20th March 2009 – gaynz.com
HIV now no respecter of age or location
by GayNZ.com Daily News staff
Men who have sex with men should be aware that HIV is increasingly no respecter of age or location, according to New Zealand’s leading HIV epidemiologist. Nigel Dixon, Director of the AIDS Epidemiology Group, which has just released the worryingly high HIV diagnosis figures for 2008, notes that men who have sex with men are now spread more evenly across most age groups and seem increasingly likely to contract HIV outside Auckland, although the nation’s largest city still generates a disproportionately high number of positive HIV antibody tests.
In the six years leading up to 2005 men in the 30 to 39 age group were from two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection. Men in the 40 to 49 age group soared and then overtook their younger counterparts until 2007, but a surge in 20 to 29 year-olds during 2008 means all three groups have converged. Just-released figures show 184 people were discovered in 2008 to have HIV and GayNZ.com believes, based on past estimates, that approximately 95 of these are men who have sex with men.
Although diagnoses for heterosexual people remain significant, Epidemiology Group figures, based on non-compulsory reporting of information which is sourced primarily through general practitioners, show most of these infections were acquired overseas in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa. Men who have sex with men, however, are hugely more likely to have contracted their HIV infection within New Zealand.
Dixon says it is difficult to zero in on what factors have driven the now clearly sustained surge in HIV figures in recent years, but notes that a similar increase has been apparent in Australia, particularly Victoria, as well as Canada and the UK. He says common factors in these countries which might be influencing the increase in HIV diagnoses include the naturally increasing pool of sexually active HIV positive men, a perception that HIV infection is a manageable chronic disease, and to a lesser extent changing socio-sexual patterns facilitated by the internet.
May 27, 2009 – PinkNews
New Zealand survey finds gay teenagers at risk
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
A survey of more than 9,000 students has found that gay teenagers are more likely than their straight peers to be affected by depression, suicide and self-harm. The research, conducted by the University of Auckland on behalf of the Youth 07 Wellbeing Survey, also found that gay students report higher levels of bullying and discrimination and are less likely to have safe sex.
Dr Simon Denny, principal investigator for the survey, said: "The Youth ’07 findings show significant gaps between the health and wellbeing of same-sex and opposite-sex-attracted youth. Less than half of same-sex attracted males reported using condoms in their last sexual encounter, and this is reflected in the fact that same-sex attracted youth are more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection, he added. Three times as many same-sex attracted youths reported bullying and intimidation than their opposite-sex attracted counterparts. The figures are very concerning."
It was found that although suicide rates among teenagers had remained the same since the last youth survey in 2001, numbers decreased among straight teenagers.
3rd August 2009 – Gay NZ
Govt. will table anti-gay panic defence Bill
by GayNZ.com Daily News staff
4.50PM: Cabinet has just approved a bill, to be put forward to Parliament later this week, aimed at abolishing the partial defence of provocation provision in the Crimes Act.
Over the years numerous killers or attackers of gay men have had a charge of murder downgraded to a verdict of manslaughter, or have even walked free, on the basis that an advance or perceived advance by a homosexual man was considered provocative enough to cause such understandable loss of control that the victim was killed for his ill-advised action. This use of the partial defence of provocation provision has come to be known as ‘gay panic defence.’
Although the provocation defence did not work in the just-concluded Clayton Weatherston trial it is suspected to have been a significant factor in a jury’s finding last month that Hungarian tourist Ferdinand Ambach was guilty of manslaughter, not murder, when he bludgeoned to death elderly gay Onehunga man Ronald Brown in response to an alleged sexual advance.
A spokesperson for Justice Minister Simon Power says drafting of the bill began earlier this year in response to Law Commission recommendations publicised in 2001 and 2007. Power has described the defence as a "reward for loss of self-control." As a Government sponsored bill, and with many opposition MPs favouring the abolition of the defence, it is likely to sail through Parliament relatively unimpeded. The spokesperson says the Justice Minister decided to wait until after the highly-publicised Weatherston trial concluded before moving on the Bill.
A similar Bill drafted largely by gay Labour MP Charles Chauvel was drawn from the Private Members Ballot last week but that is now likely to superseded by the Government Bill. Power’s spokesperson says the minister wanted to move quickly and pointed out that the Labour government had had since at least 2007 to draft and table its Bill.
October 7, 2009 – The New York Times
Obama to Name Openly Gay Ambassador
by Sheryl Gay Stolberg
President Obama plans to name an openly gay lawyer to serve as his ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, administration officials said Wednesday evening. If confirmed by the Senate, the lawyer, David Huebner, would become the first openly gay ambassador in the Obama administration.
Mr. Huebner is the general counsel for a gay rights organization, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. His nomination is timed to coincide with a speech Mr. Obama is giving Saturday night to the Human Rights Campaign, which also advocates equal rights for gays.
Mr. Obama is facing continuing criticism from gay leaders that he is not living up to his campaign promises, including repealing the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’’ policy, which bars openly gay people from serving in the military. The president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters on Wednesday that the president is ‘’intent on making progress’’ on the issue.
2 October 2009 – Gay NZ
170 gather for takataapui HIV hui
by GayNZ.com Daily News staff
One hundred and seventy Maori men who have sex with men are gathered at an Auckland marae this evening to empower themselves in the age of HIV, raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to celebrate their identities.
Takataapui have traveled to the Te Mahurehure Marae in Point Chevalier from all over the country, from the southern South Island to Northland, to attend the weekend hui. A 5pm powhiri was followed by the display of quilts dedicated to takataapui lost to the HIV epidemic, including their photos and life stories. Currently the attendees are getting to know each other through introductions "which will take quite some time," laughs Jordon Harris, Programme Manager Community Engagement for the NZ AIDS Foundation which has organised the hui.
Later this evening a bus will shuttle into the inner city those who want to sample some of Auckland’s glbt nightlife. Along the way a guide will introduce them to some of the historical glbt sites of the city, such as the locations of now-disappeared iconic venues. "Many of those here tonight are quite young," says Harris. "It’s important for them to know about those who came before in our communities."
The hui is all about "empowering and informing our community in particular our Rangatahi our younger generation, encouraging them to be proud and informed to make healthy choices for them and their partners," says Harris. Tomorrow will see seminars on "Takatapui in the 21st Century," "Te Tiriti O Waitangi and Legal Rights," "HIV in relation to me," Kapa Haka, traditional medicines and traditional healing. There will also be a chance to play netball and a formal dinner, with a fashion parade.
December 6, 2009 – Law Dork
The New Ambassador
by Chris Geidner
On Friday, I covered the swearing in of David Huebner, the new U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Here’s the opening from my article in Metro Weekly, “Diplomatic Maneuvers“ With his spouse holding the Bible, David Huebner was sworn in this afternoon as the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa in a moment that Vice President Joseph Biden said would be ”advancing our national journey.”
Ambassador Huebner – with his spouse, Dr. Duane McWaine, and the Vice President at his side – told the more than 100 people assembled that his grandfather was an immigrant and his father was a meat-cutter, then noted that, ”I was sworn in next to a spouse of a different race and the same gender as I am.”
”In America,” Huebner said, ‘’such a trajectory is not only possible, it is natural.”
December 2009 – SAGE Journals Online
Men Who Have Sex With Men Account for Nonuse of Condoms
by Jeffery Adams – Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand,
and Stephen Neville – Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Despite several decades of health promotion activity targeted at men who have sex with men (MSM), rates for nonuse of condoms for anal sex among MSM worldwide and in New Zealand have been increasing in recent times. In this article we report on the first local qualitative investigation undertaken in Auckland, New Zealand, of how members of a particular group of MSM account for nonuse of condoms for anal sex with other men. We collected qualitative data from 22 MSM (17 face-to-face interviews, and three online interviews involving 5 men).
Thematic analysis led to the identification of five patterns that account for the nonuse of condoms: (a) substance use, (b) psychological aspects, (c) difficulties using condoms, (d) condoms in relationships, and (e) managing risk. We conclude that although this information generally confirms the findings in the wider research literature, it is also important in the local context as the first research that can be used with confidence in developing and refining health promotion initiatives to address this issue.
December 2009 – You Tube
Get it On! – Funny NZ Condom Ad
2010 June 09 – Gay Asia News
NZ Gearing Up For OutGames
Wellington – The biggest gay event to be held on New Zealand takes a step closer this week with the opening of registrations for the 2nd Asia Pacific Outgames. To be held in March 2011, the Outgames involves 16 sporting competitions, a human rights conference, an arts and cultural festival and some very large parties. Over 1,000 participants and another 1,000 partners, family members and supporters are expected in the capital from over 15 countries in the region.
“It is the first time that this type of event has been held in New Zealand,” Outgames co-chair David Hindley says, “and we are getting strong support for it from both within the capital, and within our target markets overseas.” The opening of registrations will be marked by events this coming weekend on both sides of the Tasman, in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Melbourne and Brisbane. The Wellington event will be held in the Wellington City Council chambers this Friday night, June 11, with Councillor John Morrison representing the mayor.
“Outgames will bring a strong commercial benefit for Wellington city as all these types of events do,” says David Hindley. The majority of international participants will come from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which all have very strong gay and lesbian sporting clubs.
The event is also being promoted strongly in Asia. Beyond New Zealand and Australia, mainland China is the source of the largest number of hits on the Outgames website, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong. The sporting activities for the event cover a very broad range from the traditional running and swimming through to mountain biking. The Outgames will be held from Saturday 12 to Saturday 19 March 2011. Information is on the website
January 24, 2011 – TVNZ
Community rallies round hate crime couple
A lesbian couple has faced two hate crimes within a week, with anti-gay slurs tagged on their home and vehicles, and a fire destroying their business. Couple Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh have lived peacefully in the small coastal village of Mangawhai Heads, Northland, for seven years. They said their sexuality has never been an issue before in the community. But now they live in fear, not wanting to leave their home and return to something worse.
Two weeks ago the couple had their home and vehicles tagged with offensive anti-gay slurs. Then a week later their shed, which is at the heart of their mail-order bulb business, was completely destroyed by fire. "They’ve really invaded our privacy. It was a bit like being burgled, you know that sort of violation that you have," Leigh said.
Police said the fire was deliberately lit, and local policeman Graeme Goff said he is sure the series of events is part of a hate crime. "I just felt down. I felt that kind of prejudice had just gone in New Zealand, to the greater extent anyway, and thought ‘why me?’," Leigh said. "It’s a terrible act of prejudice and it’s really, really sad because variety is the spice of life."
But since they told their story in a Sunday newspaper they have been heartened by the support also evident in the community. Leigh and Curnow said that’s made them decide to stay in Mangawhai. "People are just horrified, we walk down the street and people just come over and shake hands and say how sorry they are. People we don’t think we even know are hugging us," Leigh said. She said with the help of their community they will bounce back and not let the events of the past couple of weeks beat them.
Curnow told Close Up their Blooming Bulbs base – a shed – is now a "burnt out carcass of hopes and dreams". Leigh said they lost paperwork, personal gear and all their business supplies, which means they won’t be selling any bulbs this season. "It’s a big loss. It was sort of a grief for those three days afterwards that you have when someone dies," she said. Regardless of the situation the women realise it could have been worse.
"It could have been three households and loss of life. There were explosions going through we’re not quite sure what they were but there were things exploding." The police are investigating who caused the damage.
28th January 2011 – GayNZ.com
HRC: Govt. has role in homophobia education
by GayNZ.com Daily News staff
The Human Rights Commission has reminded the Government of its role in ensuring that "disturbing" attacks on people because of their sexual orientation will not be tolerated. Graffiti attacks on Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh’s home and business led up to their small home-based Northland horticultural business being burned to the ground last week.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan has noted that the United Nations Yogyakarta Principles oblige our government to provide education and awareness of the unacceptability of homophobia. Noonan yesterday welcomed the Police, Mangawhai community, local schools, churches and other community organisations sending a strong message that attacks on people because of their sexual orientation is not on.
“It is essential a strong message is given that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any community,” says Noonan. “This message has to start in our homes and schools, workplaces and places of worship, sports clubs and community organisations. No one in New Zealand should have to hide or live in fear of being attacked for who they are. It is particularly disturbing when someone is targeted for their sexual orientation… While New Zealand has a generally good human rights record, the incident in Mangawhai shows we still have work to do,” says Ms Noonan.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are covered by international legal standards, which were set out in the Yogyakarta Principles in 2006. The principles recognise sexual orientation as integral to every person’s dignity and humanity, and state that sexual orientation must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse. It places a responsibility on governments to provide education and awareness to ensure these rights are respected.
March 07, 2011 – TopNews
New Zealand’s Gay Community Sees Record Number of HIV Infections
by Pallavi Sharma
Gay and bisexual men in New Zealand saw a record number of HIV diagnoses in 2010, according to numbers gathered by the University of Otago’s AIDS Epidemiology Group, who found 90 new reported infections. These statistics raise serious concerns about the sexual health and safety of this community of people.
Shaun Robinson, Director of New Zealand Aids Foundation, said these were the worst statistics New Zealand’s gay community has ever seen. “Not even in the early days of AIDS in the 1980s were rates of infection this bad in New Zealand”, he said. Because of this, he is calling for higher use of condoms and lubes that can help prevent the disease as well as regular testing to ensure those with the disease can get proper treatment and take care not to infect their partners with it.
On the other hand, rates of HIV infections went down in the heterosexual community. In fact, only 35 of the 149 diagnoses of HIV in 2010 were heterosexuals, after reaching a record high of 87 diagnoses in 2006. Only one case of HIV infection was reported from injecting drugs with infected needles. Mr. Robinson says this reduction in diagnosis is great news and even a cause for celebration for the people of New Zealand.
May 17, 2011 – IGLHRC
The Courage Unfolds Campaign
The Courage Unfolds Campaign calls for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to be protected by law, respected by society, and accepted by family. It is a call for the use of the Yogyakarta Principles as a tool to ensure the respect, protection and promotion by governments of the human rights of all people – including LGBT people. This set of international legal principles addresses the application of international law to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
To achieve this goal, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is asking activists, LGBT groups, human rights defenders, and concerned citizens to join the campaign. As central to this campaign, IGLHRC’s Asia Program has produced a documentary film – Courage Unfolds – highlighting the issues faced by LGBT people in Asia and how the Yogyakarta Principles are a relevant and effective tool that LGBT activists can use in their advocacy for human rights.
Learn: Learn more about the Yogyakarta Principles and LGBT activism in Asia by watching the Courage Unfolds documentary
Share: Tell your friends and community about this Campaign and how they can join you. Share your actions with us and others on IGLHRC’s Courage Unfolds Map.
Act: Screen Courage Unfolds, hold a rally, a training or a community event, write about using the Yogyakarta Principles, or petition your government to address violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
20 July 2011 – LGBT Asylum News
Video: Landmark documentary on intersex people
Source: OII Australia
A long-awaited documentary about the experiences of a number of intersex people around the world, ‘Intersexion (Is He Or Isn’t She?)’, has been made available online at YouTube. The film was made for New Zealand television broadcaster TV One by Grant Lahood with the assistance of Wellington-resident intersex activist and counsellor Mani Bruce Mitchell.
A number of members of Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII) were interviewed for Intersexions including David Iris Cameron, Gina Wilson, Hida Viloria, Jim Costich and Yann Bradbury. Non-OII people also included are non-intersex academic Alice Dreger and Bo Laurent aka Cheryl Chase, both formerly of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA).
Click here for videos