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Friday 30 June 2017

Wgtn locals encouraged to join rainbow history tour

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 10th March 2017

The Wellington Pride Chair is encouraging locals to learn more about the sexuality and gender diverse histories of the capital.

Maoritanga - Scenes from Maori Life, Carmen. Westra, Ans (photographer), 1970s, Wellington
The first of four Rainbow History walking tours took place on the first Saturday of the festival, attracting a diverse crowd although locals were not heavily represented in the group.

Adrienne Girling says the most unexpected moment was how many Canadians there were taking Saturday’s tour. “More than half of the participants were Canadian, including me!” she says, mentioning that “It seems so common to learn the history of a city or country as a tourist rather than of the place you are from!”

While the tour welcomes people from all backgrounds, Girling says she would encourage more kiwis and Wellingtonians to learn about the rich rainbow history of the capital and hear the many stories being shared.

“I really believe that it is important that we know the history of where we came from as a community, globally, nationally and locally,” she says. “This history is what binds us together, connects across generations, and gives us empathy for other marginalised groups. It reminds us of the struggles we've faced and strides we've made, and shows us what we still need to do to improve things for LGBTIQ people.

“We also learn about the people in our community who have fought for us (in the past and present), for our rights and safety.”

With an important history waiting to be told, Girling says “The tour brought to life the colourful history of the LGBTIQ community in Wellington, from where Carmen Rupe's cabaret nightclub Le Balcon stood in the early 70s to where the Lesbian and Gay Rights Resource Centre was and about the fire that took the resource centre during the Law Reform struggle.

“We learned about history that often doesn't get told, about Katherine Mansfield's relationships with women, about a local gay couple who met when they fought in WWI, as well as the erasure of our LGBTIQ history in some of our museums.”

Upcoming tours:

Saturday 4 March 1pm - 2.30pm
Saturday 11 March 1pm - 2.30pm
Saturday 18 March 1pm - 2.30pm

Meeting outside the main entrance to City Gallery in Civic Square. No bookings necessary.

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