Queer and Here is a six-part video series showing the many faces of Aotearoa's rainbow community, supported by NZ On Air. You can watch the short version here and the full episode on Māori Television on Thursday nights. In episode three, director Ramon Te Wake describes the search for a safe space.
So far, our presenter Aniwa has met a lot of people who've educated him about what it means to be a frontline activist. He got an LGBTIQ+ history lesson from Louisa Wall and Mani Bruce Mitchell. He took his first HIV test. And he also went on his first ever Pride March. Taking us all along for the ride with him.
As he continues his exploration of the LGBTIQ+ community, episode three finds him meeting some movers, shakers and leaders who have created safe spaces for other Takataapui. Safe spaces are no joke, they literally help save lives. Especially if you are young and new to the community, these environments offer support and acceptance. They allow you to thrive and express yourself, unapologetically. They give you the confidence to be who you are, without judgment. And in most cases, these spaces give you access to your people.
Claiming space has been at the forefront of the community for decades. Pioneers have paved the way for many and a lot of important organisations have been created as a result. Every generation gives way to new leaders who pick up the legacy and run with it. Be it at grassroots or government level, it all matters. And thanks to the evolution of language and technology new platforms have been created, recycled or reworked to fit the ever-growing needs of the LGBTIQ+ community.
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One person, who is claiming space on a global level, is superstar DJ Half Queen. Aniwa went along to his first Big Gay Out to find out how they got into DJing and why so many Takatapui wahine are dominating the field.
Pooja and Aroha discuss the importance of being surrounded by a strong support system. Community leader Grayson Goffee has created a safe space by using kai and manaakitanga to make a difference. Lyrikz Rimene uses the power of social media to share his evolution as a trans man.
And in part three is a touching story about why a Takataapui kapa haka roopu was created and how it has been a safe environment for many of its members for years. And the three trans women at the front of the group share their powerful stories about survival that hits Aniwa to the core.