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Mr Gay Wellington 2005 - James Laverty

Fri 14 Oct 2005 In: Hall of Fame View at NDHA

James Laverty Mr Gay Wellington 2005 came to NZ from Ireland "to see if it was fine to be gay," and discovered that it is! Who are you and what's your background? My full-name is James Alexander Laverty, born 07.02.1977, in a small town called Ballymoney. Now you probably will ask yourself where's that!? So here it goes… Ballymoney is a small town in County Antim, Northern Ireland! (If you look at a map of Ireland this is at the top around the coastal area near Ballycastle and the Giants' Causeway). So why did I come to New Zealand? I have now been in Wellington for six years, I came here on my own, and I wanted to see if it was fine to be gay. At the time I came to New Zealand I did not understand a lot about being gay as where I came from there was nothing offered for GLBT people. I was very badly bullied at school and had a very firm upbringing! Which left me feeling for most of my life (before coming to New Zealand) that there was something wrong with me, so I knew I had to move on. And six years later, I am in fabulous Wellington, I love the city as a whole, it's so rich and diverse in culture, and anything goes! I have made a lot of great friends for life here, those friends know who they are! I'm currently manager of The Chocolate Cake Company Wellington, it's a fun job very challenging and it is a lot of hours! You better stop for a coffee cause I still have 16 questions to answer here! Hehe. Why did you decide to enter Mr. Gay Wellington this year, and what do you plan to do with your title? I would like to start by saying a very big thank you to my community (GLBTI) for voting me as Mr. Gay Wellington 2005. I entered to have fun and put myself out there. I have never entered a competition before so those are some of the reasons why I entered! With the title Mr. Gay Wellington I personally hope to do as much as I can and work with my Community over the next year and hope that the Wellington Community will also call on me and guide me with their support. So far I've started by donating prizes through my work on behalf of Mr. Gay Wellington and the GLBTI community for events (GLBTI and non-GLBTI). Also Wellington City Council have approached me for an article on why I immigrated to Wellington (NZ) and my reasons for staying. I promoted our community and this will be used to market Wellington as a tourist destination overseas. I have proudly done this interview as a gay male in my community! What characterises the New Zealand GLBT community for you? A number of things come to mind. We are colourful, strong-willed and stick together when we have to and stand together as a proud NZ GLBTI community. What is the worst thing for you about being GLBT? I am a very proud gay male and glad to be part of my GLBTI community! So in one way, the only bad thing I see is having to fight for our rights in a straight world – to be equal. What is the best thing? I wake up everyday and realise that I do fit in and that I am not alone or that something is wrong with me! I found happiness within and I wake up feeling proud! Thanks New Zealand. Relationship status? I am currently single. Favourite food and drink? KFC! Though I enjoy all levels of food, whether it be silver service or take-outs. Favorite drink would be Vodka mixed with any soft-drink, or a glass of Chardonnay (Church Road) Worst habit? Well my worst habit would be being too particular with everything that I set out for me, whether it be work or on a personal level. I wish I could chill out pill now and again! Hehe. Most noble feature? I don't believe in putting myself on a pedistal, so I will leave that for others to decide. Favourite TV programme? Footballers Wives, Desperate Housewives, Bad Girls, Coronation Street, 20/20, Sunday, BBC's The Human Body, Doco (TV3), Little Britain, French and Saunders, Fear Factor – Don't get time to watch them all but from what I have seen they are great programs! Favourite movie? I am going to be greedy on this question and put down a few of my all time favorite movies, Dirty Dancing, Ghost and How to Marry A Millionaire (staring Marilyn Monroe), they are all classic movies and they timeless. Qualities you most appreciate in a GLBT person? I appreciate honesty and loyalty, looks are not a big factor and intelligence (is in what ever level that it is presented to me, as I believe we are all intelligent in our own ways, different, unique and have something special to offer. What are you reading at the moment? The last thing I read was this week's Time magazine article on Gay Teens (10 October, 2005), it was very interesting. Who in the world including NZ would you most like to have a coffee and a chat with? The man of my dreams! Hehe… On a serious note, I think it would have to be Nelson Mandela or Queen Elizabeth II. I find these people both inspiring and they have lived unique, very different lives. I would find them both mentally stimulating and would enjoy listening to their life stories and asking questions. Role models? Firstly all GLBTI politicians who represent us as a community, but there is one that stands out in particular: Georgina Beyer. Because Georgina was the first transsexual in the world to be elected as mayor and also achieving the outcome of the world's first transsexual MP. Georgina has a lot of strength and encouragement, which I admire. Also, I love the way that Georgina holds a sense of herself no matter what situation or environment she is put into. What is the most pressing issue currently facing the NZ GLBT population? Enforcing the Civil Unions Bill so it stays and also getting the Human Rights (Gender Legislation) Amendment Act passed by parliament. If you could have one wish granted what would it be? Part of me would like to have this wish for myself, but I am not going to. If I had just one wish I would like to see the world be a fair and just place and everyone to be equal in it. - 14th October 2005


First published: Friday, 14th October 2005 - 12:00pm

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