Codee MacDonald believes the Pride Board are trying to protect the most marginalised and vulnerable in our community and feels we should all be united with them.
On the 9th of November, The Auckland Pride Board announced the decision that they would be banning NZ Police/Corrections from wearing their uniform while walking in the Auckland Pride Parade. The Media frenzy and opinions that would follow was made up of a vile mix of assumptions, incorrect information, poor communication, and self-interested viewpoints.
A discussion that has been going on for numerous years finally came to a compromise, and the Auckland pride board justified their decision in a very brief statement – ‘as an institution [NZ Police] do not currently meet the degree of safety and awareness of intersectionality required by our rainbow communities.’ As somebody who has witnessed and debated the involvement of NZ Police & Corrections over the years, I instantly understood that this was related to the relationship between trans people (Especially trans-POC (People of colour)) and their current relationship with NZ police. Apparently, a majority of the community did not.
On the 12/11, the AM show featured a piece about the issue, led by Aziz Al-Sa’afin (an openly gay, cisgender male). In the piece, he discussed the issue with his three straight, cisgender co-hosts, labelling the Pride boards brief statement as ‘bollocks’. Duncan Garner followed by describing the decision makers as ‘precious wee sausages.’, closely followed by Mark Richardson throwing around the word ‘intolerant’.
In a follow-up opinion article on Newshub.co.nz, Aziz was quoted as saying that ‘the ‘some’ that had expressed concern was not ‘all’’ and that ‘they do not speak for me, they do not speak for my friends, and quite frankly, they do not speak for the entire LGBTQI Community’.
This is where we run into issues. As a community, we are a minority, made up of minority’s, that are taking a ‘Majority rules’ approach. A large subgroup within a community does not define or represent a small subgroup, especially when those two subgroups have very different experiences. In this decision, the Auckland pride board is attempting to send a message on behalf of an underrepresented subgroup. To dismiss this decision as ‘Bollocks’ based on your own perceptions and experiences with police, does not mean you are speaking for the entire community, it means you are speaking on behalf of gay, cisgender men.
The unfortunate reality is that trans and queer people currently make up a small portion of our community so naturally, trans issues are often dismissed or seen as small. Because of this, A ‘majority rules’ approach is in no way productive. To dismiss the marginalisation of a subgroup of our community is marginalisation in itself. Especially when this decision has been made with this subgroup in mind.
Pride as a celebration is a space that should be enjoyed by our entire community, not just a majority. As Gay, cisgender men, it’s high time we check our privilege and start to look at things from a ‘community’ perspective rather than a ‘gay’ perspective. Let’s rally together and stand for those that have fought with, and even for us, in the past.
- Codee MacDonald is an Art Director and creative that works with large NZ brands and not for profit organisations in creating nationwide campaigns.