Gareth Watkins finds words of inspiration from Rainbow community members around New Zealand, reflecting on the year that was and the year that will be.
While writing this history column over the last three years I’ve come across many inspiring historic quotations related to Aotearoa’s rainbow communities.
Given that 2021 was such a challenging year for many, I thought this month’s column could again focus on rainbow-related quotations. But as history is always in the making, I sourced inspiration from current times instead of looking to the past.
These words come from people who answered a public call-out via PrideNZ.com, those who I approached individually, and from significant events that occurred in 2021.
“At the heart of the Green Party vision is Te Tiriti, ecological wisdom, and social responsibility. That requires us to work to restore and embrace our diversity and ensure power is shared to the benefit of all. Our work is by no means done.” – MP Jan Logie
“Hurihia to aroaro ki te ra, tukuna to atarangi ki muri i a koe. Turn and face the sun and let the shadows fall behind you.” – MP Tamati Coffey.
“Let’s keep the fight alive to continue social improvement. But we don’t need to fight each other. Instead let’s appreciate the uniqueness and commonalities of the rainbow: different colours, same shape, different sizes, same beauty.” – Philip Patston.
“As an intersex person I was taught by society to be ashamed, to lie about who I was, to be afraid. To have found a place, an international activist community to have been able to transform that narrative has been the alchemy that intersex activism embodies” – Mani Bruce Mitchell.
“It is a human right to be who you are.” – Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.
“Our whakawahine, tangata ira tane, trans, intersex and non-binary whanau have always had our backs. Time for cis and endosex Rainbow people to show we have theirs.” – MP Elizabeth Kerekere.
“I am proud to be trans. I am proud to be a part of this beautiful community… I am here today to assert our right to exist.” – Tristan-Cordelia.
“When I reflect on the last couple of years I am proud of what was achieved by working together. This gives me hope that we can address many of the challenges facing our communities and wider society.” – Joe Rich.
“I will not listen politely to hate.” – MP Deborah Russell.
“Being gay doesn’t define me as a person, but [is] an important part of my structural characteristics as a human being.” – George Phillips.
“Disputing reality is fundamental.” – Kevin Haunui.
“We always say the 2 V’s are important: Vigilance and Visibility. You have those who would like to turn back the clock. When times are tough they look for scapegoats… be out and proud.” – Des Smith and John Jolliff.
“Our freedom is intrinsically tied to tearing down an immigration system that has denied queer people’s experiences.” – MP Ricardo Menéndez March.
“I came out at 13 when it was illegal to be gay. Now, my sexuality isn’t an issue. We all human.” – Jason Epps-Eades.
“Last year Parliament passed legislation making it easy to change documents of identity so they reflect correct gender identity and gender expression – a big win for our trans and non-binary communities. I’d like us now to do more work on ensuring all schools are consistently inclusive, including gender-neutral bathrooms and visible Rainbow role models.” – MP Shanan Halbert.
“Look back with forgiveness, look ahead with hope, and look around you with wonder and gratitude.” – Roger Smith.