Opinion

Political Involvement Doesn’t Stop at The Voting Booth

Tamati Coffey
The New Gay MP for Waiariki
Sarah Murphy
Written by Sarah Murphy

It’s fair to say that many express readers will be disappointed after the election night results positioned the National Party as the clear favourite, with 46 percent of the vote.


The votes have been counted, but the composition of our government for the next three years is yet to be decided. Our country is in limbo and Winston holds the power. Considering he voted against the Homosexual Law Reform Bill and marriage equality, he’s isn’t exactly our best ally.

Labour was clearly the favourite in last month’s express poll, which comes as no surprise, if you consider that our communities are traditionally seen as left-leaning.

You only need to look at the backlash the former QCanterbury president received after he ‘came out’ as a National supporter to see the realities of that.

While the real issue was that the Young Nats ad associated QCanterbury, a partisan group, with the National Party, the comments, in their hundreds, were overwhelmingly targeted at Farra’s political leaning.

The reality is, of course, that we are a very diverse group of people, from an extremely diverse collection of backgrounds, each with our own diverse political views. The commonality we share is our position outside of the heterosexual and binary norm, but even within that we are as diverse as they come. Despite what popular representation of our communities portrays, we are not all white, gay, middle-class, cis men. In fact, most of us aren’t.

There have been those who have long held onto this idea of there being ‘one community’. We should never think that we are all the same, or even that we are one community – we’re not. The moment we fall into that way of thinking, we hurt some of our most marginalised. We need to be allies for those in our communities whose fight is still a long and tiresome road ahead.

While there some within our wider communities who seem to view marriage equality as the last ultimate achievement of rights for our communities, we are still a long way off before each and every one of us is truly equal. We still have so much work to do both in the political realm and in our communities, the prejudice and discrimination that comes from within is appalling.

We now have seven rainbow MPs in Parliament, five from Labour, one from the Greens and one from National. Although they all have very different visions for the future of the rainbow communities they, at least in theory, are supposed to represent our interests in Parliament.

At the very least, the presence of these MPs in Parliament increases the visibility of our communities and of the issues we seek to address. I urge you to reach out to them and let them know your concerns and expectations for change. Political involvement doesn’t stop at the voting booth.

While we have some fierce allies in Parliament, strength comes in numbers and our Rainbow MPs are, in many ways, our best chance for change at this level.

Regardless of who you voted for this election, at the end of the day we will all be governed by the same coalition.

Whether our government leans to the left or the right, we need to hold power to account. After all, a representative democracy needs to be just that, representative.

About the author

Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy

Sarah is a journalist and creative writer who has written extensively about sexuality and gender minority communities over the past five years.

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