The 2010 GayNZ.com Honours
By GayNZ.com Daily News staff
1st January 2011 - 12:59 am
Every year many people make life better for glbt New Zealanders. In ways obvious or subtle they impact on our lives, or some of our lives, and our communities and NZ as a whole are better for it.
But a few seem to stand out from the rest and it is those few that GayNZ.com acknowledges in our annual New Year's Honours list.
For 2010 the GayNZ.com Honours, in alphabetical order, go to:
Ali Mau, for coming out in her own damn time
Can you even imagine having speculation about your sexuality splashed over the front of a national newspaper, while you are still trying to figure it out for yourself and trying to understand how it will affect your new partner and family and perhaps even your employment?
Ali Mau was stalked by dogged tabloid media who caught a whiff of her new relationship with Karleen Edmonds. Word on the beat is that the whiff wafted from the TVNZ Death Star. Flash forward to a few months later and Ali proudly stood up in front of a massive crowd at Queen of the Whole Universe and declared her love for her partner and her pride at being part of our community.
She came out - and in her own time, and with dignity, and we applaud her for it.
Blake Skjellerup, for carving up stereotypes
Skates and all, Olympian Blake Skjellerup came flying out of the closet after the Winter Olympics, taking on the frigid, blokey and often homophobic arena of male sport, stating: "I am no less of a man because I am gay".
He has a clear target of smashing stereoptypes along with speed records and has been outspoken on gay rights, posing for the NOH8 campaign in California. Blake has shown that being gay doesn't mean you can't be who you are and achieve your dreams – in fact it just means you should be doubly proud.
Many a Kiwi boy is hoping the gorgeous athlete settles down back in New Zealand with them after he retires, but for now, we want you to bring home a medal Blake, so we can fly the rainbow flag along with the NZ flag!
Bruce Kilmister, for valiant public service
Bruce Kilmister was an incredibly disappointed man when he narrowly missed being elected onto the Waitemata Local Board after nine years in local body politics.
He was lauded as a "Trojan" by Auckland City Councillor Cathy Casey, who was among those disappointed he missed a spot.
Kilmister has been a vocal and determined representative of the GLBT community in the arena of local body politics and his impact in ensuring the voices of gay central Aucklanders (and God knows there are plenty!) are heard will be severely missed.
Meanwhile, he continues to work for a better life for HIV positive people and to use his contacts in the health and political arenas to encourage improvements in the life choices available to glbt people throughout the country.
Buckwheat, for almighty class
While some of the nation's drag queens have spent the year sharpening their nails and salivating at the chance to stab each other in the back, there is one who has risen above it all. Edward Cowley's alter-ego Buckwheat is much-loved for good reason – she is a queen with enough manners and grace to actually be deserving of the term "royalty" and a worthy recipient of Supreme Award at the Wigs on the Waterfront Awards.
Edward is also a mighty competitor, switching the dress and heels for heavy metal and tanning lotion in order to live his dream of competing in bodybuilding at the Cologne Gay Games. He finished in an impressive 5th place – but to us Edward and Buckwheat are pure 24 carat gold.
Carmen, for simply being fabulous
It’s been a trying year or two for the woman who was already out and proud and loud way before most of us were born.
|Carmen finally received the promised scooter!|
Having her name and mana used and abused, seeing her hopes dashed by the incompetent and the vainglorious, must have tried her faith in human nature more than somewhat. And Carmen has faith in human nature - the good stuff - in spades.
She kept her head down and her mouth shut, she reveled in her image festooned around the gayest city in the Southern hemisphere and got on with life, albeit a little creakily. For quiet class above and beyond the call of trans-duty we elevate Carmen above 'icon,' above 'living legend'... above 'diva'... way up to 'Goddess'.
Yes, Carmen Rupe is our Goddess.
Cologne Gay Games New Zealand competitors, for kicking ass
From Don Barclay's remarkable comeback from a broken wrist to win two gold medals in discus and shot put, to the splash our swimmers made in the pool, there were many stories of success from our team in Cologne.
|Games winner Don Barclay|
They raked in dozens of medals and made us incredibly proud – and we will be there cheering our competitors on at the Outgames in Wellington in March 2011!
Glenn Sims, for grinning and bearing it
An incredibly successful TV Producer, Gay Auckland Business Association President Glenn Sims is not a man who needs money. But that has only inspired him to seek it for those who do.
After coming up with the highly-successful OUTLine October in 2009 he was back at it again this year, organising Help Out In October. Although it was a tough task in light of the apparent apathy of many in the GLBT community when it comes to helping out their own, and the lack of enthusiasm from some of those he was collecting for, Glenn did not give up. Gritting his teeth in the face of aches from a broken arm, he was out holding a bucket at the doors of K' Rd bars collecting EVERY weekend in October and keeping the other volunteers motivated.
It was after one of these nights out collecting that Glenn was even randomly attacked by a madman on K' Rd and was left sporting a black eye along with his broken arm. Yet he still kept at it – and also found time to breathe new life into GABA. We look forward to what he sets out to achieve in 2011.
Matt Wright, for staring disaster in the face
As soon as Christchurch’s catastrophic earthquake was reported gay men everywhere wondered what would have happened if folks were going at it in a gay sauna or cruise club when the quake hit.
Well, several were, in Menfriends, at the epicentre of inner city destruction. It was the job - and he was fairly new in the job - of staffer Matt Wright to deal with the disaster. All sniggering aside, Matt had to stave off the possibility of gas explosions, check through the premises in case of injury or death, find the customers, search out the safest exit as the emergency escape steps hung shattered by falling masonry and guide half-naked men down through the blacked-out premises to safety.
He did it with professionalism, dignity and courage. When the earth moves the man you want with you is Matt Wright.
Ronald T Nelson, for helping show us who we are
|Ronald T Nelson|
There’s some kind of ferocious energy powering Ronald T Nelson. You can feel it burning deep within his gay-themed plays including Corner 4 AM & Cuba and more recently Mates and Lovers.
Mates and Lovers, adapted from the magnificent Chris Brickell history of the same name, is a bijou little gem of a play which will hopefully make its way around the smaller centres sooner rather than later. It encapsulates the lives of those gay men - and the ones who didn’t know they were gay - who went before us and gives us pause to reflect.
The fact that it took a playwright/director of American heritage to finally achieve this so beautifully might also give us pause.
Te Herekiekie Herewini, for caring more than most
Sometimes the best good works are done on the quiet. Sometimes they can be staring you in the face and you don’t even see them.
|Te Herekiekie Herewini|
Such is the case with Te Herekiekie Herewini’s devotion to, and support of, the Goddess Carmen. By day he works at Te Papa ensuring the respectful return of ancient Maori heads souvenired in less enlightened times and on display or moldering away in museums around the world.
By night he occasionally glams up as Queenie Aotearoa, the arch and graceful drag queen spotted at the classier kind of glbt events around Wellington and Auckland. And in between times he ensures that Carmen is able to to return from Sydney to her Kiwi family roots from time to time.
And when Carmen’s doing her public appearances its almost always Te Herekiekie - or Queenie - chaperoning her.
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