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    Living Legends in New Zealand: The Topp Twins

    topp“It’s just another highway/Just another road-side café/ It’s just another airport/Just another train stop away/It’s just another milestone/On a long travelling day/ And how does the grass grow on your side/ of the fence?/And how does the moon shine on your side/of the world?”

    The Topp Twins, Lyrics from Milestones

    New Zealand Songwriters, Performers, and Comedians (1981-    )

    In the Topp Twins’ world of New Zealand, the moon shines brightly on the recent marriage of Lynda Topp and long-time partner, Donna Luxton. They were featured on the cover of the New Zealand Woman’s Day in March 2013. It was the first gay cover on a women’s magazine in New Zealand ever. And, on Wednesday, April 18, in New Zealand, the New Zealand Parliament voted in favor of Louisa Wall’s bill to allow gay marriage.

    The Topp Twins, born in 1981 in small-town rural Huntly, have done a lot to neutralize the opprobrium against LGBT Kiwis and to lighten the mood of New Zealanders. They poke good-natured fun at farmers, socialites, Girl Guide camp leaders and bar stool warmers with their myriad, well-received caricatures.

    From the highest-grossing documentary in NZ history, The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, to one of the most popular television comedy shows, Lynda and Jools Topp have stood up and been counted at every major turn in recent New Zealand history – from protesting nuclear testing and the French bombing of the Greenpeace boat to their fights against breast cancer and for gay marriage in New Zealand. Of the gay marriage bill, Lynda Topp said, “Everybody should be able to stand up and say, ‘I’m getting married.’ A Civil Union is demeaning, this idea that you will never be good enough, that your love is somehow less or not as worthy. There’s no romance to it.”

    Jools Topp was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2006 at the age of 48. Already breast cancer activists, the Topp Twins now use their celebrity status to educate the public about the disease.

    Spanning 30 years of songwriting and singing, the two girls who started as buskers in Auckland in flannel shirts and jeans, rose to be New Zealand icons, a phrase in a song they wrote to honor their farm-working mother. Winners of every New Zealand music award, the twins were awarded honorary doctorates by Waikato University. Like many true artists, they only come out with a CD when they feel the material is ready, so their last three CDs were spaced far apart: Grass Highway (2000), Flowergirls & Cowgirls (2005) and Honky Tonk Angel (2009).

    These yodeling, fun-loving twins are living legends from the first country to grant women the right to vote and from the first small country to refuse nuclear testing in their region’s waters. From the bottom of the world, with this week’s gay marriage vote to make New Zealand the first country in the Asia Pacific to legalize gay marriage, the Topp Twins must be sitting on top of the world.