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Alison Laurie

In this podcast Alison talks about growing up and being involved in queer activism from the 1960s.

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The podcast with Alison Laurie delves into an extensive retrospective look at queer activism in New Zealand, particularly focusing on the transformative decade of the 1960s. Laurie, with a background rooted in both Maori and Pakeha heritage, provides a poignant personal narrative that intersects with the broader historical context of the era. The interview traverses Laurie's early experiences of growing up in a post-WWII environment marked by an inherited sense of entitlement from the freedoms fought for during the war. This very sense of entitlement fueled the activist fire within the baby boom generation, manifesting in the social movements of the 1960s when Laurie and peers refused to accept discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, and ethnicity.

Laurie's activism is colored by the struggle against overt legal discrimination, with male homosexual acts being criminalized at that time and lesbianism being indirectly criminalized through the 1961 Crimes Act. The narrative weaves through the establishment of social spaces for the queer community, such as coffee bars and private parties, as a result of the restrictive and discriminatory bars and liquor laws. Laurie highlights the use of the term 'kamp' within these circles, a term adopted from police abbreviations, to describe their community.

The interview further explores Laurie's personal journey to Australia as a reaction to familial discovery of their queer identity and provides insight into the cross-cultural influences and usually harsh realities of queer communities in Australia and Denmark. Laurie underscores the importance of gay liberation and its groundbreaking effort to question the normativity of heterosexuality. Distinctly, the rise of lesbian feminism is discussed as pivotal in shaping the path of activism in response to the sexism encountered within some gay male spheres and homophobia within the broader feminist movement.

Laurie's return to New Zealand marked the beginning of structured lesbian organizations like Sisters for Homophile Equality and the creation of Circle magazine, as well as the initiation of Club 41, which served as community hubs despite legal challenges. The podcast outlines the milestones in queer activism, demonstrating the interplay between legal reforms, such as the Homosexual Law Reform and the Human Rights Act inclusion of sexual orientation, and changing societal attitudes.

Laurie emphasizes the significance of this period as a watershed moment, likening it to other revolutionary times in history. The importance of vigilance in continuing to advance and protect queer rights in the face of economic and socio-political pressures is stressed, coupled with a call for strong organizations and independent communications channels.

The podcast finishes with a nod to the importance of historical awareness in current and future generations and the need to be strategic and united in the face of potential adversity, encouraging active participation and support of community organizations for continued progress.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Tags (computer generated)

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Record date:18th February 2010
Interviewer:Wai Ho
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-003847).