LegaliseLove is a queer advocacy group created last year at Wellington’s Victoria University. Despite a successful march on Parliament, they faced criticism for their ‘closed door’ policy, heterosexual President, and myopic obsession with hetero-assimilation . But now they’ve reshuffled the group, expanded, and are back for another shot! We spoke with Executive Member TABBY BESLEY to find out more.
LegaliseLove has changed quite a bit. Is it still a university based group?
LegaliseLove now exists in both Wellington and Auckland and is looking to expand into other cities. The current groups are based out of universities although not all of the exec members are university students. We are in the process of looking at the idea of setting up a national charter for LegaliseLove to umbrella the groups in different cities and ensure each branch of LegaliseLove is following the same aims and objectives and so on. You can find a list of the new exec members and statements about why they are involved in LegaliseLove on our Facebook page.
What is the plan going forward?
This year we plan to run a calendar of events – some of these will be big like another rally, and the launch of a really exciting campaign (watch out for this in July). We want to raise awareness about marriage and adoption equality and one thing we’re keen to do is to facilitate some discussions and debates around these issues, particularly inviting the queer community to get involved and share their views. While LegaliseLove can’t and doesn’t claim to represent everyone in the queer community we can still create a space for diverse viewpoints to be shared and listen to what people have to say.
You’ve made efforts to involve the wider community this time around, which was something that was not as much of a priority before — why is that?
Last year LegaliseLove was much more of an event planning committee and all of the group’s energy was put into organising the rally. While that ran successfully, the group were aware that there had been a lack of community engagement within the campaign. The president of the previous exec openly admitted in his presidential report at the LegaliseLove AGM that this was a mistake which he takes responsibility for and the new exec are excited to move forward with an active focus on community engagement.
In an ideal world, what would LegaliseLove achieve?
Equal marriage and adoption rights regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in New Zealand are our goals. Ideally we would live in a country – well, world – free of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, our schools and streets would be safe and everyone would be treated equally. We believe that marriage and adoption rights will take us a step closer to a place like that but acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to be done in other areas and that unfortunately changes in the law won’t fix everything.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Please like us on Facebook to stay updated and find out how you can get involved as we announce events! You can also find us on YouTube, tumblr and Twitter and keep an eye out for our website, which will be relaunched mid-July. You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and through our Facebook.
- Memorial a “huge success”
- Love march Thursday
- Tribute to suicide victims
- Rally for marriage equality
- LegaliseLove hits Beehive