Mark Beehre, "A Queer Existence: The Lives of Young Gay Men in Aotearoa New Zealand" (Massey University, 2021)


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Today I talk to Mark Beehre about his new book, A Queer Existence, published by Massey University Press New Zealand 2021.

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 mainstream and face their own challenges as they forge their queer identities.

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. If you want to explore the fantastic work by Mark Beehre, please visit

Ed Amon is a Master of Indigenous Studies Candidate at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a columnist at his local paper: Hibiscus Matters, and a Stand-up Comedian. His main interests are indigenous studies, politics, history, and cricket. Follow him on twitter @edamoned or email him at

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