Te Tiare Association (LGBTQ+) and Pride Cook Islands members and supporters have been working to raise awareness in the community and lobby for a change in the country's Crimes Act that bans same-sex relations. MELINA ETCHES / 20092531
"Globally, people of all walks of life are being accepted as integral members of society. In the Cook Islands we protect and promote criminals and those wanted by NZ police into Parliament over an honest, God loving, LBGT." writes columnist Ruta Tangiiau Mavé.
Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me,
let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things about sex, let’s talk
about sex… I chose this catchy tune to
open my first column in the Cook Islands News a year ago, so Happy Birthday me,
for 52 weeks of writing.
I’m pretty chuffed, considering I was more foe than friend
of the (former) editor, and because my views and opinions, to the ‘Letter to
the Editor’, often provoked dialogue and subsequent replies, on what people
think or feel. The subject wasn’t sex, it was the re-decision to criminalise
same sex relations for males and adding females in the mix, so much for
equality in our community.
Twelve months on and we’ve stood still in the same place,
but the world’s not the same place. Saturday, we stopped holding our breath on
America’s Presidential Election results. Favourite ‘Down Under’ past times that
usually stop our nations, The Melbourne Cup, Bledisloe Cup, State of Origin
paled in comparison of the anticipation as we, with 380+ million Americans
waited for Pennsylvania’s count. Unlike the Queensland Reds, the Blue Democrats
Donald Trump’s unorthodox actions and reactions had created
strong divisive groups across the country, his use of social media especially
Twitter to make statements and comments like a teenager, became the norm. The
Black Lives Matter protests brought out the call, All Lives Matter, his acerbic
rhetoric like it or not, mobilised the nation to vote in more numbers than ever
before, which culminated in ‘All Votes Matter’, proving democracy is alive and
can work in diverse, disparate countries. Presidents aside, what I noted was a
surge in hope for the little people to stand up, have a voice and become
leaders in congress.
The success of several ‘first ever’ groundbreaking
individuals starting with a female Vice President of colour, Kamala Harris,
said “she may be the first but she won’t be the last” is the emerging theme of
politics globally. America voted their first transgender, first black woman in
Missouri, three women of colour in New Mexico, two are native American women.
Two open gay black men in New York, including ‘The Squad’ four women Latino,
Mexican, Muslim, LBGT mix, standing as Progressives, added two more women.
The question is why? What I see is a Trump effect rubbing
off, that started with Barack Obama. Once the American people accepted
something different like a black President then Trump’s leadership style, their
minds opened to accepting other ‘types’ of leaders. The incidences of LBGT winning roles as
sheriff, mayor, judge over the forever conservative norm of a white middle
class male is becoming the new beginning.
Even Jacinda Ardern’s leadership changed the view of women
in politics when she took her baby to World Congress meetings, with her husband
alongside in the caregiver role. New
Zealand’s recent election, results where the Reds, trumped the Blues, similarly
show several LBGT male, female, local Maori and diverse individuals winning
seats in Parliament, plus she appointed the first open gay Deputy PM.
In contrast with world trends, the Cook Islands are moving
backwards from the progressive decision made to decriminalise same sex
relations in 2017. If we change the law back, will children or partners of
prominent politicians, government servants, business owners, teachers and
tourist operators be arrested? Will NZ LBGT MP’s be welcome here?
Globally, people of all walks of life are being accepted as
integral members of society. In the Cook Islands we protect and promote criminals
and those wanted by NZ police into Parliament over an honest, God loving, LBGT.