Family Portraits: A Queer & Trans* Comic Launch
Our good friend Sam Orchard is embarking on a very cool adventure – but not without your help! Sam is an extremely talented comic artist who has done art work for things like our Gender and Sexuality 101 resource, as well as running his own comic strip about the ins and outs of being a transman called ‘Rooster Tails‘.
Now, he’s embarking on another project called ‘Family Portraits‘ and has created a kickstarter in the hopes of raising money to fund it! We asked him to tell us in his own words about the project:
“My Kickstarter is to raise funds to Family Portraits - a comic book series that explores the lives and loves of New Zealanders from the LGBTI/Rainbow community.
“Family Portraits is a comic series that’s the first of it’s kind in New Zealand – and captures stories of a range of different kiwis and celebrates how we live, how we love, and who we are. Each comic is told using a different comic style, and explores a different story from real life New Zealanders.
”I’ve always loved telling stories, and as a kid I always looked for stories that reflected and celebrated people like me. Unfortunately, a lot of the stories in mainstream media about queer and trans people are negative, sensationalised, or scandalised our differences. So I wanted to tell stories that embraced and celebrated our differences.
“The money raised in the kickstarter will go towards helping print the first two issues, and help me get to America to do an American tour. Each issue of Family Portraits will be about 60 pages long and be printed in full colour.
“There are a few important reasons why I’m choosing to go to the grand ol’ United States:
- -It’s waaay cheaper to print the books and send them to America, and post them out to people from there, than to send them to New Zealand and post them from here
- - Most of the people who read my comic live there!
- - I wanna try and get along to some comicons like Rose City and A.P.E!
- - My parents live over there, and it’ll be a nice chance to visit my ma and pa!
REVIEW: ‘Black Faggot’
Lights, two actors in black clothes, fists pounding on chests, feet stamping, prayers, various sexual positions and a rendition of ‘This Little Light of Mine’ – these are the things that Black Faggot uses to tell it’s stories. It may be simple, but it’s also smart.
Black Faggot was written by Victor Rodger who conceived the idea while watched a Destiny’s Church rally against New Zealand’s Marriage Equality Bill. He watched the young protesters march by and thought,”At least one of these kids will be gay and feeling quite wretched about himself.
Two young actors, Taofia Pelesasa and Iaheto Ah Hi, expertly bring to life Rodger’s cast of unique characters in series of stripped down monologues where comedy straddles tragedy in everyday lives and situations. The characters – all a part of New Zealand’s migrant Pacific Island communities: the ‘undercover brother’ who will do almost anything to prove that he’s straight, a gay Samoan guy who will call anyone out on their prejudice to an island mama who has to confront the fact that her son is queer. Pelesasa and Ah Hi shift between these different characters with ease – each one as authentic as the last – at a pace that can be challenging. It’s almost if each character is clamoring over the other one to get their story told, because they all know that stories like these are rarely heard.
Black Faggot gives you every stereotype of queers, pacific islanders, fa’afafines and queens imaginable – and it watches while you laugh. Then, it turns around and delivers a heart wrenching scene – the gay Samoan teenager standing alone, his voice raised and shaking as he asks God to make him straight. You are no longer laughing.
Black Faggot demands that you keep up, but that’s okay – because you really want to. Showing for only 4 more nights at the Herald Theatre in Aotea Square, Black Faggot is back by popular demand after winning big at the Auckland and Melbourne Fringe Awards in 2013. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.
RY Scholarship to the Outgames
Are you badass at badminton? Groovy at golf? A superstar at swimming?
Rainbow Youth is offering a $1000 scholarship to help a queer or trans* young person get over to compete in the 3rd Asia Pacific Outgames held between May 10th and May 16th in Darwin, Australia. Applicants can be competing in any sport that the Outgames offers (even lawn bowls, we don’t discriminate!) and can be from anywhere in Aotearoa!
Those interested in applying for the scholarship should email firstname.lastname@example.org with a 200 word profile of yourself (including a photo so we put a face to the name of the talented applicants), 200 words on why you want to compete in the games as well as proof of registration to the games (if you haven’t registered yet, make sure you do so before April 11th). Applications for the RY Scholarship close April 23rd. The winner will be announced in a post on our website and our social media pages: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
Professional Development Workshops
Rainbow Youth is excited to launch our professional development workshops this year! We’ve been delivering its sexuality and gender diversity education workshops throughout schools and institutions around Auckland since the 1990s. This year, we’re expanding our education programme to address the wider community.
Beginning on the 25th of January, we’re offering a series of full day training workshops aimed at healthcare professionals, teachers, tertiary students, youth workers, as well as parents and whānau of queer and trans* youth, who would like to better support those young people in their lives.
Our Education Coordinator Kestin Stewart says he’s really excited to be able to run the Professional Development workshop.
“It will be a great opportunity to not only gain a solid understanding of sexuality and gender diversity, but to also learn how to talk about these issues with confidence and sensitivity.”
Participants in the workshop will learn the fundamentals of sexuality and gender identity as well as how homophobia, transphobia and discrimination affect queer and trans* youth. Other skills gained in the workshops include dealing with such discrimination in their environments, the coming out process and also have the opportunity to hear a range of personal stories from queer and trans* young people.
All participants will receive a resource training pack as part of the course. Refreshments will also be provided. Registration costs $100 per person, $50 for students and $70 per person for groups of 5 or more.
For the full outline of the sessions, download this PDF.
Click here to register for the January 25th session or email Kestin at kestin.stewart@
New Year Giveaway – Short Term 12 Film
Rainbow Youth is celebrating the start of 2014 with a little treat for you guys! We’ve got some two for one passes to see Short Term 12 showing in cinemas from January the 9th. We checked out the film early and think it’s one that’s well worth seeing! Read our review below, and if you’re interested, head to our Facebook to be in to win!
Short Term 12 is a brave film. Brave in its understated manner of dealing with its challenging storyline and, brave in the willingness of its performers to show what it looks like to be broken. The film premiered at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival in Texas, where it won both the Grand Jury Narrative Feature award and the Narrative Audience award and has since been recognised at other festivals around the U.S.A.
During this festival circuit, Short Term 12’s lead actress, Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Don Jon, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) was recognised repeatedly for her performance as Grace, a young woman working as a supervisor at a home for at-risk teens. Grace is the firm handed crewmember who treats the residents with a frankness that she can’t mirror in her personal world. The intensity of both her professional life and her personal life, included her past struggles and her secret relationship with her co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr. – Pieces of April, Jonah Hex, Whatever Works) begin to collide as the film progresses, forcing Grace to deal with parts of her world that she has refused to up until now.
Several moments of the film provide an acute punch right in the guts. The first is the recounting of a story written by one of the residents, Jayden (Kaitlyn Dever), who joins the home early on in the film. The story is about an Octopus who so desperately wants friends, she allows a shark she comes across to eat each of her arms in turn for his friendship. It’s a poignant metaphor for the devastation caused by relying on people and a comment on the danger of people taking too much from you and leaving you with nothing.
The second moment is when Grace and Jayden visit Jayden’s abusive father’s house during the night. In an act of vengeance for all the pain that he has caused her, Jayden takes a bat and smashes the windows of his car. With Jayden’s encouragement, Grace takes up the bat as well, hops on the bonnet of his car and begins to hit his windscreen over and over again. It takes a while to crack, but every blow is brutal and satisfying. It’s Grace finally gaining the courage to face the fact that like the kids she supervises, she too has something to run away from. She too, has something to be angry about.
A thoroughly compelling and interesting film, Short Term 12 proves itself right from it’s opening scene. Its climax and ending scenes feel rushed in comparison to earlier parts of the film, but it is still satisfying and the films major strengths lay in its expert mix of comedy and plainly stated emotional turmoil.
Short Term 12 is headed to cinemas around New Zealand on the 9th of January. To win one of RY’s two-for-one passes, head over to our Facebook and like on our post about the film! We’ve only got a limited amount of passes so get in quick!
RY PRIDE EVENT: Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
As part of the Auckland Pride Festival 2014, Rainbow Youth presents an amazing opportunity to showcase the varied talents of its members and supporters.
In association with Artstation and the Auckland Council, Rainbow Youth introduces ‘Old, New, Borrowed, Blue’, a Pride Art Auction and Intergenerational Panel being held on the 13th of February at Artstation in Ponsonby, with the art auction exhibition ending on the 15th of February.
Rainbow Youth is calling for art submissions from all generations, all artistic disciplines and all levels of professionalism – from amateur to established artists – to be included in the art auction portion of the event. The artwork should be themed around the theme of ‘identity’, aligning with the celebration of diverse identities that the Pride Festival focuses on. It could be a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, a print, a series of works, or even a zine. The event and art submissions are open to all.
The pieces will be sold at silent auction held at the Cell Block at the back of Artstation, following their reopening after extensive renovations. All proceeds will be go to support Rainbow Youth in their work to support queer and trans* young people across the country.
Rainbow Youth hopes this event will be a great opportunity for its artistic members and supporters, and encourages prompt submission, as there is limited space for artworks.
The intergenerational panel to be held in conjunction with the opening of the auction exhibition will be a forum of 5-6 young and not-so-young people from queer and trans* communities, many who have worked and continue to work to tackle queer and trans* concerns, brought together to discuss issues facing our communities and to respond to questions from attendees.
If you are interested in submitting artwork for this event please contact email@example.com to register. All accepted pieces are to be completed and delivered to the Rainbow Youth drop-in centre by Wednesday the 5th of February.
Overview: Pride In Defence Conference
For a lot of young people who grow up and realise that they identify as queer and trans*, the armed forces doesn’t really figure as a viable career path. There’s no denying that the common perceptions of a hyper-masculine and strict environment, as well as the famous history of opposition to queer and trans* people serving deters queer and trans* youth from considering the defence force as a career.
Before yesterday, I’d never met a queer or trans* identifying member of the military. I wasn’t naïve enough to think that that was because they didn’t exist, just that I didn’t think it was something that was talked about and certainly not something that was celebrated.
But then I walked in to the Diversity in Defence Conference held by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and saw this gigantic rainbow flag hanging in the foyer (seriously, it was huge. I stared at it like this guy).
Right from the word go, the conference defied expectations.
Over two days we listened to discussions relating to the functioning of Overwatch, the NZDF service which works to support queer and trans* service members in the Armed, Naval and Air Forces.
Diversity and inclusion in the wider area of businesses and organisations was also discussed, with representatives from Coca-Cola Amatil and ANZ sharing stories of how their organisations embrace the interests of queer and trans* employees as well as clients. Michael Stevens from Affinity New Zealand spoke about The Rainbow Tick, an initiative to provide businesses and organisations that meet a high standard of diversity, inclusion and safety with a confidence mark in the form of…well, a rainbow tick.
Here’s my top six moments from the Pride in Defence Conference:
1) The fact that the Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force (aka, the dude at the top), Lieutenant General Rhys Jones not only endorses Overwatch but is actually going to march with them in the 2014 Auckland Pride Parade. How cool is that?
2) Speaking of marching in the pride parade, I chatted to an Airman who marched in the parade earlier this year and told us it was one of the proudest moments of his life. He was stunned at the reaction from the crowd who, as soon as they caught sight of the Overwatch members marching down the road, went crazy cheering. He said that first time in his life, people were cheering not just because he was in uniform; they were cheering for him because he was being himself– which was something the Airman never thought he’d be able to celebrate while wearing his uniform.
3) After lunch on the first day of the conference, we had a wreath laying ceremony in the Hall of Memories. These ceremonies to remember those who have given their lives for New Zealand always give me Goosebumps and I dare anyone not to be moved when hearing the Last Post. But this wreath laying ceremony was the most powerful I’d ever been to. We were crowded closely together in the War Memorial Carillon, as the Hall of Memories was being earthquake proofed. There we paid special respects to all the unknown queer & trans* soldiers who sacrificed for their country, the ones that all the other memorial ceremonies I’ve been to have never spoken about. It brought tears to my eyes and looking around, I saw that others were similarly moved.
4) The conference brought together members of foreign militaries from England, America, the Netherlands and Australia. One of them, an ex-marine from the U.S, approached the Rainbow Youth stand to find out what we did. We began talking about marriage equality passing in New Zealand and the ex-marine said that he’d been so moved watching our Parliament break into Pokarekare Ana when the Marriage Equality Bill passed in April that he decided he wanted to use it as his wedding song back in the states.
5) At the RY stand, we had some WTFNZ stickers that proved to be pretty popular. The greatest moment was the resident chaplain from the NZDF asked with a cheeky grin if he could take several for his office and his diary. It was so great to know that not only the New Zealand Military, but some of the religious faculties included within it are ‘So F**king Proud’!
6) During the drinks and mingling and nibbles evening after the first day, the official NZDF ‘It Gets Better’ video was launched. Filled with courageous testimonies and varied support from across all facets of the NZDF, it truly is a landmark video in that it signals the first time a National Defence Force has spoken out officially in support of a queer & trans* campaign. See the official Outwatch ‘It Gets Better’ video here:
A special mention also has to go to Mojo Coffee, who very generously donated $1 of every cup sold at the conference to RY and OUTLine!
The Inaugural Pride in Defence conference marked a breaking down of boundaries and also showed how forward thinking and modern our Defence Force is. Knowing that our military is putting their best foot forward in being one of the most inclusive militaries in the world is very affirming as a queer person who grew up thinking that the military would be the last place that I would be welcome.
The fact that the New Zealand Defence Force welcomes queer and trans* recruits exemplifies one more way that bit by bit, the world is opening up for us.
Two Internship Positions Available at RY & OUTLine
Have some spare time on your hands? Want to help Rainbow Youth out? We have two exciting new internship positions available.
The Drop-In Centre Intern will be required to spend one 6-hour day per week for a minimum of three months. Basic responsibilities include ensuring the centre is open, answering phone calls and directing them as appropriate, as well as making sure the drop-in centre stays clean and tidy. The position is a great opportunity for work experience as well as something to beef up your CV. Extra perks include meeting and working with a diverse range of awesome people, as well as a $20 per day koha to assist with travel, parking and food. Applicants for the Drop-In Centre Intern should be skilled in engaging with young people and others from the community, as well as being friendly and welcoming to all drop-in centre visitors. For more information you can download the full job description here.
The other position is as an IT intern for Rainbow Youth & OUTLine, managing the technical side of our websites, computers and phone systems. This position will require four hours per week online as well as one day on site per month (at either Rainbow Youth or OUTLine). This is a great opportunity to gain practical industry knowledge with the broad range of skills required to keep RY and OUTLine moving and improving. The internship will also be a great addition to your CV and an opportunity to meet and make connections with a great bunch of people. Some of the key skills for this position involve an enjoyment and passion for technology as well as being keen to learn, skills in troubleshooting and working with people. The full job description for this position is available here.
Applicants for either position should email their CVs (with the desired internship title included in the subject of the email) to firstname.lastname@example.org.