BOX Events is a recently formed Wellington group that organises female-inclusive events, starting with the Shirts and Skirts event that raised funds for Wellington Rape Crisis. Spark writer Ian Anderson interviews BOX members Leilani and Trixie.
The Spark: First off, what is BOX and how did it form?
T: I only joined after the first event. But it’s a group of queer women of colour putting on events for other queers, focused particularly on queer women.
L: It’s evolving organically. My cousin and her friends were raising issues; as far as socialising spaces go there’s not a lot for gay people, especially for women. Initially I fluffed it off, but then I met more people saying same thing. So we decided to pull together and act on it. We’re very grassroots. We’re coming up with a manifesto soon.
T: I was in the process of organising an event, but then I found BOX. Revolution Girl Style Now [BOX event] has mostly been my idea.
L: Well Trixie’s idea matched up with our ideas. After Shirts & Skirts we were talking about what’s going on in Pasifika communities, how we needed something more cutting edge and relevant. So Trixie’s idea of Revolution Girl Style matched that.
The Spark: How did your first event go?
L: It’s not a competition but I think so far, nobody’s raised as much money for Wellington Rape Crisis as we did. So I’m proud of that. We got lots of great feedback, that it’s about time women got together.
T: And Emperor’s Bathhouse is generally a male-dominated [gay] space, so it was good to get more women there.
The Spark: Why is it important to support Wellington Rape Crisis?
L: On a personal level, I’ve had to use their services in the past. It made me angry and quite sad to see they were getting cut-backs.
T: It was because of the fundraising that I realised BOX was my thing. The proceeds all went into Wellington Rape Crisis, and I’m not into profit, into more the greater cause. Wellington Rape Crisis are at a desparate point in time, and it’s a really important service.
The Spark: In interviews you’ve talked about sexual freedom, what does that mean to you?
T: Sexual freedom. To me it just means being free and safe in who you are.
L: What she said.
The Spark: What are your views on the marriage equality bill?
T: My view, personally, is that it’s a really small step toward more rights for everyone. But I think it’s only the beginning. Eventually I hope that it opens up space for more kinds of relationships to be talked about. It has so much bigger ramifications than just marriage.
L: For me personally, I don’t support the institution of marriage, but I think it’s really important for me to support the bill. We had Civil Unions which opened the door a bit, and hopefully this will open the door some more.
The Spark: What do you think needs to change about society in general?
T: I don’t know, everything?
L: What do you mean you don’t know, the system needs to change. I’m a Samoan, my people by nature are communists. I get so sick of people saying we’re failures, under a capitalist system.
The Spark: What’s next for BOX?
T: We want to keep the focus on bringing light to issues that affect the community. This one coming up will be supporting Te Whare Rokiroki [Maori women’s refuge.] We want to work with Schools Out [queer youth organisation] in future. The parties are to bring everyone together.
L: It’s a cliché, but we’re about people not profit. We’re a collective, so we all have to be on the same page. Probably for the next event, we’ll be supporting Schools Out. We need to focus on the kids, who are our future, again cliché but it’s important.
BOX Events’ next event, Revolution Girl Style Now, will be raising funds for Women’s Refuge. Their Facebook page is here (http://www.facebook.com/boxparties) and their event page is here (http://tinyurl.com/a87mdf2 ).