A Queer Existence

The lives of young gay men in Aotearoa New Zealand

Mark Beehre

book cover for A Queer Existence
Title Info Sheet

Soft cover


Growing up gay in New Zealand over the past thirty years

A Queer Existence is a major documentary project that uses photographic portraiture and oral history to record the life experiences of a group of twenty-seven gay men born since the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986. In New Zealand, discrimination in work was outlawed in 1993, same-sex relationships were granted legal recognition in 2005, and marriage equality followed in 2013. In 2018 Parliament apologised to those whose lives had been blighted by criminal prosecution for expressing their sexuality.

As a result, these men have life experiences very different to earlier generations of gay New Zealand men. Even so, gay men growing up today may continue to feel stigmatised, and for many coming out is still a major hurdle. Candid, powerful and affecting, the first-person narratives of A Queer Existence form a valuable and unique insight into how gay men continue to have to step out of the main stream and face their own challenges as they forge their queer identities.

‘Twenty-seven young men have laid bare their lives, their troubles, their triumphs, themselves. They collectively, with Beehre, have created a work that will resonate with thousands of readers today and will be as compelling, and in some ways more significant, when read decades from now.’ — Malcolm McKinnon, Oral History in New Zealand

‘A Queer Existence will remain a valuable record of a moment in time. Most obviously, it will provide a resource for young men seeking experiences of comparison but it is also a fine historical record of the individual and social attitudes of the early 21st century’ — David Herkt, Kete

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  • CATEGORY: Biography and memoir, Contemporary issues, Gender and identity
  • ISBN: 9780995146570
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 09/09/2021
  • PAGE EXTENT: 344
  • FORMAT: Soft cover
Profile image for Mark Beehre

Mark Beehre initially trained as a specialist physician and worked for several years in medical practice before studying photography at the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland and Massey University