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January to June in NZ glbti news

Tue 27 Dec 2011 In: Features View at Wayback

January Not so happy meal: We launched the year with the news brought to us by Wellington lesbian Julz Darroch, that McDonald's' free WiFi service was blocking numerous glbti websites. The sites included, along with numerous community support sites such as those of Rainbow Youth, Agender and Family Planning. It sparked community anger and led McDonald's to explain that it was due to its filtering service, and unintentional. It moved to unblock the majority of sites; however remains unavailable due to the content of many of our ads. Homophobic graffiti on the car of Mangawhai Heads couple Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh Burning with hatred: Later that month we broke the shocking story that the business of Mangawhai Heads lesbian couple Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh was destroyed in an arson attack. The women lost the packing shed for Blooming Bulbs a week after it was hit with anti-lesbian graffiti, as were the women's vehicles and home. The harassment didn't end there for the equally terrified and livid couple, with further graffiti attacks on their car and fence through the year. Thanks to generous community support the women were able to clean up and sell up and ultimately move on. The scum responsible for the attacks has still not been found. A new start: New Executive Director Shaun Robinson was formally welcomed to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and said he believed we can achieve a world without HIV and AIDS. February   The old Canterbury Provincial Council Chambers following the February quake Devastation in Christchurch: It was the moment that stopped a nation, when at 12.51PM on 22 February a 6.3 earthquake smashed Canterbury, claiming 181 lives and leaving the region, as Mr Gay NZ 2011 Aaron Comis put it as it happened "like a warzone". Carmen enters hospital: Carmen Rupe suffered a fall in her Sydney home which left her with a fractured hip. She had surgery in St Vincent's Hospital and remarked on Facebook: "They are trying to help me walk again which I find very painful but a girl has to do what she must," before, as always, thanking all those who sent her kind wishes, with "Love you all," she said. Do we need another Hero? Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye began a strong push for Auckland to create a Sydney Mardi Gras-style parade, something which is still being worked through with the Auckland Council by a community steering group set up to see how the idea can be brought into fruition. Celeb watch: Tamati Coffey announced he was engaged to partner Tim Smith, while Anika Moa revealed she and civil union partner Angela Fyfe were expecting twins. And John Key, New Zealand's pop idol PM, turned up to the Big Gay Out and told a strangely enthusiastic crowd he hadn't taken away any glbti rights, hinting that as such should be applauded ... which he was ... March Milan Shah, Sunil Pant and Roshan Mahato came all the way from Nepal for the Outgames World hits Wellington: An excited German man was the first in line to register for the AsiaPacific Outgames, a massive event which drew people from all over the globe to Wellington for sport, entertainment, culture and a human rights conference. Far too much happened to fit into this short summation, but was it the event of the year? Hands down ... A surge in the epidemic: The 2010 figures from the AIDS Epidemiology Group at Otago University signalled more gay and bisexual men than ever before were contracting HIV in New Zealand, making 2010 "the worst year on record" for diagnoses. Hughes scandal: Young gun Labour MP Darren Hughes resigned from Parliament after an 18-year-old man laid a police complaint following a drunken night in Wellington. While police ultimately decided announced they didn't have enough evidence to charge Hughes, his exit cleared the way for openly-lesbian MP Louisa Wall to return to Parliament. April   Q-Youth Director Seb Stewart and Q-Youther Connor putting the letters in the mail Think pink: April means Pink Shirt Day and this year our youth and their supporters led the charge against bullying, and gained more traction than ever before with clever t-shirts, a letter-writing campaign to the PM and Olympian Blake Skjellerup as the eloquent and powerful voice of the drive. It resulted in representatives of Rainbow Youth and Q-Youth meeting with the Prime Minister to ensure their anti-bullying message was heard at the top. Foot firmly in mouth: Labour MP Damien O'Connor made a bitter swipe at his own party's new list, saying it was drawn up by ''self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays'', leading many smart-ass gay people across the country to instantly start referring to their mates as their "gaggle". That's so gay: The ongoing debate about the ostensibly homophobic language of our youth reared its head when a young Shortland St character described something as 'so gay'. Producer Steven Zanoski explained the soap strives to reflect modern language. "Teenagers will say something is gay to mean bad and have no issue then using the word as a noun without negative implications ... It is evolvement of our language. The word gay was appropriated relatively recently to become a noun for homosexuality and now both meaning and grammatical use has changed again." Having a fag: Rounding out an odd month for language in the media, Breakfast host Peter Williams made the 'accidental' quip "Some of Mark Todd's personal habits frankly don't lend to being ... he's had the odd fag over the years, hasn't he?" He claimed he meant cigarette. "It seems to have been one of those conversations that went slightly off the rails, where the participants realised they were talking in double meanings," a TVNZ spokesperson continued. May   Shock, horror, yawn: The Society for Promotion of Community Standards reared its boring head and complained about Out Takes' plan to screen gay zombie porn flick LA Zombie. SPCS lost and the film screened. The irony was that by most accounts, the film was rubbish, as our reviewer Michael Stevens summed it up: "I'm glad that we had the chance to see it, glad that the SPCS didn't win their fight, but I honestly can't recommend it." Go Green: Kevin Hague powered up to 3rd place on the Green Party list, while Kapiti Coast lesbian Jan Logie was ranked 9th on the party's list, giving her a solid chance of making it into Parliament... June What about our kids? A major report into the state of life for New Zealand youth, which was personally commissioned by the Prime Minister, made scant reference to same-sex attracted youth and did not mention transgender young people at all. Kazam! Well our youth were doing pretty well actually, with more than 200 young people from Gore to Whangarei descending on west Auckland for the Kazam! youth hui, where they gained support, made friends and networks and had a fabulous time being queer! After it wrapped up Seb Stewart from Nelson's Q-Youth immediately headed off on a diversity tour of New Zealand schools with Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup in tow. Queering the Night: Hundreds of people marched against homophobia and transphobia in central Wellington, taking a stand against physical and verbal abuse handed out on the streets. From groups of friends, to entire families, those who attended say it was empowering and inspiring to see the glbti community rally together. Playing ball: Two young Wellington men, a student and an ex-student, quickly gained an internet following in their battle to be allowed to attend the St Pat's school ball together, seemingly even taking them by surprise. The school said it was purely as it had a policy not allow ''old boys'' or boys from other schools to attend school functions. "Balls are complicated enough without adding another dimension,'' the Rector stated. K' Rd bashing: A 40-year-old man, later revealed to be gay Auckland Trevor Kaukau, was found seriously injured on K' Rd in the early hours of the morning, leading police to seek help tracking down the offender. Twenty-year-old Sitaleki Langi Koloamatangi was eventually arrested and ultimately pleaded guilty, and it was revealed he'd punch Kaukau to the ground after he'd hit on him. Kaukau fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement, and spent weeks in hospital in an induced coma. He had to relearn how to shower and speak. Check back soon for part 2 ... Jacqui Stanford - 27th December 2011

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Tuesday, 27th December 2011 - 4:24pm

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