after their home. [00:41:15] And when I first came [00:41:21] to know it, I think I'd done some training for youth line in from this encounter movement stuff. And one of the leading persons in it was a member of the staff at Glenville college, who I was teaching. And he got me involved and Firstly, to help with the training, and then [00:41:44] not going to apply to be the [00:41:47] manager for the Chinese was there for 12 years. So yeah. [00:41:54] I just want to divert just a smidgen from Galen, just from one of the end. You've just brought back up your secondary school teaching. What was it like being a gay teacher in the 1980s? [00:42:10] I remember the first day I was there, Robert grant greeted me. And I'd obviously met him somewhere. I didn't thought Who knew? Who's this person. And it gradually developed and so forth. And I'm not quite sure. The process of becoming known at school. The staff new don't think first principle I had new. But the second principle I had was Dave Norris, the Olympic [00:42:49] Olympic athlete and in Olympic manager, [00:42:53] then he was fine. And then the next guy, he was fine with it as well, the board was okay, staff are okay. But I wasn't out to the students. And I just Rob Rob grant was out to the students, but I decided it wasn't appropriate. [00:43:14] And, and I found that [00:43:17] boys who are looking at themselves and wondering about themselves, or they would come and talk with me, rather than talking with Rob, because they went to talk with Rob and identified them. Whereas if they came and talked to me, it didn't identify them. So it was it was quite useful. In the end, the work that I was doing, the subjects that I was teaching, it was it was part of it. [00:43:46] We were have any homophobia or anything like that at school? [00:43:51] Oh, yes, there are some staff who were very anti, that, as I say, to my fear of speech, although I knew that the number of stuff from particularly from the Christian point of you were very anti, but that they've never shown me anything except respect, that they'd always treated respectfully. And it was quite something. And I think they respected the work that I was doing with the students. Because I was part of the counseling team, although I was doing most of it in the classroom. [00:44:25] And an atmosphere of [00:44:30] developing their their personality and their self esteem and all that sort of stuff. [00:44:35] So during your time, did you bring in safe six eyes information? Absolutely. Yeah, [00:44:42] throughout school. [00:44:45] And what why? [00:44:46] Well, in those classes, it was part of the class. And also, we developed a sexuality education program throughout the school that I trained a number of the staff to lead in probably about 10 of them. And that was part of the curriculum of HIV AIDS, safe sex, as well as all the other stuff. Yeah, it was very, very clear. We had a few parents who objected. Very few, actually, I think only about three in the whole 12 years, I was doing it more 20 years I was doing. So it was very few. And the students had the option of opting out. But most students didn't tell their parents because they knew they painted on tape. They didn't tell them. But for some years, we had parent meetings and put curriculum before and three or four years, and they there was never any objection, like all supported, and those the number who attend became less and less. So we we didn't take we discontinued them. [00:46:01] Legally, it was required to begin with [00:46:05] soon disappear. [00:46:08] Heading back to gay line. And your involvement. So what what what did your involvement entail wanted to do everything? [00:46:18] I was employed for [00:46:21] 23 hours a week, 20 hours a week in a did about 60. And I did everything I ran the office. I staff, I trained the volunteers, I staff the the both the hot, the hot line and K line through the day, from 10 to five. [00:46:45] Yeah, cleaned the toilets. [00:46:49] Everything Yeah, I was the only one there. I did have some help. In various times, I got involved with the courts, and [00:47:03] particularly through [00:47:06] one or two lawyers and police officers who are concerned about people being entrapped with their sexual activity and getting them either divert diversion possible, or community service rather than anything else. And quite a number of them came and did they come into service at K line. [00:47:34] And also, [00:47:36] with wins. And they they would came come and and work there for six months or something. So those sorts of things in order to get some sort of help. [00:47:51] You say entrapment. So what, what kind of years? And what, what, what kind of entrapment are we talking about, [00:47:58] particularly in the toilet, but not just I remember one guy who came to me, and was sent to me by a [00:48:10] police officer at the court. [00:48:14] He had appeared in coordinators remanded and so forth. And he sent to me, and he'd been walking along the coast, a walkway, and the sky, walking behind them, and sort of came alongside and talk and the guy is suggested they go to the bushes and and as soon as this man, touch the sky, police officer arrested them, that sort of thing. And also, of course, in the toilet. So there's a lot better toilets was very unsafe, [00:48:51] what kind of you were talking, [00:48:54] I suppose from a late 70s, early 80s, even after homosexual reform was still going on. Still going on today. In some cases, there's some police officers who for usually religious beliefs, think that that's what they've got to do. [00:49:13] How many volunteers to go into heaven, the early 90s, [00:49:18] we probably never had less than 30. And it could be up to 60. But the attrition rate was quite high. And so you had to continue to train you and train you. And the attrition rate was very, very seldom because of negativity was quite a change of life circumstances moving away, change of job, getting married, whatever. So yeah, the attrition rate was quite high. But we never had any real difficulty getting volunteers. And lots of the other, I was on the committee or got organization grant scheme committee in the court. And they said, are so difficult to get volunteers? How is it you get to get them so easily? Nice. So well, you know, our people are committed to the cause. But the real reason was because our volunteers worked in the evening reserves were through the day. And it was very difficult to get volunteers through the day. So it was, we were lucky from that point of view, Well, lucky, but circumstances before [00:50:28] and what kind of training to play GIFs. [00:50:31] Again, I use the same sort of training, [00:50:36] the encounter movements, you know, it's still very strong in me and that sort of stuff on a personal level, but also a lot of work on communication, particularly telephone communication, which is quite different from ordinary communication. And people will tell you more in 10 minutes on the phone, than I tell you two days for the face. It's just, they just, it's all there. And in them most embarrassing details. And didn't matter where they're straight or gay or anything was saying, because they had the security of being anonymous. And we made sure that people knew that we did not ever [00:51:22] call it site service or anything like that. [00:51:26] And so yeah, and if knowledge about HIV, about section fictions. [00:51:38] Yeah. And about general, the gay community and what was available, you had a dad, very good database of what was available in the community. Yeah. [00:51:48] Because I'm guessing at that time, the internet would have been like, in its infancy. I mean, if you had the interface. [00:51:56] I think that side of it, the personal communication side is not they're there. And they still want to talk to somebody. And often, they ask me a question about something innocent, as it were, was really a testing thing. To see, can I go further and really open up? And so that those sorts of skills? [00:52:20] For instance, I said, Yeah, [00:52:23] the only starting word you should use the wh words. We're, how, what? queen? Which, but never Why? Because as soon as you ask, why, why do you think that? or Why? Why do you do that? The person becomes offensive, because they think that you're trying to force them to justify themselves, so that he never you should, or ought, and so on. I think you should do this. So it was non directive counseling, totally listening, guiding, listening. So that allowed them to explore the situation themselves and come to their own answers, and which, that they're much more likely to put into practice any that we gave them. I mean, we'd give them information that they wanted. But their own personal answers, but as so those were the skills they learned and, and that their skills. wish everybody could learn. [00:53:28] Over your time with Galen, did you notice that the calls changed, you know, either the type of people the type of questions. [00:53:37] Not really. And [00:53:41] the coming out process is still the same, as it's always been hard for some easier for others. [00:53:50] So I don't think much has changed in that. [00:53:53] When you look at your own personal journey, how would you sum it up as I've been hard or easy you is it? [00:54:00] It's mixed? very mixed? Yeah, they've been some bad patches, and they've been, but [00:54:07] I've never ever [00:54:10] been confronted [00:54:13] with strongly negative [00:54:15] attitudes, or actions or anything that's [00:54:19] frightening or anything like that. I've never found myself rejected because of it. [00:54:30] Maybe some of his quietly gone away and [00:54:32] leave me alone. Fine. But I've never been aware of anyone [00:54:39] sees in their relationship with me because of it. [00:54:44] And certainly not in my own family. [00:54:47] So from that point of view, mine has been painful and many times anytime, but [00:54:55] raise me, okay, reasonably smooth. [00:54:58] And I look at young people today many other than their out from a very early age and, and join that support and in mostly with support from their families. Not entirely, but obviously, [00:55:15] you still get those applications. [00:55:18] Moving into the 2000s and 2014 2005. We get civil unions in New Zealand people need to help Soviet Union and you became a celebrant? Yeah. Why? [00:55:31] Well, I'd been a marriage celebrant anyway in the church. And I thought, well, this is something I could do, I could do. And I'd like to do it. And that could be fun. [00:55:41] And, [00:55:43] and I believed in the process, I thought, you know, we should grab it with both hands. And even if it wasn't perfect, that was at least a step in the right direction. And so I just did that, because it wasn't very difficult to I've been registered as as a marriage celebrant anyway, although I'd given that up when I left the church. And so it was I knew all about it wasn't a big step. [00:56:10] And you say move in the right direction. What does that mean? [00:56:14] Well, that I thought civil union was a bit [00:56:18] of a cop out in some ways. But I could see that, you know, [00:56:22] if we didn't take that we weren't going to get any further at that stage. Although, of course, going back further, as far as the age of consent was concerned, we actually, community actually [00:56:34] sabotage [00:56:36] that because the, the proposed bill didn't include equality of [00:56:41] age. This is gonna be before girlfriend while [00:56:45] Oh, yes. So this was there were two attempts, one by Verne, MP from somewhere in making, I think. Yeah. And also the one by [00:56:57] was it for free? [00:56:58] Or free? Yes. Is Matt unfunny was involved in this summer as well. And neither though, included the age of consent in the community with more or less withdraw support from them. And so they fell by the wayside. And then it was only when friends we all came in with the age of consent being equal. And even then, largely, our community didn't want that because they thought they'd never get that stymie The other thing altogether. [00:57:32] So with civil unions was the same thing happening, where people were saying, Well, actually, this is not equality. We exactly don't, you know, I'm pretty worthless. Yeah. [00:57:39] And a lot of the women particularly, are very strong about that. But when you look at the detail, it gave us nearly everything that marriage gave us. And the only major thing was the adoption thing. [00:57:58] In the name, man. [00:58:01] I couldn't care less about the night. [00:58:05] It's interesting, because the church has afforded. Marriage has never been a church. It's a it's a government law. The church wanted their way they can do it for their people, that's fine, but not to impose on everyone else. And so marriage has always been a legal thing. Right? Through the Ages, it's been a legal thing. Hundreds of years. So it's a legal thing we have to change. We won't change the churches, particularly any more than Muslim faith. Still got 100 years to catch up on us. [00:58:48] They'll get there eventually. [00:58:50] So we're here in February 2013. And the loss of all bull has passed its first reading and Parliament gone to sleep committee. They haven't quite yet refer back. And I'm thinking, what do you think the chances are of this marriage equality bill going through? I think it's pretty cool. Yeah. [00:59:09] Go through it was quite a good majority. [00:59:13] And yeah, I think the time it's time is right, and it will. I'm not quite sure where the question of adoption stands. Because there's also the bill that Aaron street is saying about adoption. And I think it's on the back burner at the moment, because Lewis sort of saying that, if her bill goes through, it includes adoption, it's all all the rights and privileges of marriage. And adoption is one of those rights and privileges. And I mean, they're, they're gaming and New Zealand have adopted children. It's stupid, because a single gay man can adopt a child that a capital can't. If one has children, his partner can adopt those children. But it's so mixed up. It's crazy. And it's unfair on the kids. And they should be given them clear, equal status to anyone else. [01:00:20] How are your kids when you came out? [01:00:24] Well, they were in their late teens. [01:00:28] The girls were fine. They both said independently, you know, so what we've known for years. [01:00:34] The boys hadn't a clue. [01:00:37] They took a little while longer to particularly my oldest son [01:00:44] to come to terms with it. [01:00:48] And now, I mean, they're just as likely to [01:00:51] throw cheek at me as anyone else. [01:00:55] I think I told you that when I got my queen Service [01:00:57] Medal, one of my sons it all how appropriate [01:01:04] sort of thing. Yeah. [01:01:07] Now, that was 2005. Consumers middle. [01:01:11] It sort of was based on the HIV thing, because that was what was acceptable for the government to give that the community aspect was included as well. It was quite interesting how it was done. And I still don't know who was responsible. I presume it was Chris Carter, but I have no clue. [01:01:32] But yeah, that was [01:01:35] pretty awesome, really. And the investiture was a very interesting experience with Dame Sylvia. Lovely Lady. Yeah. [01:01:46] Yeah. [01:01:49] So it's, yeah, it was good to get there. And feel that not just me, but the community had some recognition like that. I don't think there was then anyone else who had been [01:02:06] curious him for that. [01:02:08] Think Warren. Warren before maybe? Well, [01:02:12] yeah. [01:02:14] It must be quite something to to be tapped on the shoulder? [01:02:16] Absolutely. I was totally taken by surprise. Yeah. I mean, few things like that, that have really take me a couple of people, man, woman, chin up the office one day. And then I said, They're from the aroma trust or something. [01:02:38] And [01:02:40] they said, We, we want to give you a recognition for your work. They said, this is a financial recognition for you, not for the organization. It's for you, personally, a check of $3,000 things like that happened. So which I just think it's nice. [01:03:02] One thing we haven't touched on that has actually been a part of your life for four decades, you know, going right back to the 80s is the fifth season gardening group. Yeah. Tell me about that. [01:03:15] And [01:03:19] it's trying to think today how I got involved in that. [01:03:23] No, it was when I was with my partner, Peter. And I think was Yeah, it was because we were both gardeners. Our garden was twice or three times in the herb garden thing. But before that, we've been on the committee of the fifth season garden group. And the main the main functions are the main things that does a visit monthly visits to gardens, usually group or two or three gardens. Usually guy gardens, but not necessarily so. And the and then we had a couple couple of functions a year Christmas function and midwinter function. And that's sort of the program. And it's been it's been also in the on the edge of the herb garden thing and sometimes being involved at sometimes just supportive and it's always been a bit unclear where the herb gardens fits in between gather and in the fifth season, but truly an ad hoc committee that exists year by year, maybe [01:04:34] what you get out of gardening, [01:04:37] it's getting gardening is [01:04:40] I think it's a very spiritual thing. [01:04:43] And it allows you to completely forget about everything in the world. And just dealing with what's there and the growth and change and beauty and all that sort of thing. And yet, it's I find it very renewing. [01:05:05] And if I [01:05:08] often I will go out and sort of [01:05:12] pull it out before I know it six hours later. [01:05:16] And I've totally forgotten everything. Yeah, often things forgotten. [01:05:23] Yeah, but yeah, it's it's it's totally absorbing, [01:05:28] healing, very healing.

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