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 four, director Ramon Te Wake talks about the healing journey.
The road to healing hits differently for everyone. It's literally one of life's "must dos" and something none of us can really escape. But boy do we try. Sometimes, it seems easier to sweep our s**t under the rug and unplug ourselves from any emotional accountability. I know, I've been there. But I've learned that just keeps us from living our full and authentic, best lives. If we want to move on from the burden of trauma, it requires massive internal deep diving. We have to show up for ourselves and we have to do the work. And no one understands that more than the LGBTIQ+ community.
"We have to do the work" is something you hear a lot in our series, Queer & Here. Not just community or legislative work but perhaps more importantly, the healing kind of work. It's something we all can relate to because many of us have experienced trauma on different levels and in different ways. Just being LGBTIQ+ equals ridicule and discrimination. It puts our mental health on blast and that can cause us a lot of harm. Healing is not just something we can take for granted, it's something that we must do to survive and thrive.
In this episode, Aniwa gets personal with community advocates who share their take on self-care and healing; what it looks like to them and how they worked through their own personal struggles.
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We meet filmmaker Alesha Adhar. They grew up in the church and were forced to take part in conversion therapy to "pray the gay away". Alesha tells us about breaking free from the now-illegal practice and what it means to embrace your truth and strength as Takataapui.
We meet HIV advocate, Tāwhanga Nopera, who opens up about his own journey living with HIV and he shares with us the pressing issues facing the HIV community today.
And finally, Aniwa spills the tea on the history of the parade and how it has changed over the years. He explores the controversial police presence that sparked a divide and he catches up with community favourites the bears.