We're twenty days into 2017 and I can't believe how much change has happened in my life. I've started a new relationship. I've had a young rabbit turn up, which I looked after for a couple of weeks before finding another home for him. My boarder has moved out after four years, so I have my house to myself again, and I've created a whole new "chill-out" space with the extra room.
My new cosy nook — a work in progress
"Who We Are" is a music video with a vision of changing how we know ourselves & each other. It's all about us, made for the world to see.
Follow Jess and her friends as they explore and celebrate identity and self expression. They are young people with unique gender, sexual and functional expression who are proud of who they are.
At Be. Leadership last weekend, Joe Macdonald from Affinity Services' Rainbow Community Liaison and Training Team spoke about a trend they have seen in younger people identifying as genderfluid and/or pansexual, rather than male/female/transgender and/or gay/bi/straight. I asked Joe what dials they thought were being turned to encourage/enable this change.
Joe's answer was that there seemed to be a change in the meaning of ambiguity. Whereas previously "ambiguous" may have been seen as a synonym for "confused", now, perhaps, young people are choosing ambiguity as a clear identity — in other words, people are clear that their gender and sexual identity, as well as their preference and orientation, are, indeed, unclear and undefined.
"Conversations with God" author Neale Donald Walsche tweeted about good and bad a couple of days ago. It got me thinking about diversity.
As you know, my perspective reframes the model of categorisation and representation, which most people associate with diversity. For me diversity is the synergy of our uniqueness and commonality.
But Walsche's tweet got me thinking again. He said:
This week I was part of a panel for Leadership New Zealand tasked with speaking to this post's title. No pressure. By the time Dr Wayne Hope (AUT University), Qiujing Wong (Borderless), Rewi Spraggon and myself had traversed it, it was obvious how broad the topic was.
I could begin to speak on behalf of my fellow panellists, but thought I'd share my thoughts.
I began by sharing this media release I wrote in 2005 in response to the then National Party's appointment of Wayne Mapp as "Political Correctness Eradicator". Aside from the stupidity of the role, I pointed out that, ten years on, the token gestures paid to diversity in the arts, media and cultural spheres haven't really increased.
The Ministry of Education's new curriculum guidelines released last week, aimed at improving sex education and diversity for students, seem almost too good to be true. Actually they are, because they are not mandatory.
Recommendations for non-gendered uniforms, same-sex partners at school balls, reviewing toilet spaces and making sport less gender-specific are no-brainers in our day and age — actually they've been no-brainers for decades.
These guidelines show surprisingly courageous change leadership from the Ministry. But there's always some right-wing plonker, who purports to represent the moral majority, ready to go into bat for the status quo (as I posted about recently).
How changes to New Zealand society can be traced by considering the current place of those who were once on the margins.
Russell Brown chaired a session recently which involved me; journalist and author David Cohen; Ella Henry, an academic and former human rights commissioner; and Jacinda Ardern, the Labour Party's Youth Affairs spokesperson.
I spoke to Gareth Watkins at the 2011 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames Human Rights Conference held in March in Wellington NZ...
(Sorry there's no transcript if you can't hear it! Working on it!)
Kia ora tatau katoa, te whanau takataapui. Greetings my queer family.
I’m Philip Patston and I’m a patron of Rainbow Youth, along with Georgina Beyer and Tamati Coffey. I’m sorry I can’t be with you this weekend at Kazam. I’m on my way to the Wairoa Maori Film Festival with my boyfriend. It was a tough choice, but snogging in the back row of the movies won out.
[Note: Actually I didn't end up going to the Festival — I stayed home instead.]
Transcript of my presentation to Be. Leadership programme - retreat #2 on Sat 9 April 2011
I want to start by taking you back 15 years ago, when I was sitting backstage before my very first comedy gig. We had just had our 5 minute call and it had been decided that I would go on first. I had this moment where I thought, “What the … have I done?!! Why on earth did I ever think it would be a good idea to get up on stage in a wheelchair and do comedy?” And yet 6 months before when I had decided to do it, it seemed like a really good idea.
When I reflect on that situation I reckon it must have been very similar to when I was born. I would have been sitting in my mothers womb with my brother and I had decided to come out first. I would have thought, “Why on earth have I decided to come into this life?” At that point I think I would have known it was going to be "interesting".