Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marriage equality talk at university of Auckland 24th August 2012

(Apologies for the lateness of this being posted, I've been sick. This is also up at The Hand Mirror, where there are some AMAZING posts on this topic, so head over and have a browse.)

I left Louisa Wall’s talk at the University of Auckland with some serious warm fuzzies. Within the room there had been a myriad of people, religions, and ages, all united in one single cause. The cessation of separation of human rights related to gender and sexuality.
Had we all gone to a café after and tried to have a conversation about any other topic, we would have struggled to include everyone without some serious bickering but in marriage equality, we were united.

Louisa spoke passionately and without notes. She spoke of her personal history, the history of rainbow rights in NZ and around the world, and she spoke about what this bill will mean.

If you want to hear the basics from her mouth, take a look at her speach today at parliament house.

If you would like to hear a more in depth discussion about what the bill means to NZ, including a very clear discussion on what it will mean for NZ churches (spoiler alert – NOTHING), take a peek here.

If you want to watch Colin Craig get OWNED on public television, check this out. *snort*

I’m just briefly going to give an insight into the questions session of the day, because that is the one thing you won’t see elsewhere.

In the questions.

A woman stepped forward and spoke about marrying into an interracial relationship only one year after Loving vs Virginia, and the hate that continued after that point.
She and her daughter pointed out the similarities in argument the social right use against gay marriage and against mixed race marriage. The fact we have grown past the latter, doesn’t mean the stupid arguments wont be re-used to hurt a new minority group.
They spoke of evolution and the fact both sides survived the revolution and they will both survive this one, but we need to ignore the bigots and keep fighting for what is right.

Aaron raised the fact that the media, and this includes the rainbow media, keeps calling the bill the “gay marriage bill”, the frustration was evident from his passion, when speaking about the fact that trans people are even more marginalised than the cis-gay community.
Louisa spoke compassionately to this point and clarified that this is why this is the bill is called the “definition of marriage amendment bill”.
She got a laugh from the group when she said
“this bill couldn’t BE ANY STRAIGHTER” and I know it wasn’t just me that choked up when she followed on
“It isn’t about being gay, or straight, or what your gender identity, it’s about being EQUAL.”
Section 32 will be highlighted when she speaks on Wednesday, and I for one will be watching.

Soraiya Daud stood “It’s been a long time since I sat in a room and been moved by a labour mp, and I’m IN the labour party.” Cue raucous laughter from the room!
“I hope that you can be an example to the rest of our MPs”

Finally Nathan, a Christian who has recently joined the salvation army stood up. He had a loud voice and after overhearing conversations from before we started I was terrified of what he was going to say. So much positivity was bouncing around the room, and I was so scared we were going to end on a downer.
He told a story about a Friend who texted him- “I’m gay, does Jesus love me?”
He said he thought about it, and said “Jesus does love you because you are made in his image”. He quoted “Come now for it is time to worship, come as you are.”
He said that his friend replied
“Thank you, I was on the edge of a bridge, and I have gotten off”
The room audibly sighed. To hear of people working within organisations who are in support of this cause was wonderful, and someone in the crowd shouted "Kia-Ora Nathan”.
He Pointed out that there ARE Christians out there who agree, but want to work within their groups, churches, leadership, they want to make their own boundaries.
Louisa nodded in agreement, and reiterated her points about the fact that this bill doesn’t change what the church can or has to do.
“Churches continue to be able to discriminate based on religious belief.”
What this bill will do is open bigger spaces for churches to have their own discussions, and this is already happening.

The discussion was thrilling, and I think most people wished they could raise their hand just to shout THANK YOU, but there wasn’t enough time.

I was there because the Marriage equality bill is in front of parliament Wednesday the 29th August.
I sincerely hope that this law is changed through this process. Partly because I honestly can’t see why it hasn’t been already, and partly because I don’t want any future generations to have to fight this rubbish. We should be raising our young people in spaces safe for all genders and sexualities. People should feel safe as they are, with who they love.
So as a person who feels passionately about this bill, and hopes that THIS will be the time for change, I want to soak everything up, be part of it, support those putting themselves out there, enable safe spaces for open conversation and remember this.
Because one day I want to tell my nieces and nephews, or kids, that I was there, I was part of this, I helped the change.
I don’t want to tell them I went out for dinner and don’t remember the specifics.
Because this… this is important people.
Sit up, take notice, write letters, talk to your family, talk to your friends, talk to your leaders, religious groups, community groups. Raise this issue.
Most hate is driven by ignorance, and change is hindered by apathy. So if you think you can’t make a difference, you can. 
It will be our generation who makes the difference, because WE are the ones who overwhelmingly support this bill. It is us who needs to raise its profile and put a loving face on the front of it.
Go to it people.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I got angry.

Tonight was a new low.
I left Auckland feminist drinks, also lovingly called Boner Killer Drinks* early.
Early, because I was so angry at a man attending, that I was scared of what I would say, who I would upset, and trouble I would cause.
So here is a little love letter to the guy involved, and perhaps the woman stupid enough to bring him along to something he was obviously opposed to.

I was angry when you made jokes about high heeled shoes and car washing fundraisers, because you obviously expected a rise out of us. And I’m really sorry, but the wide range of young feminists around the table have more valuable shit to worry about that telling other people how to dress.
Did you really think those jokes were fresh? Normal women have to hear that stuff all the time. As people who identify as feminists, we are targeted for crap like that daily. I can’t believe you thought you were unique bringing that shit to our table.

I got angry when you made jokes about “accepting our lord and saviour Jesus Christ into our lives” because that exact phrase is really triggering for me, and you didn’t know that because you didn’t ask, or care.
In fact, all you seemed to want was a response. When we deliberately ignored you, you kept going, but made it more offensive.
It didn’t matter that the response wouldn’t be interesting, or make better conversation, or expand horizons, you just wanted to get someone angry.

I got angry when I finally tried to shut you down by joking that “I’m sorry, I can’t hear what you are saying, I’m too busy objectifying your beard” your girlfriend fired up because someone else yelled “Yeah, take off your top”. (which by the way was very funny) .
So you can literally sit there and bait us, in our own safe place, but we can’t pick on you, because why?

I got angry when you tried to enter a philosophical debate about abortion by talking over the top of a history major, about the history of genocide.
When you talked over the top of the women trying to explain their point.
WHEN YOU TALKED OVER THE TOP OF YOUR OWN GIRLFRIEND WHEN SHE TRIED TO HELP YOU ARGUE. Why in gods name would you do that!? She was the only one out of the two of you actually qualified for the discussion, since she is the only one who has to get pregnant.

I got really angry when you said “urgh let’s go” and then DIDN’T GO!!
You could have just left. It was our meeting, our space, our time. Why the hell when you realised you didn’t like it, didn’t you just leave?
But no, you stood there arguing so long that I had time to get up and leave.

I got angry in the car on the way home. Angry at myself for not saying all this stuff, angry at you for talking over me when I tried. Angry at your girlfriend for bringing someone unsafe to our safe place.
So angry.

And then I got angry at not expressing it.
Because you know what? Neck beards like you exist in my life EVERY FUCKING DAY.
You are my boss.
You are the doctors I work with.
You are my family members.
You are the men on the street.
You are the jackass who came to feminist drinks and had a laugh at our expense.

You were the one person I COULD have shouted at, and I didn’t.
Because I’ve gotten really good at being angry and keeping my mouth shut.
At letting people like you talk over me, walk over me, violate my boundaries, and make me feel unsafe. And I just play nice and try to get away as soon as I can. I don’t want to be a “bad person” and give feminism a “bad name”. God forbid a feminist be angry, why would we be angry?

Mostly I’m angry at the fact I live in a society where one half of our country genuinely feels that their opinion is more valid/important/correct than the other half. And it’s so ingrained that you are probably going home thinking you did us a favour giving us something to think about.
We read about this shit, we research it, we debate it, we watch it, we work on political change, and policy documents. We work in sectors where we make a difference.
There is very little that you could have brought to that table that someone hadn’t heard before, and yet you assumed we would actually change our minds based on your awesome argument.

So please don’t bother coming back. Because I’ve figured out what made me angry. And next time I won’t just leave.

*or #AklBKD if you want to keep up on twitter

Friday, August 17, 2012

So, you’re coming to Rocky Horror?

So, you’re coming to Rocky Horror?  

You should probably know up front that there are STANDARDS! (I don’t have many, but Rocky Horror brings out the standards in me).
If you are a woman, bare minimum of dress up is at least fish net stockings.
If you are a man, bare minimum of dress up is at least fish net stockings.
Get the idea?
Singing along is encouraged and interacting is heroic.

Want to interact, but don’t know what’s involved??

Here is a “props list” of items you will need to interact with the film. 
NB: when it says “throw” please throw UPWARDS, not at the screen or other people!

Props List…

Water gun
News Paper
Lighter/torch /glow stick
Party hat
Noise maker
Rubber Glove

Rice: At the beginning of the film is the wedding of Ralph and Betty.
Enjoy throwing the rice along with the on-screen wedding guests.

Newspapers: When Brad and Janet are caught in the storm, Janet covers her head with a newspaper Do as she does!

Water pistols: The Audience uses their water pistols to simulate the rainstorm that Brad and Janet are caught in.

Candles, torches, glow sticks: During the "There's a light" verse of "Over at the Frankenstein Place, you should light up the theatre with candles, flashlights, lighters, etc. (at indoor screenings, please don’t use open flame!)

Rubber gloves: During and after the creation speech, Frank snaps his rubber gloves three times. Later, Magenta pulls these gloves off his hands. You should snap your gloves in sync each time to create a fantastic sound effect.

Noisemakers: At the end of the creation speech, the Transylvanians respond with applause and noisemakers. Go nuts!!

Confetti: At the end of the "Charles Atlas Song" reprise, the Transylvanians throw confetti as Rocky and Frank head toward the bedroom. You should do the same.

Toast: When Frank proposes a toast at dinner, members of the audience throw toast into the air

Party hat: At the dinner table, when Frank puts on a party hat, you do the same.

Other interactions (more common in the UK than NZ)
When the narrator is talking about Brad and Janet, the audience yell out “slut” and “arsehole”

I’m always dressed as Magenta in one of her forms, see ya there!