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Glen Bennett

In this podcast Glen Bennett from the Labour Party talks to Regis Perez about what it's like to be a Member of Parliament.

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In an 18-minute podcast recorded at the Rainbow Room, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, Glen Bennett from the Labour Party engages in a conversation with Regis Perez about the life of a Member of Parliament and the journey to becoming an MP. Bennett shares insights into the influence of personal background on political engagement, the reluctance to enter politics, and the eventual decision to run for office. The discussion unfolds around topics that traverse the 2000s to 2020s, including the responsibilities and privileges of parliamentary representation, and the management of personal time in the political sphere.

Bennett recounts initial hesitations about becoming an MP, stemming from a perception of not fitting the traditional politician mold due to a lack of formal education, high-profile career, or public renown. This led to multiple refusals to run for parliament until Bennett was convinced that the House of Representatives should include voices from all walks of life, including grassroots community members.

The conversation turns emotional as Bennett gets candid about personal struggles, including coming to terms with internalized homophobia and facing discrimination and bigotry as an openly gay politician. Bennett recalls resisting homophobia from within before facing it on the campaign trail and in Parliament, while discussing the broader political effort to curb discriminatory practices through legislation like the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill.

Reflecting on Bennett's formative years, the discussion addresses the challenges of frequent relocations and how this shaped interactions and identity exploration as a young person. The narrative discusses the complexity of coming out multiple times and at different ages, while highlighting the transformation of family relationships, indicating a positive change from the times of fearing rejection to full family acceptance and support, marking a notable journey from adversity to affirmation.

The conversation also enlightens listeners on the needs of the rainbow community and emphasizes the importance of continued advocacy and nudging from the community to ensure that progress towards inclusivity continues. Bennett stresses the need for government support for medical and social services, advocating for an inclusive Aotearoa where 'coming out' is unnecessary because of societal acceptance.

Bennett mentions personal heroes, such as Harvey Milk and Georgina Byer, as inspirational figures for their pioneering roles in politics as openly gay and transgender individuals respectively. Bennett's admiration for these trailblazers underscores the ongoing need for diversity and representation within Parliament and society.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:9th November 2022
Interviewer:Regis Perez
Location:Rainbow Room, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004697).