The Asia-Pacific Outgames look set to be a highlight of Auckland’s 2016 calendar. The Outgames board, made up of Paul Heard, Phylesha Brown-Acton, Prue Kapua, Martin King and Kerry Underhill, collectively tell express what we can expect from the event.
What is the purpose of the Outgames?
To bring together GLBT people from the Asia-Pacific region to celebrate and achieve in sport, culture, and human rights. The Outgames are inclusive and open to all, regardless of sexual orientation.
In your view, will there always be a place for an event such as the Outgames?
Absolutely! Sport plays an important role bringing people together and encouraging inclusion and participation. The Outgames is also a key forum to discuss and advance GLBT human rights in the Asia-Pacific region. It is very important for communities who share interests to come together and discuss their own issues amongst friends.
What are the biggest challenges an event such as the Outgames faces?
Too many fabulous people in the one city at the same time!
On a more serious note, in a small country with many different interest groups and voluntary organisations, raising funds, engaging volunteers and winning public support are our biggest challenges.
How significant is it to the GLBT community in New Zealand that Auckland will be hosting the next Outgames?
For many GLBT people in the Asia-Pacific region, there is still not full legal protection or the enjoyment of equal human rights. Through inclusion in sports, and through an equal emphasis on the Human Rights Forum, Auckland can lead by example in the Asia-Pacific GLBT community.
Auckland has a reinstated celebration of our community through the Pride Festival, and with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act we are at the forefront internationally for GLBT human rights. However, our community still faces significant issues – lack of access by GLBT youth to health services, the lack of protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and adoption laws following on from marriage equality – these are examples of issues which need to be discussed openly in the Human Rights Forum.
What is your vision for the next Outgames?
To have a spectacular week of fun and camaraderie that captures the imagination and support of all New Zealanders. We want the Auckland Outgames to celebrate and reflect Auckland’s diversity, and to demonstrate strong Maori and Pasefika elements which are Auckland’s point of difference on the international stage.
What are some of the ways that the local GLBT community can be involved?
We want the organisation of the Outgames to include as many people from across the community as possible. There are lots of ways to be involved – as a volunteer, a sponsor, a competitor or as a registrant.
We are encouraging people to come along to our Launch event on Saturday 6 December 2014 at the Viaduct Events Centre, where they can learn more about becoming involved and pre-register for the Outgames.
Article | Levi Joule