Historian Gareth Watkins finds memorable quotes from notable LGBT+ community members to spur your motivation for change in 2021.
“My silences have not protected me.”
The words of Audre Lorde, which Jan Logie got tattooed on her leg before becoming a Member of Parliament in 2011.
“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”
Katherine Mansfield in 1922.
“What I see in my own life… is queer joy, queer dancing, queer partying and smiling and fun and love… We should talk about that just as much as we talk about suffering and oppression because that is what queer people are as well. Y’know we don’t just die at the end of movies.”
Ciara O’Callaghan in 2020.
“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?!”
Elizabeth Kerekere (pictured), 2015.
“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.”
An unnamed gay man writing to MP Katherine O’Regan in the early 1990s.
“Do you want a fuck or a fight because I can give you both?”
Attributed to brothel owner Carmen Rupe in the 1970s.
“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.”
The congregation of St Andrews on the Terrace, led by Rev Dr Susan Jones in 2018.
“There was a very strong sense of urgency, emergency, guilt, shame, fear, shock, loss, and grief… When there’s no cure, when there’s no answers, when there’s nothing else to do – you hold on to one another.”
Richard Benge reflecting on the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New Zealand.
“She is the dearest woman with the most beautiful face and expression I think I have ever seen.”
Frances Hodgkins describing Dorothy Richmond in 1901.
“As a lesbian, I have often been the subject of other people’s efforts to push me to the margins, to erode my legitimacy as a citizen, and to belittle my efforts and achievements. I have never accepted marginalisation.”
MP Maryan Street giving her inaugural speech in Parliament in 2005.
“It was open-mic day in the university quad and I grabbed the microphone and yelled out what had happened. I said, Let’s start a revolution!”
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku describing what happened after she was refused entry into the United States in 1972 because she was a known lesbian.
“People have been tearing down my [smile if you’re trans] stickers, I stick them right back up!”
Will Hansen in 2020.
“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.”
Mani Bruce Mitchell.
“Only men so draw me that I want to be part of them, to lose myself in them, to become them.”
Charles Brasch in 1969.
“The actions and the work here in the New Zealand Parliament have never been more important because, for the last several decades, you all have been at the forefront of the movement for the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people around the world. From marriage equality to the globally historic election of Georgina Beyer, you all have not just made change for people here in New Zealand, you have set the bar and challenged the world to live up to our highest ideals and to be our best selves.”
Visiting activist Sarah McBride speaking at Parliament in 2019. In January 2021 McBride will become the first transgender state senator in United States history.
“We don’t need to label ourselves anymore because we recognise each other without the labels.”
Philip Patston in 2011 imagining the future.