Pride, In the Name of Love

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Why Auckland Pride is still relevant.

First there was Hero and now Pride. Auckland has now hosted two Pride Festivals and planning for the third, to be held in 2015, is already underway. Many older members of the rainbow community question it’s relevance now that we have gained equal rights here in Aotearoa. “Why is it still necessary?” they ask, “We’ve achieved everything we were fighting for.” All the more reason to celebrate, I say!

Yes, those of us with greying hair, may have done the hard yakka and fought for Homosexual Law Reform (1986), Civil Unions (2004) and, finally, Marriage Equality (2013) and we should feel proud of our achievements, but just because the war is won is no reason to prevent a new generation from celebrating the fact that they are Out, Loud and Proud.

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Surely that is what Pride is, a celebration! A celebration for young and old, it is an affirmation that we are special and we’re here to stay.

Pride, in all it’s glory and across all of it’s varied activities, from the Parade, through to LYC Big Gay Out and finally the Party to end all parties is our chance to show off, to be seen, to be embraced by ourselves and the general population. 

If nothing else, Pride can have a profound impact on GLBTI teens and young adults, who may be questioning, or struggling with their sexuality.

For many a teenager their first experience of being in a safe environment, in a large gathering of non-straights is LYC Big Gay Out at Coyle Park. How exciting and affirming that must be. Why would you want to take that away from them?

To the naysayers and cynics, I say, “Get over yourselves. If you don’t want to participate in Pride, don’t. No one is forcing you to. But don’t spend all your time badmouthing people who organise events or activities, or the people who participate in them. Unlike you they want to celebrate the fact they are fabulous.”

The fact that the crew of Auckland’s top rating breakfast show includes Mike Puru, an openly gay man, is testament to how far we have come as a country.

Mike is out and proud and it is a pleasure to have him and his co-hosts gracing the cover of our July issue of express. It is a celebration.

If I hear anyone from my generation banging on about how easy the kids have it these days I will scream. Yes, it’s a damn sight easier for them than it was for us, but “coming out“ is still “coming out,” bullying is still bullying, bigotry is still bigotry and violence is still violence.

We have to look out for each other, young and old.

We have to celebrate who we are.

I can’t wait for the next Pride Festival. It can’t come soon enough!

 Article | Paul Rose. Photo | Patric Seng

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