Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact 2013 New Year's Honours

Tue 31 Dec 2013 In: Hall of Fame View at NDHA

It has been an utterly fantastic year, with heroes springing up from all walks of life. We honour some who have worked tirelessly for our communities, and others who have bravely taken stands when confronted with hate. Margaret Mayman Margaret Mayman (picture thanks to Gareth Watkins) will be sorely missed! With all the hatred and mistruths that are spouted in this country in the name of religion, Margaret Mayman was a beacon of love and honesty in her 12 years at Wellington’s St Andrews on the Terrace. Aside from her wider work as a social justice advocate, she was crucial in the civil union debate. When lies were spun and fears played on during the more recent marriage equality debate, she led like-minded religious leaders in calling out the haters, and sharing messages of nothing but love and respect for diversity. While she has sadly left Wellington for a new challenge in Sydney, Mayman has left a parting message, urging us to think of members of our communities in areas of Europe and Africa where their rights are being trampled upon. As for here at home, she urges those of us who are secure and comfortable to “keep paying attention to kids growing up in places like Gore and Hawera, places where it’s still really tough”. Jessie Rose Artist Jessie Rose gave a lesson in love and foregiveness Whangarei artist Jessie Rose astounded us with her love and understanding when her mum disgracefully outed her in a bitter submission against marriage equality. She told the select committee her daughter had “chosen a lesbian lifestyle" after a "terrible experience with men”, ranting that "homosexual conduct is repugnant”. While many of us would have been heading past 10 on the rage meter, Jessie Rose didn’t get angry, instead telling she forgave her mother and felt that her parents were actually lovely people. “My dad is a tortured soul but I honestly can't say any wrong of them, I honestly can't." She explained her parents were "baffled" by her sexuality. "My mum said it's the most traumatic thing that's ever happened to her, which is very sad, to know who I am will never be accepted by my family, because of their beliefs and interpretation of the bible." And in return, Jessie Rose showed us the kind of compassion and forgiveness lacking from many ‘Christians’ during the marriage equality debate. Kelly Ellis Kelly Ellis, with Bruce, had a trailblazing year This Whangarei lawyer and TransAdvocate was integral in the fight for Corrections to start housing transgender women in women’s prisons through her staunch activism. From in the court room to under the glare of cameras, Ellis spoke up for trans women who were facing abuse and violence as they were housed with men. All the while the community advocate also bravely put herself and her life out there, taking bitter flak from people even within our community. And yet she continued to speak out. “The people I deal with are almost universally broken. They don't have homes, their families offer little support and alcoholism and drug addiction are rife. The system victimises them in a totally disproportionate way,” she told us. Even when Corrections changed its policy, she knew there was more to do, encouraging it to also improve its access to treatment and support for transitioning prisoners. Aside from the political lobbying, Ellis also gets our respect for the core work she is doing representing the most downtrodden in our communities. She is clearly heartbroken about the brutal wrongs which have been occurring in custody units and behind bars. We’re delighted Ellis is now looking to politics as we know she would make an incredible advocate in Parliament for those who don’t often get a voice. Jane Collison and Paula Knight Jane Collison and Paula Knight blew the whistle on discrimination This embarrassed and upset Northland couple could have just driven away and said nothing when they were told they couldn’t share a bed by the Bible thumping owners of Whangarei’s Pilgrim Planet Lodge. The gay-phobic Ruskins claim other gay couples have done so. Jane and Paula spoke to about the discrimination they faced instead, exposing the high horsed Michael and Karen Ruskin and their self-serving desire to run a business while violating New Zealand’s anti-discrimination laws. “My money was not worth anything to them, I was just a second-class citizen. Yes I would like an apology, but I would like other businesses to know it is not ok to turn people down for such reasons as sexual orientation,” Jane told us. An apology eventually came from the Ruskins as a result of Human Rights Commission mediation. While the Ruskins are firmly among our villains of the year, Jane and Paula take their place among our heroes. We applaud the women for their stand. Geno Sisneros Geno Sisneros took on the Bishop of Auckland He pretty much knew how it would rule, but it wasn’t about the decision for Geno Sisneros when he took the Anglican Church the Human Rights Tribunal after it prevented him from becoming a priest. It was about sparking a conversation on the rule that priests must be single and celibate, or in a straight marriage. During the hearing the Bishop of Auckland, crucially for Sisneros, admitted it was discrimination. The Tribunal in turn ruled the Bishop of Auckland did not breach the Human Rights Act because there are some exceptions for religions under the law. Sisneros told us: “As far as I’m concerned, what my case has done, if anything, is put a certain amount of pressure onto the church because all of New Zealand is watching. And there are lot of Anglicans like myself who want to see the church leading the human rights struggle, rather than fighting against it.” Lynda Topp Here's some advice - don't mess with Lynda Topp! When Lynda Topp said she and partner Donna saw their civil union as a marriage, Bob McCoskrie of Family First and the same-sex marriage fearing group Protect Marriage tried to use it to score some kind of point in his anti-marriage equality bumble. Lynda Topp was having none of it. She responded to claims on the Protect Marriage Facebook page that she believed civil unions were ‘enough’ with a stinging: “WRONG ... "We do not believe in civil union. It is discrimination. My partner and I are getting married, so there.” Topp also asked the website not to use her good name to promote its anti-marriage equality views. On the day of the final reading of the marriage equality bill, she further explained to the media:“Let's get one thing straight (if you'll excuse the pun), this is a marriage - not a civil union. That is how Donna and I see it. “I think everybody should be able to stand up and say 'I'm getting married.' A civil union is demeaning... this idea that you will never be good enough, that your love is somehow less than or not as worthy. There's no romance to it. “And today, I feel more romantic and more in love than I've ever felt in my life. Our marriage is as honest, loyal and committed as anyone's and we should have the same rights as anyone else.” Words like that are crucial when they come from a New Zealand icon with national attention, especially in the face of campaigns based on screeds of ridiculous misinformation and fearmongering. Gresham Bradley and the Pride Trust, Julian Cook and Jonathan Smith It was incredible to have a Pride Festival and Parade in Auckland again. Massive thanks to MP Nikki Kaye for throwing the idea out there in the first place and doing the initial groundwork. It was then thrown to the community, and we also honour the board led by Gresham Bradley which put in a lot of hard yards to get a plan and proposal together, and the overseeing board which continued that work. Making hardworking perfectionist and Julian Cook the Festival Director gave us a flawless and wide-ranging festival full of awesome events, while Jonathan Smith gave us a fun and memorable new era Pride Parade. There are far too many people who put in a ridiculous amount of work to make it all happen and we can’t name you all, but your community thanks you, and we can’t wait for Pride 2014! The creators and performers of Black Faggot Victor Roger, Roy Ward, Iaheto Ah Hi and Beulah Koalepulled of a remarkable piece of riveting, human and hillarious theatre exploring the lives of a series of gay Samoan characters and their friends and aiga (families). Even the usual Samoan sacred cows of church, mothers and what it means to be a man were held under a penetrating and insightful magnifying glass, resulting in one of the year's best nights in New Zealand theatre. Giving visibility and a voice to non-fafaafine Samoan gay men was an achievement in itself, to do it in such a splendid manner showed rare and special talent all round. NZ's Anglican Bishops and clergy It was all over in a flash, even we at only belatedly spotted a remarkable moment in Anglican history when 'Motion 6' sought to have the church's Synod support the principle that their current definition of marriage as being "between a man and a woman" be extended to include "between a man and a man," and "between a woman and a woman." Just one vote separated the supporters from the opponents but the fact that the majority of the clergy and the Bishops supported the motion showed that there is now a genuine willingness amongst the Anglicans, who have basically been putting glbti stuff in the too hard basket for years, to embrace genuine equality and to practice the humanity they preach. Only the laity was against the motion and even there the voting indicated a closing gap between those who oppose and those who agree with the church conducting same sex marriages. There's a feeling the Anglicans may be coming in to the home straight on marriage equality and the lead shown by the church hierarchy must be heartening to glbti Anglicans throughout the country. It has been a year where the heroes far outnumber the villains, something we adore. There are a few other people who also stood out to us. Radio station ZM – It may have been a ‘win a wedding’ competition, but it was far from tacky. Well done for organising classy and respectful nuptials between a gorgeous, loving lesbian couple to mark a remarkable day in New Zealand history. NZAF boss Shaun Robinson - For a straight man Robinson has done a good job of guiding his predominantly gay team of HIV researchers, educators and support crews around the country. And just as the wind seemed to be going out of the sails of HIV-relevancy he understood the importance of ensuring that other gay and bi men's health issues which impact on HIV and AIDS are brought to the fore and hopefully addressed. His forceful, sometimes almost over the top, rhetoric has ensured that those whose job it will be to give more priority to gay health issues can no longer be ignorant of these pressing needs. Robin Waerea and Jurgen Hoffman - At the risk of stirring up another flood of abuse from across the Tasman, we honour two men who have kept the flame of Carmen's memory burning. Who, in a gracious and respectful manner, have quietly carried out their final duties for their late friend whose death was followed by such a firestorm of personal agendas, irreverence and tastelessness that for a while it looked like Carmen's legacy would be forever sullied. But Robin and Jurgen, and Diego as well, have shown grace under fire and ensured that the post-funeral matters have been carried out with dignity. She may have been our Carmen, but she spent her final years in Sydney and it's easy to see why she valued these men as her close and steadfast friends. Blake Skjellerup – All year our favourite speed skater has been in the media all over the world, waving the flag for respect for the glbti community. We love your advocacy work Blake and are still crossing our fingers for your Olympic bid! Louisa Wall – we honoured our marriage equality champion last year, but 2013 wouldn’t be complete without another mention. You rock Louisa! Maurice Williamson, Moana Mackey, Chris Auchinvole, Paul Hutchison, and others - While Maurice Williamson gave us the speech of the year, there were others who also shone during the marriage equality debate in 2013. We thank all those who were firmly on the side of love. staff - 31st December 2013

Credit: staff

First published: Tuesday, 31st December 2013 - 10:58am

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us