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Takataapui TV: Carmen's story

Fri 23 May 2008 In: Worth Checking Out View at NDHA

The next episode of Maori Television's LGBT documentary programme Takataapui will be broadcast at 9:30pm on Monday 26 May: Carmen Rupe "I had five bedrooms upstairs and turned it into a brothel. And so I always used to say to people, 'tea and coffee downstairs but the sweets are upstairs'" - Carmen. At age 72, Carmen Rupe has been a pioneer for the visibility of whakawahine in Aotearoa; a gay icon. Takataapui joins the fabulous Carmen in Sydney for a chat about her life and pays tribute to a woman who, at a time when transsexual people were forced onto the streets and marginalized from the rest of society, refused to pass by unnoticed. She combined her experience of working on the streets and in the entertainment industry with a cocktail of different business ventures to become a successful entrepreneur, a dazzling entertainer and an inspiration to those who follow in her footsteps. Now resident in Sydney, Carmen told us of her pride at being asked to lead the Decade of the Diva's float at Mardi Gras 2008 - aboard her mobility scooter and topless - and it was with equal pride that she told her life story to Ramon Te Wake. When filming the story the crew and director took Carmen to many of her old haunts - former clubs and street hang-outs - and there wasn't a single occasion that she wasn't stopped for photographs or greeted by members of the public. She is well-known and well-loved. Ramon also took over a pre-recorded video of messages of love and respect from members of the takataapui community from Aotearoa, and on the rooftop of a towering central city apartment a small celebration was held with New Zealanders resident in Sydney, Australian friends of Carmen and the pre-recorded vision from Aotearoa. Carmen's home is stacked with memories. Her one bedroom apartment is jammed with photographs, notes and memorabilia. Her memory is an organized mirror image of all these keepsakes - she was very lucid and articulate. We feel very privileged to have been able to document this information in a face to face interview and produce a profile of her life. Takataapui is broadcast on Maori Television each Monday night at 9:30pm, then repeats on Freeview's Stratos channel at 10pm. More from the Takataapui crew is available to view on demand via Gay Gogglebox TV on the link below. Takataapui TV - 23rd May 2008

Credit: Takataapui TV

First published: Friday, 23rd May 2008 - 12:06am

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