Island Life by David Slack


Go hard or go home

Now, about that lesbian censorship and a free gym offer.

Let's start with a few easy stretches. Richard Beddie of Fitness NZ writes that his organisation aims to get 1,000 more New Zealanders physically active. By way of inducement, they'll subsidise your gym membership by 50%. If you have a BMI in the high 20s, but your wallet's looking a bit thin, this may be your lucky day. Find a gym, see if it's in the scheme and, you know, just do it . Details here

And so to Wellington, where you'd think a lesbian would get a fair shake from the daily paper, but no! You may have noticed a recent report about a retirement community for lesbians of advancing years.

The story opens with the news that women interested in setting up a lesbian-only rest home in Wellington will hold meetings in the city next month to gauge support.

The idea comes from Arafelle Oné, who founded a lesbian community in the Far North more than 25 years ago. She still lives there. "Many of us . . . have dreamed about . . . living together in an old dykes home later in life," Ms Oné told "Well, life is getting later very rapidly now and where are the old dykes homes?"

And it quotes Susan Bartel (who threw a fine 100th anniversay celebration for the School Journal at the National Library last week).

Wellington lesbian Susan Bartel, 64, and her partner said an "old dykes home" was a great idea. "Lorraine and I have laughingly discussed with our friends the idea of buying an inner-city apartment or derelict old club where we could all retire together. We have called it The Wilted Lily."

She was concerned about the rules that might be imposed at a lesbian-only rest home. "Could our sons visit? Could we have a party there with our widely diverse range of friends from all sorts of sexual and political persuasions? Could I still wear lipstick?"

Sadly - and you may find this hard to believe of modern journalism, but it's true - she was misquoted. So she dashed off a letter to the editor to set the matter, so to speak, straight. Equally sadly, it seems the DomPost was short of space. Not to worry. We have plenty here.

Dear Editor

Through your letters, would you please let my non-lesbian friends know that I was misquoted in the article about lesbian rest homes (page A13, 4 July). Our shared vision for the ''Wilted Lily'' retirement home has never been lesbian-exclusive.

While I applaud Ms One's idea for setting up a network of lesbian retirement communities, the concept has never been one that my partner and I would consider. I'd also like my straight and gay male friends to know that there might even be room for some of them in the 'Wilted Lily''. One man friend suggested that the guys' wing could be called the ''Tilted Willy''.

Susan Bartel

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