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Convention to explore modern lesbian world

Fri 25 Mar 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at NDHA

File picture "Lesbianism, funky or defunct?" is one of the curly questions which will be posed at a gathering of women in Auckland tomorrow. A Lesbian Convention, organised by West Auckland group Low Down, will allow women to explore what it means to be a lesbian in today's world. It will include stories from the past and today and a number of workshops, such as top ten lesbian reads, writing for lesbian media, sex toys and feminist politics. Organiser Cissy Rock hopes women who attend have the opportunity to have some really good conversations about things which are important to them, "and to be able to meet some likeminded people and explore some stuff that might have been just sitting in their heads." The group of women who worked on the event all wanted to talk about the whole concept of the label 'queer' as celebrities come out as bisexual and there are more lesbian kisses on TV. "And you know, are we a commodity? Do people see lesbianism as an accessory? Is there any need to identify as lesbian anymore because it's so assimilated into the mainstream or broader part of the queer community?" explains Rock. Organisers are expecting up to 60 people to attend at this stage. "Lots of people are quite keen to sit down with a group of other women and talk about things that are important to them." Rock says something similar may happen in the future, but not necessarily in a convention format. "If it proves really useful to have these types of conversations in our community and it fills us up and we walk away with a bit of a spring in our step and our brains in gear, then I would like to do something like it again." Auckland author Julie Helean will be at the convention to promote her new book The Open Accounts of an Honesty Box, which is set in a Central Otago town and centres on the struggles of a group of women trying to get a desperately needed public toilet built. It features a "hard-to manage lesbian with a penchant for rule breaking of every kind" named Jinx who is on the run from Auckland and her claustrophobic circle of friends and is described as a "whimsical and delightfully contoured novel" which "showcases rural New Zealand in all its jammy glory". On Sunday afternoon there will be a chance to wind down with Heroes Out West, a day of laid back entertainment at Falls Park in Henderson which is quickly becoming a favourite amongst Auckland lesbians. It will feature performances from Dykes on Mics regulars Bonnie and the Oosh, SamRB, Jodi Pringle, Anne Speir, Karis Vesey, Britt Kusserow, plus special guests Marilyn Waring and Edwina Thorne, a jazz pairing with an impressive repertoire. A Lesbian Convention New Lynn Community Centre From 9.30am, 26 March, free entry Email to register: Heroes Out West Falls Park Henderson From 3pm, 27 March Tickets $10 from the Women's Bookshop or $15 at the event    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 25th March 2011 - 11:35am

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