"I believe with a passion that every person has the right to live an authentic life. Respected and valued with the skills and knowledge to live a life with meaning, dignity, love and purpose." - activist Mani Bruce Mitchell [exact date unknown]

16 Mar 2011


"We don't need to label ourselves anymore because we recognise each other without the labels." - activist Philip Patston

29 Mar 2011


GayNZ reported on complaints of "blatantly offensive sexual behaviour" around Te Horo Beach on the Kapiti Coast. The area was popular with a number of different communities, including gay men, who according to some locals were popping up in the dunes "like meerkats." Joyce Fleming from Free Beaches NZ told media that anyone having sex in open view on a beach was offensive, "They are ruining it for other beach users and in particular for bona fide naturists and skinny-dippers." BJ, a local resident, said the dunes were like "an open outdoor brothel for gay men." While Sergeant Bigwood of the Otaki police said, "One or two people need to be made an example of so the sun lovers can get on with their discreet sun loving, the gay community can get on with being a discreet gay community and other beach users can use the beach without anything being shoved in their face."

6 Sep 2011


"In 2007 I met a beautiful young Māori woman in Melbourne who told me that as a 15-year-old she had been seriously contemplating suicide because of her sexuality. I had come to her school prize-giving, and my presence, she said, convinced her that being gay was not a barrier to personal success. She told me tearfully that I had saved her life. That story alone made it all worthwhile." - MP Chris Carter during his valedictory speech

12 Nov 2011


Media report on another homophobic advertising campaign from the Marlborough based Moa Brewing Company. The company ran billboards with the text "Fifty years ago before there were lesbians this is what beer tasted like." P. Armstrong complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the advertisement was extremely offensive as it implied same-sex orientations and relationships were a recent phenomenon which were being "associated with a decline in standards, tastes, authenticity and in particular (by implication) with a decline in masculinity." A year earlier the company had made international headlines when it promoted its full strength beer with "light hearted" t-shirts that read: Low Carb B(Q)eers, Moa Beer - Full Strength. A pink 'Q' was super-imposed over the 'B' implying, as writer Max Simon noted "you're a sad little fag if you need fewer calories."

15 Dec 2011


Carmen Rupe dies in Sydney. Rupe was a trailblazing activist, entertainer and entrepreneur - both in Australia and New Zealand. Her businesses included a cabaret club, a coffee shop, an Egyptian tearoom, a curio shop, a massage parlour and a brothel. Anecdotally, Carmen had a great line for male patrons who might prove troublesome. She would apparently say "Do you want a fuck or a fight? I can give you both." During Pride 2018, Georgina Beyer publicly talked about the ongoing lack of care available for rainbow elders, emotionally revealing that St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney "didn't treat [Carmen] with the dignity she deserved." Loved and admired both in New Zealand and Australia, Rupe was known for her manaakitanga - offering love and compassion to many. Phil Rogers, a friend of Rupe's, recently spoke about how she "always had an interest in you; [Carmen] remembered your name." In 2021 Rupe's curio shop at 288 Cuba Street was added to an historic rainbow sites list maintained by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

15 Feb 2012


"My silences have not protected me." - the words of Audre Lorde which Jan Logie got tattooed on her leg before becoming an MP in 2011. Logie talked about the tattoo during her maiden speech in Parliament.

12 Apr 2012


New Zealand flags are officially flown at half-mast to honour Corporal Douglas Hughes. Hughes had committed suicide in Afghanistan on 3 April after being questioned by a sergeant about his feelings for a fellow male soldier. Coroner Gordon Matenga refused to hold an inquest and relied solely on the Army’s Court of Inquiry. This led to calls from the family and others for greater transparency. Matenga was also criticised by some after it was revealed that he had made submissions in opposition to marriage equality, though Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said coroners were entitled to their personal opinions.

3 May 2012


A powhiri and gifting ceremony is held at Te Papa to mark the national museum becoming the guardian of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt. The New Zealand quilt is made up of sixteen blocks and a small number of individual panels. Each block contains up to eight separate panels, each measuring six feet by three feet (roughly the size of a grave). Attending the ceremony were Nicki Eddy and daughter Megan. They knelt next to the quilt they had made in 1991 for Nicki's brother Robin. Nicki reflected on how Robin's nieces and nephews left painted handprints underneath his birth and death dates: "Under the 2nd May is my daughter Megan's handprint because she was born on [Robin's] eighteenth birthday, and my son Bryce is under the 20th May because [Robin] passed away on the 20th May [1991] which was Bryce's seventeenth birthday."

29 Aug 2012


A large crowd gather in Wellington's Civic Square to march to Parliament in support of marriage equality. Joseph Habgood, co-founder of LegaliseLove tells the crowd, "We can all march today in the warm glow of knowledge that New Zealand is with us. The vast majority agree that love is love." Another group that supported marriage equality was The Queer Avengers. However they also wanted to stress "that marriage equality is not the end of [the] line for LGBT rights and that struggles beyond marriage lie ahead." In a press release, Queer Avenger Sara Fraser pointed out that rainbow communities still faced many obstacles including queer youth bullying, suicide and homelessness, inadequate access to quality health care for trans people and common intimidation and violence in the streets. Fraser reiterated, "this is not the final struggle."

30 Nov 2012


Former MP Katherine O'Regan publicly apologises for not including transgender people in the anti-discrimination measures of the Human Rights Act 1993. O'Regan had first been elected to Parliament in the 1984 general election as MP for Waipa, replacing the retiring Marilyn Waring. In the early 1990s, as Associate Minister of Health, she championed human rights legalisation that would outlaw discrimination on the grounds of, among other things, sexual orientation and having organisms in the body that might cause disease (e.g. HIV). During her presentation in 2012, O'Regan recounted a letter she had received at the time from a gay man: "I seek to be judged for who I am, for my work, and for my successes and my failures, not on the basis of prejudice."

19 Aug 2013


The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013 is enacted. The legislation pass its third and final reading: 77 ayes / 44 noes.

15 Sep 2013


Internationally recognised equestrian and icon Peter Taylor dies in Auckland after stopping all treatment for both HIV and the rare infection Leishmaniasis (caught from a sandfly bite at the Barcelona Olympics). Over a fifteen-year period Taylor underwent a massive 922 doses of chemotherapy resulting in additional health complications. His infectious diseases specialist, Professor Mark Thomas reflected "Pete taught me about determination, tolerating tough life, optimism and generosity." Taylor himself said "I think it is about positive thinking, taking responsibility, and reducing any bitterness and blame in your life. You can't have negatives in your body that will feed the illness." Taylor's businesses included Urge Bar (which he co-founded in 1995), and the much-loved Surrender Dorothy and Dot's Sister.

25 Sep 2013


Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley announced that transgender prisoners would now be housed according to the gender on their birth certificate. Transgender prisoners would also be able to apply to be moved if the gender they self-identified as was different from that on their birth certificate. At the time of the announcement, Corrections said there were nine transgender people in the prison system.

14 Nov 2013


A tribute evening is held in Wellington to honour icon Georgina Beyer. Earlier in the year Beyer had been diagnosed with chronic end-stage renal failure and required dialysis four times a day. MP Louisa Wall told media that "we need to celebrate and we need to remember and we need to acknowledge and we need to support her for the work that she has done." Event organiser Jo Paku said "while we remember Georgina as the politician, as the mayor, as the performer, as the artiste, we also want to pay homage to her whakapapa as a Maori woman." The event was held at St James Cabaret, the same location where Beyer won “Miss Personality” in the Ms Wellington contest 34 years earlier. Beyer would eventually receive a kidney transplant in 2017 - a birthday gift from close friend Grant Pittams.

27 Dec 2013


Entrepreneur Tony Katavich dies. In the 1970s, well before homosexual law reform, Katavich along with his long-time partner John Kiddie and business partner Brett Sheppard established a variety of openly gay-focussed businesses. Saunas, bookshops, nightclubs, a magazine, travel agency and a mail order service all became part of the Out empire. In a time when people could lose their job, their accommodation or not receive service on the grounds of their sexual orientation, the Out empire was at the forefront of challenging the status quo. Remembering Katavich and co, publisher Jay Bennie said "Landmark morality cases were defended with tenacious vigour. Some cases hit the nation’s headlines, some were lost, but many were won and helped unpurse the nation’s lips regarding things erotic and gay."

9 Apr 2014


The third and final reading of the Sullivan Birth Registration Bill takes place in Parliament. The Bill had a specific purpose: to correct the post-adoptive birth certificate of Rowan Sullivan by including the names of both of her mothers Diane and Doreen. The family had moved to New Zealand in 1999. At that time, the couple could not marry or jointly adopt Sullivan and so only Diane could be listed on the birth certificate. However when Diane died in 2010, Doreen adopted Sullivan, resulting in Diane's name being removed. The bill’s sponsor Louisa Wall said that the legislation was by definition "very private, for Rowen, Doreen and their family ... To know that they have been empowered through the process of sharing their life story is something that this house should celebrate and be proud of." The bill passed unanimously.

5 Dec 2014


Matthew Muir QC is sworn in as a High Court Judge - the first openly gay High Court Justice in New Zealand. Speaking to Express magazine, Muir said "As a gay man I would hope also to bring a sensitivity to difference and to minority interests which, were it not for the fact that I am part of such a minority myself, I may not have." At Muir's swearing in, Chief Justice Sian Elias said “This office is not a prize or a destination but a promise of vocation ... There has been a revolution in our lifetimes in the position of those who are different because of gender, or race, or sexual orientation. I do not suggest that all the barriers are down. But we have come a long way. And I think it would be wrong not to acknowledge that on this occasion. And to acknowledge that you personally played a significant role in bringing about change by advocacy in the 1980s and indeed by your own example."

1 Jan 2015


Jonathan Smith is made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to people with HIV/AIDS. Smith's citation applauded his involvement in raising awareness, compassion, quality of care for and the self-esteem of people living with HIV and AIDS. Smith was the first person living with HIV to be appointed Chair of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and was closely involved in setting up the annual Red Ribbon Day street appeal. For a decade he and husband Kevin Baker produced The Queen of the Whole Universe - A Very Queer Beauty Pageant. It became one of the largest drag shows in the world and raised over $200,000 for HIV/AIDS related charities. The last pageant was held in a sold-out Aotea Centre in 2012. It had a cast and crew of over 100 volunteers, with audience noise levels peaking over 120 decibels.

5 Feb 2015


Arsonist Angelo Bitossi is jailed for eight-and-a-half years after being found guilty of starting a large fire at a self-storage depot in Kilbirnie. The fire affected over 200 storage units with an estimated combined loss of $9-10 million. One of the units contained former MP Fran Wilde's irreplaceable collection of material relating to homosexual law reform. She told media "many of the documents were unique - for example all the correspondence I received, both pro and anti." The unit also contained her dairies from the time. At a hearing in 2019, the Parole Board noted that Bitossi had been "motivated by revenge against a former friend. It was accepted that his immediate intent was to burn in only the storage locker of his former friend but it was foreseeable that the fire would spread." Bitossi was subsequently released on parole in November 2019.

21 Feb 2015


A protest by three people dramatically interrupts Auckland's Pride Parade. While the protest only lasted a short time, it ignited years of nationwide debate about the participation in, and continued purpose of, Pride events. The protest was in direct response to the participation of Police and the Department of Corrections in the parade. In an interview with the Counterfutures journal, one of the protestors, Emilie Rākete said "At this point, we had not yet solidified as a group known as No Pride in Prisons. In a sense, No Pride in Prisons came about as a result of our reaction to what we saw as a queer collaboration with the prison system." Collective member Sophie Morgan told the journal "Pride started as a commemoration of a riot against Police, against the Police brutality at Stonewall Inn. It’s crucial for us to be speaking back to that history." The protest in 2015 was the catalyst for some difficult conversations, further protests, boycotts and ultimately new ways of marking Pride. It also opened up a space for self-reflection. Author Phillip Patston wrote "Grappling with the discomfort. That’s our job now. That's what we need to be proud of." And in another article, activist Kassie Hartendorp said "When people act in protest - true conflicts and contradictions are revealed. Take note of where you stand."

7 May 2015


Composer Jack Body receives the New Zealand Arts Icon award - the highest honour given out by the New Zealand Arts Foundation. The honour is limited to a living circle of twenty recipients. The medallion is then returned to the Foundation at the end of an Icon's life to be presented to a future recipient. Body received the medallion of the late artist Ralph Hotere. "I could think of no greater honour than to accept Ralph’s medallion. He was a mysterious and deeply loved friend to me" said Body during the private ceremony at Mary Potter Hospice. Body died three days later.

9 Dec 2015


"From a very young age, I've just thought activism isn't a thing I do in my spare time - it is my life and everything I do folds into that... What do we get up for in the morning if not to change the world." - activist Elizabeth Kerekere

12 Feb 2016


The inaugural Same Same But Different LGBTQI+ literary festival was held in Auckland to celebrate New Zealand’s top writing talent and "the richness inherent in difference." Reflecting at the time on his own journey, founding Festival Director Peter Wells said "I have to thank the bullies [at Mt Albert Grammar School] because I became a writer, which enabled me to say on paper what I couldn't say out loud... I began to feel the enormous freedom of being able to say exactly what I wanted... Written and spoken language became my weapon."

11 Mar 2016


The first ever intersex workshop is held in New Zealand at an ILGA regional conference in Wellington. Co-facilitator Mani Bruce Mitchell described intersex as "the rainbow within the rainbow." In a recent interview with the Listener magazine, Mitchell recollected a story about how in some communities, elders would say that an intersex child was taonga (a treasure) and had been sent by the gods to teach us something. Mitchell reflected that if Europeans could learn from this, and hold this powerful concept, how transformative that would be.

26 Jun 2016


The inaugural Matariki Awards take place at Auckland's War Memorial Museum, with Dr Huhana Hickey being named as a finalist for the Te Tupu-a-Rangi Award for Health and Science. All of the awards are named after the stars of Matariki. Co-host Stacey Morrison tells the audience that it was a time to celebrate "those of us who shine like the stars of Matariki and provide a beacon, an inspiration for us all." On being nominated for her extraordinary mahi, Hickey, a highly respected disability advocate and lawyer said "It is a passion, my life, my journey, shared by those who are also a part of that journey." Hickey is currently (2022) taking part in the Abuse in Care inquiry. She recently told the NZ Herald that she had been given up by forced adoption at 3 days old. A major step in reclaiming her whakapapa was getting her moko kauae: "This was done for me and my mokopuna so they know who they are and where they are from, it was to bring an end to the lies and secrets, and to say to the Crown: 'You may deny my whakapapa but my tipuna know me'."

18 Nov 2016


Hui Takataapui celebrated its 30th anniversary. The first hui took place in 1986 and was in response to a homophobic backlash experienced by some within Maori communities during homosexual law reform and the early years of AIDS. Commenting before the 2016 hui, Jordon Harris from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation said "We have emerged from the darkness of oppression and from the efforts of the early brave survivors paving the way, to standing with hope and pride on the Marae."

31 May 2017


The daily news and feature website GayNZ.com closes. For just over 16 years the website, led by publishers Jay Bennie and Neil Gibb, reported on local and international news and gave a platform for community members to express their opinions and creative talents. Signalling its impending closure, the editors reflected, "GayNZ.com grew out of a challenge in another time of great change. In 2001 the post-law reform age was combining with the start of the digital revolution and we rose up to tackle the challenge." During its time, the website published over 18,000 articles - many of which remain available via a number of online archives. (GayNZ.com has subsequently been reborn)

16 Jun 2017


Athlete and change-maker Aaron Fleming was presented with a Blake Leader Award from the Sir Peter Blake Trust. As a teenager, Fleming's lung had collapsed four times. His surgeon told him that he would not be able to physically exert himself ever again. Using this as motivation, Fleming took on the sport of Ironman, completing his first event just five years later. Fleming came out in 2007, and along with athletes Louisa Wall, Blake Skjellerup and Robbie Manson, are Proud to Play NZ Ambassadors - promoting inclusive sports and recreations throughout the country.

20 Jun 2017


Authors Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds released a Te Reo Maori translation of their internationally acclaimed children’s book Promised Land. Whenua Taurangi was translated by Te Ama-Rere Tai Rangihuna and Te Ara-Ripeka Rangihuna. Harris told media that they've "had a lot of requests from parents telling us they enjoy reading in Te Reo with their kids." The love story was originally produced with the help of a crowd funding campaign. Harris and Reynolds wrote "During our childhoods and teen years, we had no role models or stories that represented the notion that 'happily ever after' could even exist if you're gay. As such, we felt there should be more stories like that, and so we wrote one together." Reviewing the book, Demi Cox wrote "Promised Land is a book that warms the heart. It instils a sense of faith that a world of acceptance is possible and not so far away."

4 Jul 2017


Yachtsman Cory McLennan is profiled in the media advocating for more inclusivity in sport. McLennan had made history in 2014 when he became the youngest person to complete the Solo Trans-Tasman yacht race. However he kept his sexuality hidden, fearing that it would negatively affect sporting opportunities, "I was scared that someone would find out, scared of what would happen to me... It's not easy to come out - it means putting myself out there and conquering my own fear." McLennan is still sailing and inspiring people. His website opens with a quote from Alain Gerbault, "Adventure means risking something, and it is only when we are doing that, that we know what a splendid thing life is and how well it can be lived."

6 Jul 2017


Parliament apologised for the hurt and stigma caused by the historic criminalisation of consensual homosexual activity. Justice Minister Amy Adams said "Today we are putting on the record that this house deeply regrets the hurt and stigma suffered by the many hundreds of New Zealand men who were turned into criminals by a law that was profoundly wrong, and for that, we are sorry."

23 Jul 2017


During a sermon broadcast from the Westcity Bible Bapist Church in Auckland, Pastor Logan Robertson states he wasn't against homosexuals getting married "as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss."

18 Aug 2017


The 10th National Day of Silence is held throughout New Zealand. The day involved students undertaking a form of silence to draw attention to the silencing effect of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic harassment in schools. The first National Day of Silence was held at Nayland College, Nelson in 2007.

18 Aug 2017


Police tell media that Pastor Logan Robertson committed no criminal offence with his latest outpouring of hate speech. In a sermon distributed on the Internet in July, Robertson from the Westcity Bible Baptist Church in Avondale said "I'm not against [homosexuals] getting married as long as a bullet goes through their head the moment they kiss... that's what should happen." In 2014 Robertson made news headlines after telling a gay author "I pray that you will commit suicide." Robertson subsequently moved to Australia, but was deported in 2018 following alleged harassment of Muslims. He then moved to the Philippines and, as recently as March 2019, was preaching to high-school students.

23 Sep 2017


The General Election sees the return to Parliament of at least five rainbow politicians: Louisa Wall, Grant Robertson, Meka Whaitiri, Jan Logie and Chris Finlayson. The election also saw two new rainbow Members of Parliament - broadcaster Tamati Coffee and Kiritapu Allan. Allan had studied law and politics, and had interned under then Prime Minister Helen Clark. Having openly out Members was in stark contrast to the mid-1970s when Carmen Rupe suggested controversially that there were some closeted gay and bisexual MPs. She later unreservedly apologised to Parliament's Privileges Committee for the statements that had, in their view, "lessen[ed] the esteem in which Parliament is held."

5 Dec 2017


Trail-blazing athlete Laurel Hubbard makes history by winning two silver medals at the Weightlifting World Championships in California, USA. No New Zealand lifter had ever before won a world championship medal. But the firsts didn't stop there. In June 2021 Hubbard became the first openly transgender athlete to be selected to compete in weightlifting at the Olympic Games. NZ Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith told media "As the New Zealand team, we have a strong culture of manaaki and inclusion and respect for all." Speaking after the competition, Hubbard said “I think the world is changing and there are opportunities for people to be out in the world and do things just as any other person would do... Life is difficult, there are disappointments ... but if you just keep pressing on it does get better."

20 Mar 2018


The outside of the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington is lit in the colours of the trans flag – light blue, pink and white - in memory of Zena Campbell who died a month earlier. The lighting up of the MFC followed a vigil for Campbell, organised by former classmate and transgender advocate Bella Simpson. Simpson spoke at the vigil about the average life expectancy of trans women - 41 years. Campbell's partner was subsequently accused of murder, but the judge dismissed the charge on the day the High Court trial was due to start. A pathologist said the death was "likely due to methadone and alcohol toxicity, or neck compression or some combination of the two."

27 Mar 2018


The second reading of a bill that would allow for the wiping of historic homosexual convictions took place in Parliament. The legislation followed Wiremu Demchick's 2014 petition and a similar law in the United Kingdom - informally called the Alan Turing law. Prior to homosexual law reform in 1986, men could be imprisoned for up to 7 years for consensual homosexual activity. In 2017 Justice Minster Amy Adams introduced the legislation. At every stage of the Bill's journey, MPs voted unanimously in favour of it. In 2019, the family of the late Charles Aberhart used the new law to successfully have his 1963 conviction for "indecent assault" (i.e. consensual sex) wiped. Sadly, shortly after his release from prison, Aberhart was brutally killed by a group of teenage boys looking to “belt up a queer” in Christchurch in January 1964.

10 Apr 2018


The Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018 is enacted.

10 Apr 2018


Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle tells media that player Israel Folau, according to her, acknowledged he could have "put a positive spin" on his earlier statement that gay people would go to "HELL .. unless they repent of their sins and turn to God." Castle described Folau as a "strong role model" and suggested that he could have made his comment in a more respectful way. Folau later told media that he had "no phobia towards anyone" but refused to back down on his beliefs.

17 May 2018


A world first: the transgender, bisexual, intersex and rainbow flags were flown together for the very first time on the forecourt of Parliament. The flags flew to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). They flew again at Parliament on 17 March 2019. Originally flown to mark the beginning of the ILGA World Conference in Wellington, the flags flew at half-mast to also mourn and pay respect to the victims of the Christchurch mosque massacres two days earlier.

17 May 2018


The Human Rights Commission announces that it would facilitate ongoing 6-monthly hui between Rainbow communities and the Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network. Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue said that the regular events would provide "a space for the community's voices to be heard by Rainbow leaders in Parliament." The Commission hadn't always been so progressive. In 1981, when discrimination based on sexuality was still legal and homosexual acts illegal, the Commission issued a report saying that homosexuals did not qualify for protection as an oppressed group: "Human rights are not simply whatever people might claim as rights for themselves or others." Chief Human Rights Commissioner Pat Downey was quoted in the media as saying, "I do not agree that all discrimination should be made unlawful." The Commission went on to suggest that the Crimes Act relating to homosexual activity could be reframed "so as to make no distinctions between males and females" - effectively criminalising lesbian activity too (this recommendation wasn’t taken up by the Government).

10 Oct 2018


New Zealand's second rainbow pedestrian crossing is launched in Wellington (the first crossing being in Queenstown). The crossing's launch was timed to mark the birthday of the late Carmen Rupe. The Transport Authority had earlier opposed the rainbow crossing saying that there was "a high risk of confusion and a dazzling and distracting effect" and the police said that the crossing posed "risks of death and serious injury for road users." However the crossing went ahead, painted in part by Mayor Justin Lester, who told media that he was glad not to be arrested in the process. Wellington City Council was quick to point out that the rainbow crossing was not an official zebra crossing, saying it was simply an "art installation placed on the street."

18 Nov 2018


"In this place all are welcome, the tall, the thin, the shy and the out there. In this place all are accepted, cis and trans, gay, lesbian, straight and bisexual. In this place all are loved simply because we are all human beings. In this place all are honoured, for the struggle between commemoration and celebration goes on for all of us, all of the time." - the congregation of St Andrews on the Terrace, led by Rev Dr Susan Jones

25 Feb 2019


Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced that the Government would defer the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill. Among other things, the legislation would have allowed for a person to self-declare their gender rather than having to go through the Family Court. However the self-identification clauses had been added by the Select Committee after public submissions had closed. Martin told media that deferring the bill would "allow for more comprehensive consideration of the legal implications of this issue and formal public consultation." Responding to the announcement, Ahi Wi-Hongi from Gender Minorities Aotearoa said "It is over 11 years since the Human Rights Commission's Transgender Inquiry called for a simpler process [...] All human beings deserve dignity and a fair chance at life. But at the moment, trans people can’t even get identification documents."

Feb 2019


After thirty-five years, one of New Zealand's longest running access radio shows - the Lesbian Community Radio Programme - changed its name to QUILTED BANANAS. The acronym stands for Queer, Intersectional, Intersex, Lesbian, Takataapui, Trans, Enby (non-binary), Diverse, Bisexual, Asexual, and "Nanas - because a lot of us also identify as nanas." Run by a collective, the radio show began in October 1984 and has broadcast weekly ever since. Broadcaster Linda Evans remembers "[The programme] became extremely important. Isolated lesbian groups and individuals could therefore keep in touch via the programme. One talkback session revealed a lesbian who had 'listened for years' before she dared to make contact with others." The name shift in 2019 was a celebration of people's diverse identities. The collective's Facebook page noted that the name was "celebrating all the slippery overlaps these communities can have, and how finding your identity within them can be as messy - but also as fun."

18 Mar 2019


The Transgender, Intersex, Bisexual and Rainbow flags were flown at half-mast on the forecourt of Parliament. Originally the flags were to be flown to mark the opening of the ILGA World Conference. However they, along with the New Zealand flag, were lowered to half-mast in mourning for the victims of the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre terror attacks in Christchurch three days earlier. New Zealand hadn't experienced this scale of terror attack before, with 51 people killed and 49 injured. Subsequently a number of events throughout the country were either cancelled or postponed for fear of similar attacks - particularly against Muslim, Jewish and rainbow communities.

31 Mar 2019


Media report the inspiring story of the Christchurch Boys' High School rowing team who rallied around their coxswain after he had been subjected to homophobic bullying earlier in the season. Before the final race at the Maadi Cup regatta on Lake Karapiro, the team contacted the other seven crews who all taped their oar handles with rainbow tape in support of the rower. Former New Zealand Olympic rower Robbie Manson, who came out publicly in 2014, posted on social media "I'm so proud of... the Chch Boys team for showing the kind of courage and leadership to create this change that is making everyone feel like they are welcome and they belong." The day was made more historic with Christchurch Boys' winning their first Maadi Cup national title.

1 Jun 2019


Destiny Church leader Bishop Brian Tamaki apologises to the rainbow community during the Love is Greater Than Hate event. Media reported Tamaki as saying "It has never been my intent to cause hurt or harm." This may have been, in part, referencing his 2004 nationwide speaking tour which set out to expose "a government gone evil [and] a radical homosexual agenda", or possibly when he rallied against "gaypower" in 2015, or when he reflected on earthquakes and other natural disasters in 2016, telling followers that the earth "convulses under the weight of certain human sin." Referring to the early 2000s and the anti-civil union march Enough is Enough, Tamaki rather ambiguously said that if he had another chance "we'd do some things differently."

18 Jun 2019


The Ministry for Culture and Heritage announces that oral historian Caren Wilton had been given an award to record interviews with people who were part of New Zealand's transgender community from the 1970s to today. Wilton recorded long-form interviews with people talking about how things had changed over the last five decades. One interviewee talked about the Wellington scene in the early 1980s and winning Miss Queen of Queens, another talked about being married and transitioning later in life, and members of a family with two transgender children talked about growing up in the 2000s. The interviews have subsequently been deposited with the Alexander Turnbull Library. Since 1990, the New Zealand Oral History Awards have given over $2 million to more than 400 community groups and individuals to record histories relating to New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Jul 2019


A Year 9 student at Auckland Grammer School is stood down because their shoulder length hair breached school rules. Victoria Trow from RainbowYouth told stuff.co.nz that the hair rule could be particularly harmful for trans and gender-diverse students or those questioning their gender. Trow said it perpetuated a culture where boys and men were "punished and ridiculed for displaying any feminine traits." The student told media that they planned to take the school to court over the decision. A year earlier, Auckland Grammer had gained the Rainbow Tick – a certification mark that allowed an organisation to show the world that they were "progressive, inclusive and dynamic." As of January 2021, AGS rules still stated that a student’s hair should be "short enough to ensure it does not touch his shirt collar... and should not be long enough to be tied up in any form."

17 Nov 2019


St Andrew's on the Terrace in Wellington marks the 20th anniversary of Transgender Day of Remembrance with a special service. It began with the congregation joining with the Rev Dr Susan Jones in affirming "All human beings are due unconditional love, all humankind, all orientations, all genders. All people are welcome here." Recently the church spoke in support of legislation that would ban conversion 'therapy.' Speaking about people undergoing conversion practices within religious groups, Fionnaigh McKenzie told the Select Committee "Consent is not a defence. These practices occur in the context of massive power imbalances, misinformation and manipulation within a homophobic, biphobic and transphobic environment which leads people into shame and fear and desperation. People are wanting to escape pain but not able to see in the midst of it, that the pain is caused by their environment not by who they are."

17 Nov 2019


The project Trans Past, Trans Present is launched at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to mark International Transgender Day of Remembrance (20 November). The collaboration between the museum and community groups encouraged trans people to submit objects of personal significance. The taonga were photographed and a digital record deposited into the national collection. "What emerged was a quirky collection that is a testament to the diversity of trans experiences, and which disrupts established (and cis-written) narratives about trans lives" wrote project co-ordinator Will Hansen. From a pounamu grounding stone, to an envelope addressed to "Mr", to a hand-poked tattoo on a participant's leg - "a symbol of me being openly trans, even when I could 'pass' and fly under the radar, for those who can’t be."