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2012 NZ Queen of Queens: Carmen Rupe

Mon 4 Jun 2012 In: Hall of Fame View at Wayback View at NDHA

It seems appropriate to introduce, on this Queen's Birthday, what will be an annual celebration of our communities' own majestic Queens. The criteria may evolve from time to time but we hope they will always be based on the positive attributes of our first honoured New Zealand Queen of Queens, the late Carmen Rupe. Carmen was majestic and glorious. She was glamorous even on days when she wasn't beautiful. She had courage, determination and pragmatism in spades. She could be a little cunning, occasionally self-serving and she loved the limelight, but surely those are some of the sort of human qualities which a Queen of the glbti communities must also posess. For the New Zealand Queen of Queen awards should and could never be restricted to those amongst us who are allegedly without fault. Carmen was forgiving, she had hardly a vindictive bone in her body. She therefore had grace. She had a sense of humour and a sly way of making her views known without intentionally hurting anyone. She could also be blunt. "Who are you dear?" could be either a genuine question or a subtle put-down when uttered by Carmen. The intonation was identical in either case, but the context was gently clear. And either way no-one could take offense. She was her 'own special creation' and she had style, which she cobbled together from influences as various as Maori culture, retro chic, Pacific flamboyance and grand guignol opera. Nobody ever looked or carried themselves quite like Carmen. No one ever came even close. Above all, Carmen was visible. She helped show us we could hold our heads high. She never set out to educate anyone but she actually helped teach us to accept who we are, not who we are supposed to be. To accept the hand that is dealt to us, to make the most of it and to get on with life. Carmen didn't for ask much, just a little - real or occasionally outrageously manipulated - adulation and perhaps a cup of tea and a sandwich afterwards. For all these qualities and a packed kite more we today honour the late Carmen Rupe, the first-honoured and indisputable New Zealand Queen of Queens. You can discuss this New Zealand gay community feature in the Forum.     Jay Bennie - 4th June 2012

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Monday, 4th June 2012 - 12:10pm

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