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NZ's Gay New Year's Honours Honours & Dishonours

NZ'S GAY 'NEW YEAR'S HONOURS HONOURS AND DISHONOURS' ANNOUNCED

Ten New Zealanders have been honoured and another ten marked for disdain in the annual list of New Year’s honours published by national gay and lesbian news website GayNZ.com.

Those singled out for their support for gay, lesbian and transgender issues include newly elected lesbian MP Maryan Street, acknowledged for her punchy inaugural speech to Parliament; Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples for veering the party's public pronouncements away from knee-jerk homophobia; transgender icon Lindah Le Pou for refusing to accept being dragged off the Pacifica entertainment stage lest her presence offend religious audience members; and Wellington ‘gay granddads’ Des Smith and John Jolliffe for humanising Civil Unions by publicly being the first gay couple in the capital to be ‘civilly united.

Others honoured by GayNZ.com’s editorial team include an Auckland drag diva who walked away with the Queen of the Whole Universe award in awesomely fabulous style; staff of the NZ AIDS Foundation who publicly put their jobs and credibility on the line to express dismay at proposals by the Foundation’s troubled board; disabled gay comedian Philip Patston; theatre director Shane Bosher, gay rights and health activist Bill Logan, and glbt TV programme presenters Amanda Betts and Amanda Rees.

Complementing those honoured for their noble work were ten New Zealanders who sought to make life hell for their gay, lesbian and transgender compatriots. This listing includes politicians, religious extremists, a noted author, a murderer and, sadly, a few gay men.

Politicians Winston Peters, Wayne Mapp and Gordon Copeland come in for a sledging, as do the appalling Christian leader Graeme Capill, fundamentalist Maxim Institute stalwarts Greg Flemming and Bruce Logan, and the Exclusive Brethren. The Board of the NZ AIDS Foundation is listed for its year of administrative and PR disasters, as is gay commentator Jim Peron for his peculiar handling of accusations by Winston Peters and others with an axe to grind. Author Alan Duff’s anti-gay hissyfit saw him included amongst the tawdry ten; and Dick Faisauvale, the young Aucklander who murdered a middle-aged gay stamp collecter by stabbing him 42 times, understandably makes the list

“It’s been a very political year, what with the implementation of Civil Unions, the general election and the bizarre Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill,” says GayNZ.com content editor Jay Bennie. “Gay New Zealanders and our issues have been attacked mercifully and frequently, often to further the private agendas of religious and political leaders and would-be leaders... and that has been rather sad. The resources of the glbt community would have been better used 100% targeting the troubling increase in new local HIV infections amongst gay men, which New Zealand has in common with many other western nations... but we have been distracted by the acid of homophobia which continues to gnaw away at some sectors of NZ society.”

But there is an up-side to to the year for the country’s gay citizens, says Bennie. “ On the upside, two more openly gay MPs were elected to Parliament and a third only narrowly missed out, bringing the total of openly gay MPs to five. And a considerable number of glbt people have shown themselves to be caring, committed, talented and resilient people who are willing to assert the right of all gay, lesbian and transgender people to be treated with equality and dignity."

The full text of GayNZ.com’s list of ‘Ten Tawdry Transgressors’ can be viewed at: http://www.gaynz.com

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