Weekend comes to general release

Andrew Haigh’s brilliant film Weekend, as the title of this post suggests, is coming to general release.

I went to see it at the film festival last year and, as can be seen from my review, thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t recommend it enough.

Weekend will be released on 9 Feb. Go hit up Rialto for screening times.

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And if a bullet should enter my brain…

It’s been 33 years since Harvey Milk was assassinated.

The first openly gay man elected to public office in California, Milk went on to push through a strong gay rights ordinance and successfully campaigned against the infamous Briggs Initiative, which would have made firing homosexual teachers, and those who support them, mandatory.

The world is a better place because Harvey Milk was in it. He campaigned tirelessly for our right to simply exist in a world that was full of incredible hostility, receiving increasingly violent death threats. He put up with a lot, and fought incredibly hard.

I wasn’t around during that time; Milk was killed six years before I was born, and it would be a further two before we would be legalised here. I don’t remember the Briggs Initiative, or Milk’s campaign. I don’t remember our own Homosexual Law Reform and the Salvation Army’s campaign of hate. I don’t even remember John Banks standing up in the house telling us why he was opposing all human rights because it would mean that the gays would get some too — I had just turned 9 when he did that.

All I have to go off is the film Milk, and the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, upon which the former is based. But they are powerful films, and bring me to tears every time I watch them. Because a lot of what they fought against is still real. I do remember Proposition 8, and I do remember Destiny’s marching, fists in the air, upon parliament to oppose civil unions.

Milk was right: “You’ve got to elect gay people.” Labour and Greens are doing this well, but a look at National and their coalition shows them to be conspicuously absent.

[Belated] Transgender Day of Remembrance

Sorry this is a day late. I’ve been incredibly busy and haven’t been able to organise a post for International Transgender Day of Remembrance (20th November — it still is in some parts of the world)

I was pointed to this post over on the Empty Closets forum by my friend Aya, which details it better than I ever could (certainly considering my current busy schedule):

[Trigger Warning for discussion of suicide, transphobic violence and murder]

Clicky click.

I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it at that, as I have rather a lot of work to do.

Blog For Peace

by Mr Wainscotting

Today, 21st September is the UN International Day of Peace, and Save the Children have asked bloggers around new zealand to blog about what it means to them, so I thought I might chime in with my interpretation of a queer perspective.

In this country, we are in a pretty happy position with regards to queer rights, when compared to some other countries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have a long way to go.

So, what does peace mean to me? It’s an interesting question, as I find the concept kind of vague. I suppose, from a queer perspective — my queer perspective, I should hasten to add — it would mean that we can live in a world free from discrimination, free from violence, free from the threat of violence (both implied and inferred), and able to live unrestricted in how we identify and whom we love.

To teach children in schools, right from when they start, the diversity of sexuality and gender — show them that we are natural, and teach them to be accepting right from the start. The more exposed to the concepts they are, and the more diversity is affirmed and respecting, the less queerphobic they will be as adults.

To have gender neutral passports, and have legal documents reflect the complexities of sex and gender, not just two exclusive options, and the ability to change it at will to reflect your identity. To be able to move from country to country without having to worry about customs officials subjecting you to demeaning searches because you don’t match the little letter on your passport.

To be able to publicly identify as queer (or any shade therein), and celebrate our relationships without the threat of attack.

To not have our identities and relationship statuses second guessed or redefined by those who’s privilege affords them the luxury of fitting easily into one of society’s rigidly defined boxes.

There’s a lot of room for improvement in this country, even though we are worlds ahead of places like Uganda or Iran in terms of queer rights.

Peace is brought about by encouraging all people to love and respect one another; to recognise and affirm our differences, not just tolerate them. It’s by ensuring that everyone has enough to eat, and a comfortable home, and don’t have to fight their neighbours for essential resources. It’s about recognising everyone as equal under the law, and ensuring the law will step up when that equality is missing.

In new zealand, were far from the situation in places like Darfur or Iraq, our lives aren’t surrounded by war and conflict, and we’re in a very privileged position to avoid such wars outright.  In contrast, we’re a very peaceful nation — in fact, we’re often ranked as one of the beacons of peacefulness. But if we’re going to retain that status, then we need to set the bar very high indeed. One place to start is full legal and social equality regardless of class, race, sexuality or gender.

Why I blog the things I blog

by Mr Wainscotting

Here at missing sparkles, we think that the world can be a better place for all the queer, bi, trans, lesbian, gay, asexual, intersex, takatāpui, fa’afafine, and otherwise fabulous people, and that we will eventually get there if we don’t shut up about it. (Well, I certainly do, though I’m sure the others will concur; they’d probably word it differently.)

But when talking about it, I’m often confronted with otherwise well-intentioned people asking things like “why do you keep going on about it?” or “didn’t you already get gay rights and stuff?” or my personal favourite from the less well-intentioned, “but aren’t there bigger things to worry about?

Today, a friend of mine reblogged a picture on Tumblr that pretty much summed it up. This is why, in 2011, we have to “keep going on about it”:

I can’t find the original source of the picture, so I don’t know where this event is. From left to right, here’s what the signs they’re holding say:

  • I am afraid to hold my boyfriend’s hand.
  • My friend’s parents sent her away.
  • I found death threats in my locker.
  • I submitted to electroshock therapy.
  • I lost half my friends after coming out.
  • My grandmother sends me hate mail.
  • My school won’t let me take my date to prom.
  • I am not here anymore. [on an easel, not held]
  • My dad tried to beat it out of me.
  • No one is proud of me.

Death threats and beatings for no other reason than existing is a pretty fucking big thing, one that we should all worry about if we are going to pretend we live in a good world. This still happens, and it happens everywhere.

And it’s precisely why I’ll never shut up.

In which I feel I must clarify myself

by Mr Wainscotting

In my last post, I blogged about the same-sex couple wanting to attend their school ball changing the name and details of the Facebook page. I’ve been ruminating on it for a few days, and I’m worried that my support for the boys didn’t show through enough in my writing.

I want to emphasise that I fully support them and their campaign to see all same-sex couples in all schools allowed to attend their formals, without the schools making excuses for their bigotry.

Furthermore, I wish to apologise for temporarily removing my name from the cause (see third to last paragraph on my post. It was something I did before the whole story had been made clear, when it did look like it was all a hoax. And I feel that some of the things I posted on the page, though said with the best of intentions, may have inadvertently fanned the flames, for which I am sorry.

With all the vitriol flying around on that page, it’s easy to lose hope that we can change this world for the better. It’s not often that such bigotry and hate makes itself so visible, but it goes to show just how deep it runs.

I wish those boys all the best, and hope they’re surrounded by enough love and support to see them through – and I wish to extend that to everyone facing such discrimination, both institutional and from their peers.