Just some conversations I’ve been having with myself over the Masters…
*Pakeha is a Maori word for white/european people
I’m not really sure what to really do in this situation, so I’m trying to reframe it in my mind. So the butterfly shirt will now become my motivation:
I guess I just feel frustrated that our communities express themselves using the medical system’s benchmarks.
I live in a university town – in fact Dunedin’s uni is the oldest in New Zealand. So on the 5th of July (during the middle of school holidays) the executive decided to hold a referendum to see if students wanted to downsize their student association (OUSA) executive.
The argument goes is that the student association is big business – millions of dollars to manage – and with 17 people on the executive it’s too “dysfunctional”. So they want to cut it down.
Instead of offering students a choice of models of how a downsized exec might look they picked one model and asked students to vote on it. In this model the exec gets cut from 17 members down to 10. A more “manageable” number.
In this model we lose the Women’s Rep, Pacific Island Rep, and Queer Rep, and the Maori Rep’s role changes significantly. In conclusion we lose representation for already vulnerable, disenfranchised groups.
Through a series of incredibly bias posters, and manipulation of student apathy, the referendum passed. Albeit by a mere 78 votes.
This would be somewhat ok if OUSA really was merely a business. If it was only about managing assets, putting on shows and making money, money, money.
But, it’s not.
OUSA is responsible for representation, for student welfare, and for making political noise. It’s the group of young leaders that we go to: it is our voice for systemic change within the university, within the city and to the big fella’s in the government; it provides us with advocacy and support spaces; it campaigns for our rights; it represents us in all our diversity.
And we’ve just lost the voice, representation and visibility for Women, Pacific Islanders and Queer people.
So, I’ve been decided that one of the ways to structure me doing art and feeling inspired is to do stuff that people ask. My super talented friend is the designer for our cities university student magazine; Critic, and I asked if I could do some one off type cartoons for it when she needed them. I did a strip for the magazine for a couple of years when I was actually at uni, but got bored with it after a while (and wanted to do more personal strips!), so it’s kinda nice to come back to it and do some odd-bod stuff.
I’m gonna do the cover for the upcoming queer issue, and possibly a centrefold poster for it too… so I think you’ll see the return of Wolverine
PS. The above guys are Nick Smith, our current minister for the environment and our Prime Minister John Key.
So last week we missioned up to Nelson (about an 11 hour drive… have I mentioned that my boyfriend is amazing?? – I don’t drive so he shared the driving duties with one other person, who’s also rad too!) for a queer youth hui. We took up some people from the youth group I’m privileged enough to run, and a few other awesome people. It was a chance for young people across the country to get together, hang out and share ideas and stories about being queer in New Zealand.
I feel all stirred up inside now that I’m back home – I shared some pretty incredible conversations with people, and feel inspired to create change in our small (sometimes smallminded) city of Dunedin, parts of it was really hard, and other parts felt like I had come home.
Sometimes I feel like I get weighted down and anxious about being trans, I feel like it’s a lot to ask people to change their name, and pronoun for me, and feel frustrated as they try and figure out what label to put on Joe and my strange little relationship.
Tuakana is a Maori word for someone older than yourself, and it’s a really beautiful word I’ve only just learnt. Recently, I’ve had two ideas stuck in my head from two very inspiring Tuakana in my life, two people who probably barely know the impact they have on my life. One told me recently to make no apologies, to be, and know that other people will step up to that. The other talked to me about the power of being, and sometimes the way to make change, is simply by being, and being strong in that. I am trying to follow these words.
Posted in Activism, Blog, Doodles, Rant
Tagged being, Dreams, Joe, Link Hui, Oh look this is awesome!, reflection, Super gay, Where we live