Dunedin Pride is back for 2014 and organisers are promising that it will be bigger and better than ever.
As to why festivals such as Dunedin Pride are important, Mr. Neill Ballantyne cites reports such as the Youth 07 report which show that times are still tough for LGBT young people as they come to terms with their identity in sometimes hostile environments. “It is unacceptable that same-sex attracted youth are statistically more likely to experience significant mental health concerns, such as suicidality and depression during adolescence than their opposite sex attracted counterparts.” Mr. Ballantyne said, “This is why it is important to have big, bold and public events which celebrate diversity in our communities.”
There will be a wide range of events throughout the festival, which kicks off on Tuesday 11th with an Art Exhibition opening in the Pioneer Woman’s Hall. Exhibition organiser, Dr. Lee Smith says that, “We have a diverse range of art from mature and youthful queer artists as well as their supportive allies.” Dr. Smith explains that this “combination of artists is not only representative of diversity in the queer community but also highlights the inclusive nature of Pride2014”.
A launch of the Dunedin Diversity Strategy will happen on the Friday. Neill Ballantyne who is organising the launch says, “This event is the result of a consultative hui we held last year which identified the needs of queer* people in Dunedin. We took recommendations from a range of community groups and produced this strategy which sets a framework for creating the most inclusive and affirming city in New Zealand. We already have major employers in Dunedin committing to the Charter principles and we look forward to having further input and suggestions for implementation.”
Camp Carnival is back on the Saturday and will feature food, fun and information. “We are hoping for a beautiful, sunny Dunedin summer’s day so the Octagon will be packed with people enjoying the atmosphere,” Mr. Ballantyne says. “This is a great way for people to come and show their support as well as have a great time!”
To close the festival will be the Pride 2014 Dance Party – which will be held at Fever Club, featuring a sparkly array of music and performances. The 2013 Dance Party was a sell out. Mr Ballantyne explains that, “We were completely sold out before the event, and had big lines waiting to get in last year, so we know it’s going to be another great finale!”
Article | Levi Joule