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Posted by Diversityworks on 8 February 2012, 5:50 pm in , , ,

Director contributes chapters to books on faggots and social change

Diversityworks Trust Director Philip Patston has chapters in two books that will be launched in the next few weeks.

The first book, to be launched in San Fancisco on 14 February, is "Why are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?" The book "challenges not just the violence of straight homophobia but the hypocrisy of mainstream gay norms that say the only way to stay safe is to act straight: get married, join the military, adopt kids! Compiled by trans-activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, it reinvokes the anger, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in gay subcultures in order to create something dangerous and lovely: an exploration of the perils of assimilation; a call for accountability; a vision for change."

Patston's chapter, entitled "Fluidity is the New Diversity", discusses his experience of disability in the gay community. He says, "It leads me to believe that the fear, on both sides, is not so much of the disability factor, but rather of the need to communicate about the difference and allow this new shared experience to deepen the relationship. It takes trust, respect, strength and a whole lot of faith to have what are unusual and, sometimes, difficult conversations. It means letting go of expectations and traveling into the unknown. 

"Now, more than ever before, we need to be considering more fluid spectra of diversity, sexuality and identity, which includes disability — or, more specifically, the “functional diversity” through which we move in, out and around during our life time.

"Lets call it fluidity.

"Fluidity is about uniqueness and commonality, similarity and difference. It's about how to believe in ourselves, especially when others don't quite understand us. Fluidity is about self-awareness, communication, inquiry, exploration. It's about the dialectic of certainty and confusion, knowing and not knowing. It's about recognizing fear and meeting it, head on, with love and peace."

The second book is "How Communities Heal", by vivian Hutchinson and the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, of which Patston was a member. The book "tells the unique stories of a group of New Zealand social entrepreneurs, and their work to create systemic and sustainable solutions to New Zealand’s social challenges. [It] seeks to foster social innovation in New Zealand by highlighting and promoting the particular variety of leadership that brings insight, entrepreneurship and practical hope into our communities."  

Patston's chapter, "Adding Diversity to Common Sense", draws comparisons between disability and other change movements. “Take women’s or indigenous people’s health initiatives, for example ... the services got better when the people being served took more control. The way that disability support services are provided is predominantly from a commonly functioning perspective and does not meet many of our basic, let alone higher, needs. We need to affirm the fact that we can and will plan, assess, deliver, fund and evaluate services which meet our own needs, in a way that suits our lifestyle and culture."

"How Communities Heal" will be launched in Auckland on 20 February.

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