#transphobictampons: It’s Not Offensive, It’s Oppressive

January 20, 2012

Kassie Hartendorp, Workers Party member and Queer Avenger.

At the end of 2011, an advertisement for Libra tampons was pulled from air after members from the queer community called out the company for its transphobia. Many argued that the company was sending a strong message to those who did not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth, that they were not as ‘authentic’ as their biological counterparts.

The issue was framed as being problematic for only a small amount of ‘oversensitive’ members of the trans community but the advertisement can be linked back to the way that negative images work to oppress many on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

Read the rest of this entry »

“I am a Queer Avenger”

October 10, 2011

Queer Our Schools speech by Kassie Hartendorp, Workers Party Wellington branch organiser and Queer Avenger. Further speeches on GayNZ.

We’re here because we’re angry. Our anger should not come as a surprise, in fact its long over-due; the ministry has consecutively failed, year after year, in its legal care-of-duty to provide safe and affirming environments for their students.

Read the rest of this entry »

Queer Our Schools

October 4, 2011
“it’s about human rights, stupid” - Oscar WildeThe Queer Avengers is launching its “Queer our Schools” campaign on 6 October with a march from the Ministry of Education at 45-47 Pipitea St, Thorndon, Wellington. We will be marching to Midland Park on Lambton Quay for speeches and entertainment.

Our youth-focused campaign is our first of three campaigns. Our other two campaigns on gender variants and older queers are still b…eing formulated.

Below is the list of demands for our youth-focused campaign and our immediate goals for this march.

Demands to the Ministry of Education:

1. Government resourcing for the formation of student-led, community supported queer-straight alliances in every secondary school in the country.
2. Incorporating sexuality and gender variance diversity into all relevant subjects, including history, health, science and English.
3. Making schools accessible and safe for gender variant students

A. Gender neutral bathrooms/private changing facilities

B. Non-gendered dress codes

C. Resources and education which fits the needs of gender variant students

D. Trans affirming spaces and role models

4. Zero-tolerance of homophobic & transphobic bullying and requiring professional development of staff to model queer positive spaces.

Our demands shouldn’t come as a surprise to the Ministry of Education. For years they have flaunted their legal care-of-duty to provide a safe mental and physical environment for students. It has known since at least the last 2007 Youth Report that schools are not safe places for queer youth. 33% of GLB youth reported being bullied at school on the basis of their sexual identity. We know that schools are not sites where queer identities are affirmed, where queer people can learn about their history and where they are encouraged to explore their queerness. If schools were affirming sites, the statistics on GLB youth making an actual attempt at suicide would not be five times higher than that for heterosexual students (20% as opposed to 4%). Further, the Ministry has also known since the 2008 Human Rights Commission’s report “To Be Who I Am” that schools remain simply inaccessible to many gender-variant youth. Education is a human right, yet the Ministry has done nothing to remove the barriers which make simply going to school a herculean task for youth who either don’t fit into the gender binary or are transitioning somewhere else along the spectrum.

We know that these statistics are not just numbers but real people. For years the Ministry has known these problems have existed yet have managed not to take any action to either making schools safe places for queers or simply accessible for gender-variant students. It’s time to hold them to account. It’s time to say that enough lives have been hurt due to their inaction.

If you want to get involved, contact us at thequeeravengers@gmail.com

(Gay) Marriage and (Queer) Marxism

July 18, 2011

Ian Anderson, Workers Party member

Internationally, demands for gay marriage are galvanising important mass movements. These movements develop from diverse origins: Australia’s Equal Love campaign regularly mobilises thousands, while same-sex marriage is one of the constitutional demands in Nepal’s ongoing revolutionary struggle. In countries such as Sweden and South Africa, activists have achieved the demand for gay marriage; in countries such as New Zealand, activists have achieved an equivalent in the Civil Union Act.

These achievements leave important question marks. The Civil Union Act did not grant adoption rights to same-sex couples; did not grant any rights to polyamorous relationships; both Civil Unions and marriages are fairly uncommon. Ultimately the new status quo leads many in the queer movement back to questioning marriage itself. Activists in Wellington’s newly formed Queer Avengers, which mobilised hundreds for its Queer The Night march, have discussed ‘repeal of the Marriage Act’ as a possible slogan. It’s important in this context to tease out the historical nature of marriage, and the arguments for marriage abolition. Read the rest of this entry »

Red & Purple: A Marxist Perspective on Queer Liberation

June 23, 2010

by Ian Anderson, adapted from a talk presented at Marxism 2010.

What does queer liberation mean?

This article aims to deal with this question utilising historical materialism, the mode of enquiry pioneered by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Historical materialism explores social relations, such as homosexual oppression, by explaining the productive forces that shape them. With a particular focus on New Zealand history, this analysis aims to sketch the material basis of modern queerness, attempts to control or suppress it, and the politics that have emerged from this contradiction. Read the rest of this entry »


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