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Lesbian organising

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in And funded through a generous grant from the Galen Wellington trust with the support of the role foundation. [00:00:10] Hi, I'm Dr. Allison Lori, I was the G hundred Women's Studies Program Director at Victoria University, Wellington here in New Zealand. For many years, I'm a writer, and I'll read a story and enter this building gay activist. Today, I'm going to be looking at lesbian organizing in New Zealand, as distinct from gay organizing. And this is a particularly interesting topic because the situation of women in New Zealand obviously is different from the situation of men at especially as we go back into the earlier years looking through at the development of sick roles in the 19th century and so on, then, how these beings have organized as a topic of particular interest. When we go back to looking at the gender relations between men and women, pre contacts, and we look at the writings of somebody like Makati, who's writing has been brought to us by our Kotaku who looked at that work and quite early on market, he tells us that gender relations between men and women and modern societies were fairly equal. Obviously, these are class stratified societies, but women could own property, women had on every level more or less the same rights as men did. And the party in with the introduction of European law, then women become chattels, as according to the brochure of the time, on marriage, a woman and then become one and that one is the person that the husband and yearning she has become has any problem pretty, she has become hers, and so on. And if that's the case until about 1885, when you get the marriage women's property act, and reform of that, however, some of those attitudes continue. And in fact, we coming right through into the 1970s, we find that it was difficult for women to get access to credit without signature of their husband or have an offer of a man it was difficult for women to open an account even as a department store without a men being a signatory to that. So there was still these kinds of attitudes lingering on, and in fact, the campaign about rape and marriage, raping marriages, first rate of crime and 1985. So that still harks back to the idea that a woman is in fact the property of the man. So the situation wasn't equal. Having said that, New Zealand is the first country with women vote, we successfully get that through an 89. Three were the first entire country to have women voting and Parliament were the first country where women could take degrees at a university that's already in 77, or Oakland University College, Katie. So all of these things are put us ahead in terms of gender relations. So it isn't that bad, but it isn't that good either. And there are a number of quite anomalous things that need to be considered. So the situation then for lesbians starts to become interesting, apart from our early communities with women. Particularly in the post war period, there are places to meet private parties, there are some hotel bars we have women can meet, there are coffee bars, women can meet. So there are networks and there are other kinds of clubs or organizations, [00:03:57] church groups, sporting groups, we are women can meet together. But we first start getting a period of organization when with the arrival here of women's liberation, which starts from the late 1960s. And this is a worldwide explosion of political consciousness what is now regarded as second wave feminism, though, there's been two points out there. In fact, there's always been a women's movement throughout the 20th century that we should, when we think of waves, like first wave feminism and second wave feminism, we shouldn't assume that there's nothing in between, but just that it isn't peaking at quite this, those same levels of energy, certainly between first wave feminism, which roughly begins to dwindle, in the right in the beginning of the 1930s, probably, but certainly between then and the end of the 1960s, early 1970s, we have a lot of very important things like the campaign for equal pay, the marriage guidance, movement, family planning, and things of this sort, which are all seeking to improve the position of women. difference with women separation is that it is the baby boomer generation coming of age in that period after World War Two, fueled with a great deal of energy who start to put all of this in motion. And there's a lot of writing, communication becomes better, there's a lot of books start to come out. And within a short space of time, the we have women's liberation branches throughout New Zealand largely at first being seated on universities, and very soon, community groups and so on throughout the country as well. And high levels of energy. It's from that movement that we begin to see [00:05:47] the emergence of lesbian groups, and and eventually the emergence of lesbian feminist, lesbian feminist groups move from lesbian tripping, working, calling themselves gay women working in gay liberation together with men, lesbians from the earlier network supporting networks and things of that kind, and the lesbians and the women's liberation movement to begin to feel that their own interests aren't really being attended to, and there is some Liza phobia among the heterosexual women. So these three, three groups come together. And we see the emergence of the first kinds of lesbian organizing here, in particular, the sisters for human file equality, which begins in Christchurch, and with a branch and Wellington with the formation of the gay feminist group in Auckland. And with the emergence of various these being clubs, like club 41, in Wellington, and the kg club in Auckland and other kinds of groups. The thing about the early 1970s Is that true both women's liberation, gay liberation, lesbian feminism, what we have as a period of extreme energy, when people talk about the 1960s, they really talking about actually the energy of the 1970s, because that's the period which when everything comes really to a kind of peek, at a typical to explain to people who weren't involved at that time, just how high energy this was, it was a belief that we could change the world, that it was possible to change society, that it could all happen, it would happen in our lifetimes, that if people would easily see how important that was to remove the obstacles to equality to completely change the fundamentals of society. And I think that there have been periods like this in human history before certainly when we read some of the writings around the the events leading up to enjoying the French Revolution and the late 18th century, we can see some of that same kind of energy. And in the words of people like me was bliss was it in that dorm to be alive, but to be young was very Heaven, we can see that these kinds of periods have happened in human history before with a belief that this is an era of change. And it feeds upon itself. Because when you have a mass movement, a lot of people coming together and with with this kind of energy, this belief in ourselves and feeling that it could all happen, then these are very important movements. So a lot of things happen in the 1970s in terms of lesbian organizing, and that starts to that continues on through the 1980s as well. Of course, there are a lot of problems you get, for example, conflicts between lesbians and straight feminists and in New Zealand, particularly at p Hall, which was an important meeting taking place there and at the United women's conventions taking place in 1977, and 1979. [00:08:57] And [00:08:58] after each of these even more years began to organize separately. From 1978. several groups were formed in Wellington, including as a specific working class Group, a self help therapy group and the lesbian project which focused on organizing regular social events and raising funds to open a lesbian center, breathing space of discussion and social court for women coming artists. These bands held regular fortnightly meetings during 1979 and 1980. The Wellington lesbian network formed following the United 79 united women's convention and that made regular intervals and organized many political and social events and produced a newsletter in November 1979. The first days we intend to open the dreams and boycotts straight, and subsequently there was a second baseman center opening in Cuba street so at one time they were actually to [00:09:48] the lesbian liberation week was held in October 1980. And there was a campaign against the Wellington City Council which had refused to carry advertisement for these Vincent honored passes. [00:10:00] And the other in other centers. They were also Forbes a distinctive, these been organizing in smaller theaters, lesbians often worked in organizations together with feminist or with gay men for mutual support and both political and social activities, for example, and Mel grow the men which were gay rights Association established in Palmerston North in 1977, which still continues as [00:10:24] the manner to gay lesbian and gay rights Association. And they were smaller organizations and places like Ashburton, Gisborne, well, but womanly and the wife of a rapper. During the 1980s, at least when groups and organizations grew and numbers and scope essays when communities became more open, and political activities became more organized and publications and services expanded. This weekend, phone lines were started on a regular basis and various cities in the 1980s. And these kinds of phone services have always been variable important because of as women become aware of the are emerging feelings for other women, it's important to have some which will phone and get information and so on. [00:11:12] In 1981, a Christchurch group established a lesbian line telephone service, and Indonesian into Maroon 1984. And by 1990, there was services in Nelson Patterson or ternary, wondering Hamilton, as well as the four main centers, lesbian radio broadcasting started in Wellington on access radio [00:11:33] in 1984, and that was followed by broadcast live in broadcasting and Auckland, Christchurch and to need on the Christchurch program. Why need Taka top with sound women was broadcast on planes radio, FM, Indonesian student radio station was used and radio has been an important way to disseminate information and ideas and to promote discussion for many sections of the lesbian communities. During the 1980s, civil at least via newsletters or magazines were produced circle continued being produced by which had been originally produced by the sisters for him a fall equality which had become fact by the 1980s. But we had behind enemy lines, dark news from Auckland, New Zealand, Wellington, glad reg. And the only magazine continuing now is the Thomas of Ricardo newsletter, which continues on into the 21st century from all con, the lesbian radio program continues still in the second decade of the 21st century. And there are now a number of really important sites on the internet, providing information willing to lesbians, and there is the lilac, the lesbian library, which, which provides information and people can borrow DVDs and magazines, a whole lot of things of this concert, the numbers of institutions, actors, 30s, and so on in the second decade of the 21st century, very important and too numerous to talk about. But it's interesting that that period of high energy really just continues after the independent sexual law reform. And I think it's after that, that the feeling that the world could be so dramatically change begins to fade because we move into more difficult economic times when people withdraw the energies from working in these alternative movements say, and it's I don't think it's just a question of the ages of the people concerned. But I think people needed to lesbians needed to be more careful about their economic future, they needed perhaps to become more conformist and some of the activities and some of the more radical movements begin to decline after that sort of period. what the future will hold, it's difficult to know because we have now large numbers of young women who would prefer not to identify themselves as lesbian, they would rather be identifying themselves as an identified all US other to terminology perhaps at the top with of body descent, perhaps refer to themselves as bisexual, [00:14:07] and many [00:14:08] are beginning to think of themselves as as trans people. So things change, and we don't really know what kinds of organizing women, however we understand what women are, might be doing in the future. But it's interesting to reflect on our past and to see how much has been achieved when we compare our situation today with what the situation was like at the beginning of this period, as we think about how we weren't again to meet together from the 1960s and how they began to organize political activities to make social change from the late 1960s and beginning of the 1970s. [00:14:45] This program was funded through a generous grant from the gay line Willington trust with the support of the rule foundation and brought to you by pride in

This page features computer generated text of the source audio. It is not a transcript, it has not been checked by humans and will contain many errors. However it is useful for searching on keywords and themes.