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Gay role models: David Hindley

ANDY BOREHAM introduces us to another one his of gay role models from New Zealand. This week we meet David Hindley.

I first met David Hindley at the launch event of Parliament’s Rainbow Room, a select committee room themed to represent the gay struggle in New Zealand. His photographic work from the time of Homosexual Law Reform adorns the walls, ensuring what our people went through to achieve the rights we have today have a prominent place in the ‘corridors of power’.

That led me to approach David some months later about a little GLBT art auction I was organising for Out Wellington. It was a fundraiser, and we were asking GLBT artists to donate their work, so that we could sell them to the public and use the money to run Wellington’s famous gay and lesbian fair, Out in the Square.

David was more than happy to donate three amazing prints from his work which hangs in Parliament, and these sold well.

I then began working with David closely in the last year as part of his role as co-Chair of the committee that is producing the huge AsiaPacific Outgames that will visit Wellington in just a few weeks.

And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by David’s attitude and work ethic.

He is absolutely professional, obviously very intelligent, and has an amazing energy for the Outgames. He and his team have literally spent years preparing for this event, and they aren’t receiving a penny.

On top of that, David’s diplomacy is to be commended. In all of my time with David, in both a professional and a personal context, I have never heard him speak badly of a single person. He seems to only offer constructive opinions on controversial issues and people in our communities, which I find amazing and commendable.

David Hindley is an absolute asset to our communities, and I hope he continues to find GLBT causes and events that excite him enough to devote his time and energy.

Andy: Tell us about yourself.
David: I was born in the UK (think Coro St) of Brit father and Kiwi mother. The family shifted to NZ (Whakatane) when I was 12. Went to Uni, worked in newspapers, television and then did investigative work for Consumer. Enjoy travel to warmer places (I lived in France for 6 months last year). Also enjoy running, gym, photography.

What do you do now?
I work in publishing, producing books, websites and online calculators and tools for architects, designers and others. Previously I have been a television reporter, investigative journalist and had various other media roles.

What is your history in the GLBT community (please don’t be shy/modest)?

  • One of the core members of Pink Triangle collective in the 1980s – we produced a national bimonthly magazine for the LGBTI community
  • Opened a drop-in community centre for LGBTI people in Dunedin in the early 1980s
  • One of the co-ordinators of the Gay Task Force, the community group that campaigned (successfully!) for Homosexual Law Reform 1985-86
  • Worked for NZAF 1989, educating on HIV and encouraging safe sex
  • Organiser of the Gay and Lesbian Fair (the forerunner for Out in the Square) for 4 years
  • Co-ordinator of the Deus dance parties 2000/2001/2002
  • I also photographed various key community events, had exhibitions, my photographs are part of the National Library collection, hang in Parliament Buildings, Te Papa, etc
  • Have written numerous articles on the LGBTI community that have been published in NZ, Australia, UK etc
  • Member of Team Wellington, supporting local LGBTI athletes going to Gay Games/Outgames in Sydney, Montreal, Copenhagen etc
  • Co-chair, Wellington 2011 Inc, the group delivering the 2nd AsiaPacific Outgames in Wellington in March 2011
  • Member of Frontrunners LGBTI running group in Wellington

How important are GLBT role-models for young, queer people who are coming out and/or new to the GLBT world?
Role models are crucial. When we are young or coming out we need to see LGBTI people to firstly gain confidence and pride in being openly who we are, and after that just to normalise our lives. We need to know that we are everywhere, doing all sorts of jobs, and just getting on with life.

Are visible, successful role-models utilised enough in the well-being of our community?
It is slowly happening. Having openly gay and lesbian MPs, TV news and weather presenters, etc, all helps. But there are gaps in the visibility of role models, in the business world, in top level sport, etc. And we don’t see enough of those people who have very long and successful relationships.

Do we look up to our role-models enough?
I think the community here is quite a few years behind some big international LGBTI communities, where there is a much wider breadth of successful role models for younger people to see.

Are there any GLBT role-models in the media (NZ, internationally, movies/media, etc) that you think are valuable? Who are they? And why?
I think all sorts of different role models are valuable. We need to see the variety in our communities reflected in the media. So I think that ‘elder statesmen’ types such as Gore Vidal, Ian McKellen, etc are great, but younger people such as Gok Wan are brilliant too.

Who do you look up to?
I look up to people with courage, people who are just themselves despite what the consequences might be, and people who make a consistent contribution over time. In Wellington, I respect Johnnie Croskery, Des Smith and John Jolliff, and also to much younger people who push the envelope. There are a couple of very young guys who walk hand in hand whenever they are in town, and that is brilliant.

Anything else you’d like to say?
Grab opportunities when they arise. They might never come up again. And people in this country are incredibly accessible compared to the US or the UK – just talk to people.

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