Meet Green Party candidate Kevin Hague
22nd May 2008 - 09:38 am
Ranking at #7 on the Green Party's list means Hague, 48, has a pretty good chance of becoming our next openly-gay MP after this year's election.
|New Green lister Kevin Hague|
An ex-Executive Director of the NZ AIDS Foundation, Hague has been a mover-and-shaker in NZ's gay community for quite some time. Now he's aligned himself with a political party that he says "has always taken a principled stand on our issues."
GayNZ.com: What attracts you to politics?
Hague: Politics is the conversation we have about the way we want to live as a society: how we interact with each other and with the environment we live in. If you have beliefs about a better society and a better relationship with the world we live in – and I do - then politics is the way to do something about that.
Why the Green Party in particular?
Do you need to ask??? The Green Party stands for pretty much what I believe in: environmental responsibility, social justice (including the best record on LGBT issues), honouring the Treaty, non-violence and appropriate collective decision-making. And not compromising on that stuff. Are there other choices?
Tell us a little of the work you've done in the LGBT community. What has been most rewarding, looking back?
I spent 10 years working for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, as Research Officer from 1988-1993, and Executive Director from 1998-2003.
I was involved in the Homosexual Law Reform campaign in the 1980s but was particularly associated with the fight against HIV/AIDS and the long-running and eventually successful campaign for anti-discrimination legislation and human rights reform. I was also the co-chair (and co-organiser) of the 1989 landmark National Gay and Lesbian Conference, was one of the organisers of the first Hero Party, helped edit Terry Stewart's book Invisible Families (helping families come to terms with and support a lesbian daughter or gay son) and led the successful campaign to shut down the Auckland Star, following homophobic editorials attacking a lesbian and gay youth group.
Both the Human Rights Act and Auckland Star campaigns were really satisfying because we had good strategy and we succeeded, but the most fun were Hero 1(I worked on the door all night, but the dress rehearsal for the main show was indescribably fabulous) and National Penis Day.
What's your background, and where did you grow up?
I lived in England until I was 13, and then my family migrated to NZ. I lived in Hamilton at first, but shifted to Auckland in 1977. Stayed there until 1993, then Waiheke for 10 years before moving to the West Coast. I had parallel careers in bookselling and public health for many years, and have worked in business, Government and community sectors. Student issues got me involved in politics, and besides my work in gay advocacy, I have had deep involvement in the anti-apartheid, Pakeha Treaty and conservation movements and in cycle advocacy.
When did you come out as gay, and what was it like for you at the time?
Well it started some time in the mid 70s, and didn't finish until about 1982. And actually still nowadays there seems to be a constant process of meeting new people and having to correct their assumptions. Nowadays, of course, it's tiresome and/or amusing, but back then it was confusing and terrifying (still remember buying that first magazine – the world's most agonized shopping event).
What's your relationship status?
I met my partner (on a protest!) in 1984. I think that makes next year diamonds (so long as they're certified conflict-free).
What do you think are the most pressing issues currently facing the NZ's gay community?
In terms of external threats, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still going to continue to affect progressively more of us, and for gay men is still a massive and urgent problem. For all of us, the fact that a young person coming out still needs to struggle through an overwhelmingly hostile social environment is a challenge to and complacency we may personally feel at having made it through. That negative social environment also lies behind alcohol and drug misuse and our tragic record of self-harm.
What's your worst habit?
Are there any books you're currently reading or recommending?
I've just come back from mountain biking in Moab (Utah) and right now can't get enough of Edward Abbey's novels and polemics about wilderness conservation and the wonderful high desert. Also Plan B v 3.0 by Lester Brown. And anything by James Lee Burke. Actually I have a few roomsful – just come round.
Your favourite music at the moment?
In Greymouth we have Classic Hits. It's none of the five songs they play. I always reckon you can't beat the Clash or John Coltrane, but Nick Cave or Brooklyn Funk Essentials come close. And Oasis' Stop Crying your Heart Out. And Sarah McLachlan.
Your favourite movies?
Slaughterhouse Five, Little Big Man, Hairspray (the original)
Your favourite TV programmes?
Very difficult. It's all so bad. I like The Office and Extras, but Ian can't handle the cringe factor. Of course full coverage of every stage of the Tour de France.
Your favourite websites?
GayNZ.com of course and www.greens.org.nz
If you could have one wish granted what would it be?
Who are your LGBT heroes?
Harvey Milk [murdered San Francisco gay rights activist and politician], Ian Scott [first openly gay man to stand in a NZ general election, he was not successful], Alastair Hall and Matt Whyte [both were highly active in HIV awareness work, Hall in the late 80s, White in the late 90s. Both died due to HIV].
What's coming up in the near future for you?
Maiden speech in Parliament!
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