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Cindy Lewis

In this podcast Cindy Lewis from New Zealand talks about attending the human rights conference.

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In a recorded interview at Wellington Town Hall, Cindy Lewis reflects on participating in a human rights conference alongside the 2011 Asia Pacific Outgames. The conversation with interviewer Gareth Watkins, captured on the 16th of March, 2011, spans four minutes and provides insight into the experiences and events that marked Lewis's attendance.

Lewis arrived in Wellington the previous Friday night and planned to return to Hamilton the following morning. They highlight the human rights conference on Tuesday as a key moment of their week, where they had the opportunity to engage with over 100 transgender individuals. It was a significant and enjoyable occasion for Lewis, as it enabled meaningful connections and a sense of community among those present.

Besides attending the conference, Lewis also visited local cultural events, such as the 'Assume Nothing' exhibition—a display they were already familiar with, thanks to a movie adaptation. Indeed, their involvement with the exhibition extended to a personal contribution; Lewis was requested by the Waikato Museum to create a digital story about their transition, a project they undertook alongside another individual. The finished digital story and its associated storyboard were both generously donated to the archives, further enriching the historical record with their personal narrative.

Their participation in the week's activities also included the opening ceremony for the Outgames. Lewis fondly recalls the experience of joining together with an extensive community of 1,500 gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals. For Lewis, the environment was freeing and universally welcoming, allowing them to genuinely enjoy the company of new acquaintances from across the Pacific Rim. The social connections extended beyond the physical space as Lewis planned to continue these newfound friendships through social media platforms like Facebook.

The interview touches on the more festive aspects of the week, with parties being a central part of the celebration. Despite the exhaustion from a busy week, Lewis planned to attend the final party, joking about the risk of missing their bus home due to the late-night revelries. These parties were well-attended, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of the event.

From the perspective of Lewis, the core value of the Outgames and the affiliated human rights conference lay in the unity and diversity of the attendees. They emphasized the importance of this gathering as an opportunity to raise awareness of issues affecting the community, share stories of discrimination and violence, and strategize on how to support each other in prompting change in their respective countries.

One particularly compelling account was of a young Nepalese individual who was dismissed from the army and incarcerated due to their gender transition. The retelling of such stories was crucial to the dialogue during the conference, prompting tearful empathy and illustrating the severe human rights violations faced by the transgender community internationally.

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.

Record date:16th March 2011
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004149).