For this month’s ‘Meet Our Community’, Levi Joule chats with Max Lin. Max is a 23 year old honours student, studying political studies at The University of Auckland. He blogs about Asian and NZ politics at www.maxwelllin.com
What is your blog about?
My blog at www.maxwelllin.com is about my experiences living in New Zealand but also a place for me to reflect about political issues happening in New Zealand and Asia. I am also starting a new blog soon
at www.queerspace.org which will compile and provide detailed analysis on queer issues happening around the world. My main blog was originally made as part of an assessment at the University of Auckland. It has been reactivated and expanded this year to allow me to reflect and distil my thoughts into writing. They are really just personal hobbies.
You’re originally from Taiwan, what’s the current state of GLBT rights there?
This may not be well-known, but Taiwan is regarded as one of the more progressive countries on queer rights. Like any other country, there is significant room for improvement. So far, there are anti-discrimination protections for employment and there is legislation ensuring schools must actively promote gender equality and eliminate gender discrimination. The pride parade in the capital has attracted over 50,000 participants last year and is growing. The opposition party is trying to move a marriage equality bill through parliament at the moment but they might not have the numbers.
You’ve been actively involved in student politics, tell us a bit about that.
I was the Auckland University Students Association’s National Affairs Officer in 2012. I was responsible for organising Politics Week which saw the only public debates between Louisa Wall and Colin Craig on marriage equality. There is a video clip of the whole thing on YouTube if anyone is interested. After that I was the Education Vice-President of AUSA and the President of the Arts Students Association.
Why did you get involved?
I sort of stumbled into the role at the beginning. However, over time I realised the problem with university today is that students are becoming more individualised and apathetic about what is happening around them. This is partially due to the political environment, but students should be encouraged to make a conscious effort to get involved. It is important for students to care about politics, whether that be university politics or national and international politics. I wanted to get involved so I can try and build a community and make political issues relevant to students again.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the GLBT community in New Zealand ?
Definitely trans* issues. Transgender people seem to have been left behind by much of the progress made so far, and we need to remember marriage equality is important but there is still so much more to do. The other challenge is the Transpacific Partnership Agreement. If it is passed it can severely hamper Pharmac and access to generic and new HIV medication by overextending intellectual property.
What are you most proud of doing at University so far?
Helping build the Arts Students Association. This was definitely a team effort, but it is now an established institution at the University of Auckland and I look forward to the organisation doing great things in the future.
Article | Levi Joule.