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Homosexual Law Reform Retrospective: Personal Points of View:

Taking Off with a Hiss and a Roar

By Des Smith.

The Homosexual Law Reform Bill had been in Parliament a short while and I naively thought it would go through - after all it seemed natural enough to me! In May 1985 a friend happened to pass where I was working and suggested I tune in to 2ZB. I did. The Ďantisí were really going to town and so began my political activity.

The Bigot Busters rally and a march were not enough! Angry at the Salvation Army organising the petition against the Bill, I very quickly gathered 80 signatures to support a letter opposing their views. This however was nothing compared to the number of letters that were sent to the freepost box number in press ads seeking names to be included in the petition. On the whole, though, I think I preferred the idea of a friend who wrapped up bricks for despatch to the freepost box - the freepost number was soon withdrawn!

Mid-1985 an Auckland group set up HUG - Heterosexuals Unafraid of Gays. Maureen, who I was working for at that time, asked if Iíd seen the TV programme about it. We agreed it had to start here, and she suggested that I get on the Paul Holmes talkback programme, as it seemed a good way to find out who could be interested. I did, and gave my now familiar phone number 479-6310. Wow! It took off with a hiss and a roar, and the trouble was that it all seemed to revolve around me.

The first public meeting was on July 2nd and was very well attended. It gave me great encouragement. It became the fastest growing group at that time. I lived in a whirl of posters, letters, meetings and, especially, of meeting marvellous people. Was anyone really surprised at my coming out party where the pink champagne flowed?!

At the dreadful Nuremberg type rally when the petition was presented to Parliament on September 24th I remember counting out nine HUG badges and one Pink Triangle. There were ten cops in a line stopping us going through barriers. I called to the crowd and asked them which of the cops I should pin the Pink Triangle on. The crowd loved it. I wonder why the cops didnít?!

The work went on through 1986, and a highlight was being one of the organisers of a "Fair for a Fair Law" at Newtown School. It was a fun day for all and heightened our awareness of the need for visibility.

Hooray for July 9th 1986, but letís continue to be vigilant and fight for total equality.

Whatís next - the recognition of same sex relationships?

Des Smith

Des Smith is in a stable relationship of nine years with John. He is currently involved in coordinating the 10th anniversary celebrations with the Gay Task Force. Des is happy to continue working for the rights of lesbians and gays.

[Reproduced from Issue No. 10 (June 1996) Friends of LAGANZ.]




Last updated: 02/11/02

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