Episode 50 - 2015 Auckland Pride Parade

A Public Letter to Melissa Lee

A Public Letter to Melissa Lee

Dear Melissa

I saw you marching in this year’s Auckland Pride Parade and I have to say it made me angry.

I’m not sure why you were there, given you voted against the Marriage Equality bill in 2013. Perhaps you think we’ve forgotten or forgiven. Well I for one haven’t.

I recall, after voting against the legislation in 2013 you told me this:

“I represent the Korean community and they are 100% against this. What am I supposed to do?”

My response to that is mixed. I am sure politically it could have been very difficult for you when you identify yourself as being Korean and representing the Korean community is your priority.

But the Marriage Equality bill was a conscience vote, and I think you could have shown some real leadership on that issue.

For instance, you have always insisted that you have lots of gay and lesbian friends and that you have always been supportive of us.

So I’d like to know what you said to the 100% of Korean people you spoke to who said ‘don’t do this.’

Did you passionately debate the issue with them?

Did you explain how important law reform; diversity; acceptance and tolerance are in this country?

Did you outline the proud history of Aotearoa New Zealand that has introduced countless laws outlawing discrimination?

Because that’s the thing Melissa – you yourself have benefitted from those laws and so have the Korean immigrants you say you represent.

You are a Member of Parliament in this country because courageous people stood up to orthodoxy and changed the law so women could vote.

The Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act mean it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation and many other grounds.

So did you explain all that to your constituency? Did you tell them that it is only fair to extend protections to all members of society even if we personally don’t like them?

I hope you did, but that takes courage, just like it took courage for me to march in the streets in 1985 for Homosexual Law Reform. I was young, gay and just out, and I could have been imprisoned for having sex with another man, but I outed myself for the fight.

That was a fight in which thousands of LGBT people joined in and were supported by an even bigger number of straight people. All of them having the courage to stand up to what seemed like a huge anti-gay orthodoxy and demand our rights.

There has been a magnificent progression of human rights in this country since then. Something to be proud of, but I think that has been lost on you. Not long after you voted against Marriage Equality you stated on Facebook how proud you were that South Korea had progressed so far as to vote a woman as President – the irony was not lost on me.

I have another question for you: Do you know why we have the Pride Festival and Parade? It’s not just about having a good time, it’s about visibility, and solidarity and it began as a means of showing the world (and our vulnerable youth) that we exist and we belong.

You marched in this year’s parade but you have never given a public explanation to us as to why you voted against Marriage Equality. You have never apologised, and never given us a chance to tell you how we feel about that.

Well I’ll tell you how I feel – Betrayed!

I want you to know that by voting against equality you sent a message to countless vulnerable queer kids that their futures don’t count. What counts to you is the opinion of a very small number of people.

You’ve invalidated those kids and you’ve invalidated the relationships of my husband and me, and all the other loving couples in the Rainbow Communities.

So, if you want to march in next year’s parade, how about an explanation Melissa – or (if you have the courage), a public apology. Maybe then, you’ll be forgiven.

Andrew Whiteside

Sam Smith honoured at the Grammys

Sam Smith honoured at the Grammys

Britain’s Sam Smith won four awards at this years Grammys and performed his winning song Stay with Me on stage with Mary J Blige. In his acceptance speech Smith thanked his ex-lover for leaving him as it lead to winning the four grammys.

Smith’s awards this year were:

Record of the year
Stay With Me (Darkchild version) – Sam Smith

Song of the year
Stay With Me (Darkchild version) – Sam Smith

Best pop vocal album
In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith

Best new artist
Sam Smith

Episode 42: 2014 Auckland Pride Parade

The 2014 Auckland Pride Parade:

It was the Parade’s second birthday and crowds lined the streets creating a party atmosphere all along Ponsonby road. This years parade didn’t go without a hitch however — a medical emergency delayed it’s start, a group of protesters interrupted it, and there were often large gaps between floats, but when the city’s mayor cut the ribbon — our Rainbow Communities brought out the colour.

1st March 2014

Episode 48: Max Currie

The feature film Everything We Loved opens tomorrow night at the New Zealand International Film Festival – this is the first feature film for director Max Currie.

In this episode, Max talks to Andrew Whiteside about the film and their time working together a few years back on New Zealand’s first gay TV show Queer Nation.

26th July 2014

Episode 47: Roberto Nascimento

Eleven years ago Roberto Nascimento moved to New Zealand and has been performing ever since. He is part of the talented theatre troupe Dancemotion who have brought us the cult classics Terror Planet and Purple Rainbows. This year Roberto created a web TV series called The Adventures of Suzy Boon — it’s funny and just a bit different.

5th April 2014

Episode 45: Ricky Beirao

Ricky Beirao is a young Brazilian drag performer and actor who grew up in New Zealand. Now resident in Australia, his alter ego Rhubarb Rouge recently performed the solo lead role of Mistress Dominique in the play Lashings of Whipped Cream during Auckland’s Pride Festival.

22nd March 2014

Episode 44: Ryan Sanders

Ryan Sanders is a former Rugby player in new Zealand’s NPC or National Provincial Cup. This year he officially came out asking for more acceptance of gay rugby players.

In 2010 Ryan was named the Young Entrepreneur of the year and runs his own travel company Haka Tours.

15th March 2014

A Letter to Melissa Lee

A Public Letter to Melissa Lee

A Public Letter to Melissa Lee

Dear Melissa

I saw you marching in this year’s Auckland Pride Parade and I have to say it made me angry.

I’m not sure why you were there, given you voted against the Marriage Equality bill in 2013. Perhaps you think we’ve forgotten or forgiven. Well I for one haven’t.

I recall, after voting against the legislation in 2013 you told me this:

“I represent the Korean community and they are 100% against this. What am I supposed to do?”

My response to that is mixed. I am sure politically it could have been very difficult for you when you identify yourself as being Korean and representing the Korean community is your priority.

But the Marriage Equality bill was a conscience vote, and I think you could have shown some real leadership on that issue.

For instance, you have always insisted that you have lots of gay and lesbian friends and that you have always been supportive of us.

So I’d like to know what you said to the 100% of Korean people you spoke to who said ‘don’t do this.’

Did you passionately debate the issue with them?

Did you explain how important law reform; diversity; acceptance and tolerance are in this country?

Did you outline the proud history of Aotearoa New Zealand that has introduced countless laws outlawing discrimination?

Because that’s the thing Melissa – you yourself have benefitted from those laws and so have the Korean immigrants you say you represent.

You are a Member of Parliament in this country because courageous people stood up to orthodoxy and changed the law so women could vote.

The Race Relations Act and the Human Rights Act mean it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation and many other grounds.

So did you explain all that to your constituency? Did you tell them that it is only fair to extend protections to all members of society even if we personally don’t like them?

I hope you did, but that takes courage, just like it took courage for me to march in the streets in 1985 for Homosexual Law Reform. I was young, gay and just out, and I could have been imprisoned for having sex with another man, but I outed myself for the fight.

That was a fight in which thousands of LGBT people joined in and were supported by an even bigger number of straight people. All of them having the courage to stand up to what seemed like a huge anti-gay orthodoxy and demand our rights.

There has been a magnificent progression of human rights in this country since then. Something to be proud of, but I think that has been lost on you. Not long after you voted against Marriage Equality you stated on Facebook how proud you were that South Korea had progressed so far as to vote a woman as President – the irony was not lost on me.

I have another question for you: Do you know why we have the Pride Festival and Parade? It’s not just about having a good time, it’s about visibility, and solidarity and it began as a means of showing the world (and our vulnerable youth) that we exist and we belong.

You marched in this year’s parade but you have never given a public explanation to us as to why you voted against Marriage Equality. You have never apologised, and never given us a chance to tell you how we feel about that.

Well I’ll tell you how I feel – Betrayed!

I want you to know that by voting against equality you sent a message to countless vulnerable queer kids that their futures don’t count. What counts to you is the opinion of a very small number of people.

You’ve invalidated those kids and you’ve invalidated the relationships of my husband and me, and all the other loving couples in the Rainbow Communities.

So, if you want to march in next year’s parade, how about an explanation Melissa – or (if you have the courage), a public apology. Maybe then, you’ll be forgiven.

Andrew Whiteside

Sam Smith honoured at the Grammys

Sam Smith honoured at the Grammys

Britain’s Sam Smith won four awards at this years Grammys and performed his winning song Stay with Me on stage with Mary J Blige. In his acceptance speech Smith thanked his ex-lover for leaving him as it lead to winning the four grammys.

Smith’s awards this year were:

Record of the year
Stay With Me (Darkchild version) – Sam Smith

Song of the year
Stay With Me (Darkchild version) – Sam Smith

Best pop vocal album
In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith

Best new artist
Sam Smith

Episode 42: 2014 Auckland Pride Parade

The 2014 Auckland Pride Parade:

It was the Parade’s second birthday and crowds lined the streets creating a party atmosphere all along Ponsonby road. This years parade didn’t go without a hitch however — a medical emergency delayed it’s start, a group of protesters interrupted it, and there were often large gaps between floats, but when the city’s mayor cut the ribbon — our Rainbow Communities brought out the colour.

1st March 2014

Episode 48: Max Currie

The feature film Everything We Loved opens tomorrow night at the New Zealand International Film Festival – this is the first feature film for director Max Currie.

In this episode, Max talks to Andrew Whiteside about the film and their time working together a few years back on New Zealand’s first gay TV show Queer Nation.

26th July 2014

Episode 47: Roberto Nascimento

Eleven years ago Roberto Nascimento moved to New Zealand and has been performing ever since. He is part of the talented theatre troupe Dancemotion who have brought us the cult classics Terror Planet and Purple Rainbows. This year Roberto created a web TV series called The Adventures of Suzy Boon — it’s funny and just a bit different.

5th April 2014

Episode 45: Ricky Beirao

Ricky Beirao is a young Brazilian drag performer and actor who grew up in New Zealand. Now resident in Australia, his alter ego Rhubarb Rouge recently performed the solo lead role of Mistress Dominique in the play Lashings of Whipped Cream during Auckland’s Pride Festival.

22nd March 2014

Episode 44: Ryan Sanders

Ryan Sanders is a former Rugby player in new Zealand’s NPC or National Provincial Cup. This year he officially came out asking for more acceptance of gay rugby players.

In 2010 Ryan was named the Young Entrepreneur of the year and runs his own travel company Haka Tours.

15th March 2014