Politicians. Entertainers. Sportsmen. Artists. Family. All of these areas supply ample role models for younger generations to look up to and to aspire to. But successful, out, proud gay role models are something many in our community still don’t have access to.
We choose our own role models based on our aspirations, our beliefs, our hopes. Invariably our role models illustrate a position and stature in life we hope to achieve some time in our own futures. They provide a goal, a reason to strive for more and work harder.
But what if, like many young gay men, the sexuality of our role models is pivotal to finding content and direction in life? What if, like many young gay men, we need to see, live and in the flesh, out gay men succeeding in life despite all of the obstacles thrown in their paths, as some kind of validation that it’s okay to be attracted to, and to love, other men?
The plight of gay men in New Zealand has improved in leaps and bounds since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1986. In 2004 Parliament decided it needed to be legal for same sex partners to honour their relationships with a Civil Union. But successful, out, proud, gay role models are still something many of our community fail to engage, for whatever reason.
I have a few gay role models that I’ve chosen for various reasons, who I will introduce you to here in this weekly series. Some I chose because of their success in the arts, some because of their success in politics, some because of their success in life.
I really believe that role models, especially out and proud gay ones, are essential for the wellbeing of our communities. They provide guidance, support, ambition and hope to younger people who need these things desperately. Basically, role models are necessary for a happy, healthy life.
Role models so far:
- Gay role models: Grant Robertson MP
- Gay role models: Tim Barnett
- Gay role models: Malcolm Kennedy-Vaughan
- Gay role models: David Hindley
- Queensland civil unions