Viewport width =

Issue 14, 2018

Issue 14, Vol 81: Queerlient

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

News

  • Massey Trans Students Call for Better

  • It’s Vital Activism, Brent

  • NZUSA Begs For Money

  • Sexuality in Pre-Colonial Aotearoa More Liberal Than You Thought

  • Student Associations Still Trust NZUSA After Penis Portrait Allegations

  • Victoria University on a Sacking Rampage

  • Over Half of Us Want to Drop Out

  • Severance & Dissatisfaction at Vic Books

  • Unisex Toilets Still in the Pipeline

  • Victoria Health Care Ain’t A Casual Affair

  • Wellington Buses Fail to Drive it Home

  • Students Say “Krish-Na”

  • Features

  • Queer Speak & Straight-Talking

    CW: sex, genitals, talk of misgendering Andrew: So when did you become a vegan? Ben: When I met my wife. You? Andrew: Oh, when I met my partner. He’s vegan, too. Even though neither of them said so explicitly, both Andrew and Ben have revealed their sexualities to each other. Language allows us to paint […]

    by

  • Aunty Dana’s Op-Shop

    Aunty Dana’s is an op shop the sits in 128 the Radical Social Centre. The shop raises money and provides a community for takatāpui, trans, and intersex people. Salient News Editor sat down with Kerry Donovan Brown, the manager, and Lola Elle Bellamy-Hill, a devoted volunteer. Taylor: First of all I’m just curious about the organisation as a whole. How did […]

    by

  • A Ballad to Ending Nostalgia

    “Our life is a story,” I remember being told, while engaging in the extensive oral tradition of my hometown, “a series of stories”. It is no coincidence that the word historia applies to both documented history and fairytales, as they both involve a level of curating events and experiences to create a coherent narrative. Of […]

    by

  • The Elusive History of Intersex

    As many as 2% of the population may be considered intersex. You have lectures with intersex people, you’ve sat next to intersex people on the bus, hell, you probably have three or four people who could identify as intersex among your facebook friends. But if it’s that common to be intersex, why aren’t we aware […]

    by

  • Queer Speak & Straight-Talking

    CW: sex, genitals, talk of misgendering Andrew: So when did you become a vegan? Ben: When I met my wife. You? Andrew: Oh, when I met my partner. He’s vegan, too. Even though neither of them said so explicitly, both Andrew and Ben have revealed their sexualities to each other. Language allows us to paint […]

    by

  • Aunty Dana’s Op-Shop

    Aunty Dana’s is an op shop the sits in 128 the Radical Social Centre. The shop raises money and provides a community for takatāpui, trans, and intersex people. Salient News Editor sat down with Kerry Donovan Brown, the manager, and Lola Elle Bellamy-Hill, a devoted volunteer. Taylor: First of all I’m just curious about the organisation as a whole. How did […]

    by

  • A Ballad to Ending Nostalgia

    “Our life is a story,” I remember being told, while engaging in the extensive oral tradition of my hometown, “a series of stories”. It is no coincidence that the word historia applies to both documented history and fairytales, as they both involve a level of curating events and experiences to create a coherent narrative. Of […]

    by

  • The Elusive History of Intersex

    As many as 2% of the population may be considered intersex. You have lectures with intersex people, you’ve sat next to intersex people on the bus, hell, you probably have three or four people who could identify as intersex among your facebook friends. But if it’s that common to be intersex, why aren’t we aware […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Words Cut Loose

    Accidentally, between this week and last, this section has become a two-part discussion of No Common Ground. In Ella Sutherland’s current exhibition at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Margins & Satellites, she explores what she calls “a queering of mechanical reproduction”. Sutherland has created a series of silk-screened images that borrow from the typography and design elements of early lesbian publications, produced during the 1970s and 80s. Arranged between them are recognisable sets of eyes, politicians punctuating a timeline of policy that has marginalised the queer body and its visibility.
    In hearing Sutherland talk about her work, she articulates a sort of nostalgia for the queer literature and publications of the past. Margins & Satellites retraces the archive to understand what this might mean. The archive is an important space that Sutherland navigates, for two reasons specifically in Aotearoa: the Lesbian and Gay archives (LAGANZ) were formed by the LGBTTIFQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui, intersex, fa’afafine, or queer) community as a recognition that their contribution to our society is valuable and rich, and secondly, there are still obvious gaps in the archives, sections which have eluded documentation. The self-made archive is difficult because it always relies on personal foresight as to what will tell the most critical narratives in the future.
    At No Common Ground, Sutherland noted that typography histories often focus on the clarity of words. In contrast, Sutherland is looking at words that have been cut loose, words no longer in service, but independently transmitting ideas through their form and arrangement. A meaning does not always have to be legible — sometimes an intentional obfuscation of meaning can convey more complex concepts. The way media is forced into subservience means it is contained within expected mainstream bias. Through confusing the legibility of graphic design, bias can be overwritten, a game of textual subterfuge.

    In looking back to the archive, Sutherland makes an aesthetic out of what was once necessity. In early lesbian publications specifically, a number of which Deborah Rundle (another speaker at No Common Ground) was an organising member of, typeface and illustrations were often hand or type written, to allow ease of reproduction and dissemination. The layout, similarly, was restricted by a lack of technology or software, of which we are fluent in now. The resulting aesthetic of these newsletters, as they were often known as, was ephemeral, fugitive, and resourceful. However, Rundle noted that there this was not a deliberate style, but borne out of necessity. It reminds me of Zadie Smith’s “doing more than is necessary with less than you need,” in her essay Feel Free, in reference to the idea of camp. As she noted, the less-than-you-need part is a crucial characteristic; under-resourced-ness leading to innovation. So, even as there was perhaps no intentional aesthete to early lesbian publications, such as Rundle’s Witches, Bitches and Dykes, their hand made nature has come to be an object of nostalgia for contemporary queer publications and imagery. The ephemeral publication, that which has been hastily put together, is for marginalised groups that fail to be recognised by the Xeroxed mainstream. Within Margins & Satellites, this is also manifested in real-time, though the workspace in the middle of the gallery, where visitors can assemble their own collections of queer images and texts from a selection provided to take away with them, another transient document with many variations that will go home and enter a personal archive. Words cut loose are words that continue to hurtle forwards.

    by

  • Corduroy – “The Usual” Single Review

    Corduroy are a locally based independent neo-soul group with links to Victoria University, having formed through the halls of residence last year. Their sound hints at something bigger than a humble jam-band between mates, however, and their new debut single “The Usual” is a testament to that.
    “The Usual” showcases a sound that positions Corduroy within the realm of established popular Kiwi bands of the last few years – think Six60 or Drax Project, but with an indie-pop edge. Alongside the stellar chops displayed in the band, much of the appeal of Corduroy emanates from the sharp lyricism and singing displayed by vocalist Rosie Spearing, who shows a lot of potential as the voice of this group. On “The Usual”, Spearing’s voice carries a deep, soulful tone reminiscent of Lianne La Havas or Jorja Smith, set against a backdrop of bright, sound-of-the-moment neo-soul grooves and twangy guitars. It’s pretty cool. Lyrically, “The Usual” is a pretty direct sort of a song, which deals with some sort of break up where the vocalist is in the unenviable position of instigating the split. Spearing carries these lyrics with charisma and grit, and there are a handful of moments (particularly in the verses) where little moments of phrasing pop out and excite the listener. Spearing’s a great singer, and going forward it’ll be cool to hear what she can pry out of her already-solid lyricism from a phrasing point of view. Once you hear a great moment in a piece of music, and it’s followed with something that’s just as good, it leaves you wishing for more. Lots of potential in this though, and “The Usual” points to promising earworms and captivating performances to come. As for the band, they’re rock solid as well. Drummer Dean Gibson sits in the pocket, and seems to have a knack for knowing when to sit into the mix and when to showcase his chops. Simon Kenrick’s keys follow a similar trend – sitting into the mix to add to the overall texture of the piece, but providing more than a decent impact when they become more pronounced in the mix (as evident in the introduction/conclusion, and the bridge). Will Cole and Riley Barrett provide sturdy support on the guitar and bass respectively, and lovers of this new-school New Zealand sound will enjoy much of the twangy chorus-driven tone produced from this section of the band.
    I think sometimes music reviewers in New Zealand can be a little guilty of overlooking certain facets of popular music in favour of experimentalism or obscure/angular music. I’m not saying there’s not a place for that sort of music. All I’m saying is that there’s a huge place in the market for a band like Corduroy, who perfectly encapsulate the lives of twenty-somethings, and the sound of New Zealand’s popular music sphere in 2018. There’s a reason popular music has that name, and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against Corduroy achieving a large degree of popularity in the near future. Jump on the bandwagon.

    by

  • Nanette

    Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special Nanette is something special.
    The introduction to Gadsby’s set tells the story of a gay woman trying to survive in rural Tasmania, a state where (until 1997) being homosexual was illegal.
    Gadsby gives her first impressions of identifying as a lesbian with deadpan delivery. She tells a story of when she was 17 and confronted by a man, confusing her for a man hitting on his girlfriend. She admits the latter part was true but expresses bewilderment at the man’s lack of irony when he remarks, “oh sorry, I thought you were one of those faggots trying it on with her”.
    “Where do the quiet gays go?” Gadsby quips, as she retells her first experience of Australian Mardi Gras. Even on the subject of the Pride flag, Gadsby has an unorthodox opinion; “I don’t even like the flag. Controversial. There I’ve said it. The Pride flag—I love what it means… but the flag itself? A bit busy. It’s just six very shouty, assertive colors stacked on top of each other. No rest for the eye.” While hilarious, these remarks and others like; “I don’t think I’m very good at gay”, belie the struggle of someone who not only identifies as queer in an openly homophobic area but also, the struggle of someone who doesn’t fit into the community her birthplace tries to relegate her to. Gadsby remarks that she’s received pressure from others to come out as transgender (which she doesn’t identify as), and it’s with her response to this discussion that Nanette evolves into something beyond a conventional stand-up special.
    “I identify as tired,” states Gadsby, “I do think I need to quit comedy though.” What follows in the back half of Nanette is a masterclass in storytelling. Gadsby turns her previous jokes on their head by informing the audience that she will no longer make a career out of self-deprecation and a deliberate devaluing of her identity. To do so, she claims, “is not humility but humiliation”. Instead, Nanette offers not the setup and punchlines of a gay comedian, but an uncompromising tale of the real and debilitating damage done to a person who is different. Gadsby then proceeds to tell the “ending” to her setups and punchlines, first revealing that the man who thought she was a man returned calling her a “lady faggot”, before proceeding to beat her. Her reason for not going to the police: “I thought that was all I was worth.”

    From Picasso and Van Gogh to Weinstein and co, Nanette dissects a festering nexus of societal water cooler talk. That is to say, it brings conversational threads about the abuse of storied power through history, the dangerousness of being different, and the misunderstanding of mental illness in one prevailing voice.
    Hannah Gadsby has used her role as a great stand up to ferociously skewer so many of her audience (this author included) with polished barbs of a lived experience that is told in such a powerful way, that to try and squirm away from her insight just makes it that more poignant.
    The last third of Gadsby’s show is relentless and is simply Must. Watch. Television. It’s almost difficult to overstate how good Nanette actually is. Just go and watch it. Seriously. Stop wasting her time.

    by

  • The Normal Heart

    If anyone is wanting to subject themselves to an intense amount of emotional anguish this week, then I’d suggest watching Ryan Murphy’s film, The Normal Heart.
    Set in 1980’s New York, the film follows the founding of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, as volunteers try to spread awareness of the AIDs crisis. Based on Larry Kramer’s 1985 semi-autobiographical play, the characters are forced to deal with the fatalities from the virus, as well as the majority’s stigmatisation and discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ community.
    Mark Ruffalo delivers a powerful performance as openly gay activist, Ned Weeks (based on Larry Kramer himself), as he relentlessly fights for the government’s assistance in acknowledging the presence of the virus, and in finding funding for prevention and treatment. The film is informative in displaying the historical impact of HIV, and brutally honest in portraying not only the effects on the patients themselves, but the friends and family around them. Scenes showing the lack of support from the public and lack of action from the government are infuriating to watch, as the volunteers are subjected to the heartbreaking realisation that the majority’s prejudice towards the gay community is prevalent enough to turn a blind eye to the epidemic.

    Despite its bleak content, the film has its moments of tenderness, acting as a reminder of the importance of being able to love each other during times of hardship. The conviction of the volunteers does not falter because they have hope for a future where they and their loved ones will be able to love each other in an open and safe environment.

    by

  • Analysing the Queer Content in Children’s Puberty Books

    Growing up in the days before high-speed internet, my sexuality education was gained through the copy of What’s Happening to Me? that was slid underneath my bedroom door on my 11th birthday. These puberty books shaped the way that whole generations came to understand sexuality and identity during our most formative adolescent years, when we were just figuring out who we were.

    Flash forward 10 years and it feels like the roles have flipped. Thanks to a revolution in the way we interpret sex, gender, and sexuality, young people are sliding updated ideas back under the proverbial bedroom doors of baby boomers everywhere.
    So have the puberty books been following?
    I embarked on a mission to find the most woke kids’ book about coming-of-age. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the library, the books I was searching for were nowhere to be seen. With a heavy heart I approached the information desk and asked for help in finding a copy of Puberty and Your Body. All in the name of research.
    The Girl Files
    by Jacqui Bailey – 2/5

    Let’s get the most obvious critique out the way, which is the cis-normative title of this book and the way its cover was decorated with pink butterflies and flowers. I guess a lot of pre-teens love that shit, but it was a pretty cringe-worthy caricature of the female mind. When I flipped to the “It must be Luurve” section (vom), I was dismayed to find that male pronouns were used every time the author referred to someone’s potential crush. At one point the author did acknowledge that girls can have crushes on other girls, but the context was questionable: “It doesn’t matter who you have a crush on – it could be… a pop star or someone on telly. Or a teacher or a family friend. Or you might have a crush on another girl.” These crazy kids, swooning after implausible love interests like pop stars and other girls!
    100% Me: The How, Why, and When of Growing Up
    by Elinor Greenwood & Alexander Cox – 3/5

    Once again I found myself flipping through to the “Crushes” chapter, feeling utterly thankful that my time as a tween was far behind me. This book was more promising: a quarter of its romance section was dedicated to sexuality. It briefly outlined what it means to be heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual, and reassured the reader that they’re not the antichrist if they don’t like kissing boys. It wasn’t groundbreaking stuff – it was cool that they brought up bisexuality, but a lot of other identities were still missing from the discussion.
    Bunk 9’s Guide to Growing Up
    By Adah Nuchi – 4/5

    Listen, I’m a 19 year old socialist with a scathing opinion on mostly everything, but I was INTO this book. Finally, a mention of gender diversity! The author talked about the challenges that kids face when they reach puberty and realise that they don’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Some of the kids in this book had same-sex parents, and the dating section celebrated diverse sexuality and gender orientations. The author used gender neutral pronouns in the appropriate places, and organically integrated queer concepts throughout the chapters. My kids will receive a copy of this book upon their birth.

    by

  • Podcasts Are For the Gays

    Podcasts are for the gays. Though media representation is getting better and more queer creators are gaining mainstream appeal the situation is still far from ideal. In the midst of a media landscape where we are underrepresented and our stories not told, podcasting is a beacon of hope. It’s a medium where stories can be told with true creative freedom, and has the potential to be representative to queer audiences.

    Welcome to Night Vale began one of the first interest booms in podcasting, and carved a niche for queer audio drama. Its casual integration of queerness within the narrative and its genuine empathy for the stories being told immediately resonated with audiences. However, audio drama was queer friendly before Night Vale. Podcasting is set up differently from every other form of media: all you need to get a podcast out is audio equipment and motivation. There are few expectations and restrictions on what kinds of content are produced. All you need to be noticed is an audience. The line between creator and listener is more direct than in any other media, and it allows for a clearer sense of what audiences really want — no focus groups or demographics needed.
    Audio drama podcasts tell stories in the traditional radio drama genres of horror and noir, but finds a new home in science fiction. This is where queer podcasting shines. Audio drama generates more varied and creative visions of the future than TV and film because of the diversity at the its heart. The Penumbra Podcast combines horror, noir, and science fiction in the Juno Steel serial, where a trans and bisexual protagonist solves mysteries on Mars, where there is only one straight person. The predominantly queer team of creators has direct contact with their fanbase, so even identities they do not inhabit are able to be treated with care. The cast is as queer because the creators understand the significance of representation, and are not making media for trends or profits. The representation of queerness in Juno Steel is humanised in ways queerness in most media is not, even today, because they did not have to fight for it. Audio drama creators decided they needed queer characters, queer futures, and then they made it happen.
    Though an increasing number of podcasts are being adapted for visual media, the balance of queer showsto non-queer shows that gets made into TV does not reflect the actual ratios in podcasts in general. The environment that fosters queer creators and content is not crossing over easily into other genres. Another problem halting the spread of queer podcasting is that most of it is audio drama, not the factual conversation or interviews that most people think of when they think of podcasts. This lack of attention to audio drama could be what’s keeping it queer, but if this phenomena is so self-contained, what’s to stop it from fading away once the nature of podcasting, or even its popularity, changes.

    by

  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

    Add Comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Recent posts

    1. Newsthub: No need to kill cats Mittens, owners should be responsible – Wellington Mayor Justin Lester
    2. Where Does Your Student Services Levy Go?
    3. Presidential Address
    4. Simran Rughani Resigns from VUWSA
    5. Score Steamed Hams with Seymour for Society Soirée
    6. VUWSA Launches Student Mental Health Campaign
    7. Tragicomic Webseries
    8. Issue 18, Vol 81: Under the Surface
    9. NT: Te Ara Tauira
    10. Queer Coverage: Local, National, and International LGBTQIA+ News
    Website-Cover-Photo7

    Editor's Pick

    This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

    : Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided