30 Queer Lives reviewed by David Hartnell


30 Queer Lives: Conversations with LGBTQIA+ New Zealanders appeared in David Hartnell's Gossip Column. He says:

‘I first met Matt several years ago when he interviewed Somboon and I for the Grey Lynn book, which was a huge success. Matt is a stylish man with a great command of the English language. He hopes his book will encourage empathy and understanding, challenges stereotypes of what a queer life can be, and offers courage and hope to people struggling in their own lives.

His book explores the lives, struggles and successes of LGBTQIA+ New Zealanders. 30 Queer Lives is proudly published by Massey University Press in February 2022.

Throughout its 325 pages it explores the lives of LGBTQIA+ New Zealanders from all walks of life — politics, farming, business, elite sport and the arts — and all parts of the country. Together, their stories encourage empathy and understanding, challenge stereotypes and offer courage and hope. As he explains in his preface, it’s exactly the sort of book Matt wished had existed when he was growing up. Instead, bookstores and the shelves of the school library mostly offered books in the sports-hero genre, which made many in the queer community feel out of place — as if they weren’t “real New Zealanders”. “For all there is to celebrate, there remains much to fight for. Queer people are more likely to suffer from isolation, we are over-represented in mental health and suicide numbers, and some of us are still pushed away from our families as we simply attempt to live authentic lives,” says McEvoy. 30 Queer Lives serves as a corrective, a unique platform for first-person stories without interpretation or commentary. The LGBTQIA+ suicide rate is five times higher than the rest of New Zealand, and if this book finds its way into the right hands it may even save lives.

On a personal note: I found each and every personal story in the book, extremely moving.’