Post Parade

February 18, 2013 in General

Queer Auckland took to the streets to show our pride on Saturday, and it was a lot of fun.

It is obviously not such an important event as yet, as the Prime Minister didn’t bother to cut a ribbon, but we got David Shearer and others from Labour and Kevin Hague from the Greens. The Catholic  Mayor of the city, who considers being gay “a lifestyle choice” was there eager to hoover up some PR.
Was it good to be back after 12 years away?
Yes it was, definitely.
I marched with the Bears from Urge, and it was a lot of fun walking down Ponsonby Road with a group of handsome men, being led in our impromptu cheer of “1 2 3 WOOF!” at hot guys in the crowd. Some of the straight boys loved it, some didn’t seem to appreciate the compliment so much.
I have to say an hour beforehand Ponsonby Rd was looking very empty, and the crowd that did show up in the end was tiny compared to what we used to have. 30,000 seems to be the accepted figure. Things filled up by 4, the start time, but there were still patches along the street with practically nobody standing there, which was a shame. Given the heat though, you wouldn’t have wanted 100,000 like we used to get – it would have been unbearable.
The GABA Glamstand didn’t look full to over-flowing either, but those who were there looked like they were having fun.
At work today friends and colleagues said they hadn’t really heard about it, there was no advertising, and that 4pm was the wrong time. I think they’re right on both points. It was pretty much all over by 5:30 or so, and then what? A lot of people said it needs to be held at night again, and they’re right.
But the vibe from the crowd was great. The reception we got was overwhelmingly positive, and there was such a sense of genuine good-nature and happiness that we were back. Pulling a parade together in such a short time was a lot of work, and it’s a good start for the next one.
Does that mean everything about the parade was fabulous?
No, it doesn’t.
There was a distinctly amateur feel to most of the floats. And drag queens never look that great in the harsh daylight, and it was a very sunny day indeed. Who knew we had a Gay Wakeboarding Association? I still don’t entirely believe they exist …
I didn’t understand why a straight woman who has HIV was using our queer parade to sell her book, good cause, wrong place.
I waited for “the Remembrance Float” to come by that we had been promised would be wonderful and moving, and I didn’t see it. I was later told it was the one with GALS on and the white drapery, but it looked kinda boring, a whole lot of people singing inaudibly and from where I stood by the side of the road there was no indication that it was “the Remembrance Float” at all. I certainly wasn’t moved by it.
And no real mention of HIV/AIDS anywhere – the one thing that has done the most damage to our community over the last 30 years got marked by a few cursory red ribbons in white drapery.
It was a lot of fun though. I had a lot of fun.
But let’s face it –  there was no Wow! factor anywhere, no pzazz, and no glamour. It was fun, it was nice, inoffensive, bland and devoid of anything political.
So devoid in fact that the organiser took it upon himself to invite a radio shock-jock known for his homophobic comments along. A stupider idea I haven’t heard in a while. Stupid comments like this guy has made, as dumb and harmful as the Prime Minister’s “Red shirts are gay” comment, undermine everything we have fought for, and only expose the most vulnerable from our communities to more fear and shame. You’d think a Pride Parade would work to foster our pride, not undermine it this way.
The Marching Boys got an A for effort, but obviously hadn’t had quite enough time to get their routine down, and they needed way more guys in there to make it look effective.
As one mate said “If this was Timaru, it’d get a 10 out of 10, if it was Sydney, a 3.”
I heard some Ponsonby queens saying we don’t really need this sort of thing now as everything is fine.
They are wrong. Do you regularly hold your partner’s hand on the bus or walking through a shopping mall, do you stand on a busy beach on a summer evening hugging and kissing each other like all the straight couples around you do?  Until we can do that with the same ease and comfort we are not equal.
Until we don’t have to pretend to be different from who we are for our own safety, we are not equal.
So events like this parade are important – they give us visibility, they show to others that we exist and we’re part of the world. They show those who are in fear that there are alternatives to a life of lies and shame.
It was a fun day, a great start, it had problems, and that is probably inevitable, but as a first step back it’s something to celebrate.
The crowd of people watching is what made it for me – there weren’t that many, but they were so welcoming, so positive, that even with all the flaws, you’d have to say it was a good time.
Congratulations to everyone who made it happen – it takes more guts than you’d think to do it.
Just put it back on at night when we can really show them something amazing!
Edir: The Defense Force was fantastic !
Post Parade

18 Comments

    1. sonfordog says:

      thats the thing you see, when people like right side condone gay as an insult the problem is that when others get banned from a site like gaynz for standing up for what they believe in then MA comes on line and expresses hate for gays despite being gay it makes you enjoy this parade then that radio host dom comes in and right side supports his homophobic act

    2. sonfordog says:

      but I get banned

    3. sonfordog says:

      why am i banned from this site neil?

    4. bruce says:

      simple….. neil lost the plot a long time ago, and he is the main reason for the demise of the site (apart from the fact that the whole thing is an anachronism)

    5. sonfordog says:

      anyway the parade looked like a boring PG fest, with every politician and his dog there trying to scab votes, everything i don’t enjoy about society really, can’t wait for the party! have some real fun

    6. sonfordog says:

      politicans and children aren’t gonna be at the party right? its r18 with loud music so if if politicians decide to open their chatty mouths they just won’t be heard right? and it will be business as usual in the toilets correct?

    7. sonfordog says:

      id just like to say you’re a bitch neil, you said you’d review my ban last year , and said you’d get back to me with a decision in the new year, u didn’t even get back to me u rude fuck FUCK U NEIL FOR BANNING ME FROM THIS SITE, u discriminator.

    8. sonfordog says:

      why’d u ban me for neil?

    9. sonfordog says:

      has anyone got neils contact number, i want to ring his cell phone because he won’t respond to my emails.

    10. HART says:

      Umm the way your acting seems like a good reason to ban you don’t you think. Abusing the man who cut you from the site will not get you back on. And numerous post one after the other is just annoying.

      • sonfordog says:

        I haven’t abused neil, ur definition of abuse is different to mine HART, you’re a fucking asshole HART, u and neil are both pieces of shit

    11. Samuel says:

      Michael, a very good summary. Thank you! I have to say your description rather chimes with the contents of the (excellent) video created by Andrew White (GayTalkTonight).

      And as someone who doesn’t know Auckland and who lives in Europe, I would like also to say that the dominance of drag queens in New Zealand gay life (and on this website) seems peculiar to me. It seems that drag queens are the dominant faces of the gay scene in New Zealand. I don’t think that’s healthy. Obviously we have drag queens here in Europe too, but they’re a tiny minority and they don’t get to represent the gay community, to be “the face” of the gay community.

      All very strange. But if drag queens are what the gay scene is all about in New Zealand, then fine. I guess that’s your right and your own culture.

      • Hi Samuel, and thanks for that – Andrew does wonderful work. And yes, for some reason drag is very strong here, I don’t know why exactly, it is fun, but like anything, too much of it and it gets stale and boring.

    12. silverreply says:

      I’d like to give an opinion, if I may. I must admit, I wasn’t actually at the parade, but I’ve seen all the photos, I have a pretty good idea about what it would have been like. This opinion is coming from a gay white male in his mid 20′s, to give you an idea of my demographic, and I have spoken to many people of my generation who feel the same way. I strongly feel like the focus on sex/sexual promiscuity in these sorts of ‘gay-themed things’ (it’s late and I can’t think of a better term to sum everything up with) is more damaging than beneficial. The dancing boys in gold hot pants (there are similar boys at every gay themed event – I should know because I have been one myself on several occasions), the bears woofing at hot men, the abundance of free condoms (please don’t get me wrong, promoting safe sex is very important), the drag queens’ typical comments peppered with crude puns and overt sexuality… it makes me wonder; what are we trying to tell people about the gay community? I looked at gaynz.com today and, on the home page alone, you have “hook up tonight at lateshift – NZ’s biggest busiest horniest cruise club”, an advertisement for a naked and underwear party (orgies), “free condoms and lube!”, an ad for Family Bar, a selection of (let’s face it) tacky photos from various clubs on a repeated slideshow. The way we present ourselves to the wider public directly affects people’s opinion of us. Some say that we shouldn’t care about their opinion. We should just be ourselves, and screw the haters, right? I don’t agree. We are trying to rally support, to make people see that we are just like them, sexuality is not a big issue, we are real people, not defined by the gender of the person that we sleep with/love. A least, that’s what I try and do. I can’t speak for anyone else. By promoting this overly sexualised view of the gay community, we are telling people that this is all we stand for. We stand for sex. Period. I think this is completely against what we (or at least, I) am trying to achieve, especially when it’s part of events like the Pride Parade and the Big Gay Out which are advertised as family friendly events, which many children attend. It’s a typical case of trying to achieve intergration by completely separating ourselves from the wider community. I think that a more subtle approach would be a lot more effective. Lets stop looking at sexuality as a way of defining ourselves, and seeing it as one small part of ourselves. An important part, to be sure, but still just a part of a wider whole. Lets take ourselves more seriously. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me. That’s cool, but there are also people who do, and I think it’s an important issue to raise.

      *Disclaimer – I’m not saying that there is no place for all the sex-related stuff. Of course there is. We’re human, sex is important to most of us. But plenty of non-gay themed events (most events in Auckland, the santa parade, xmas in the park, Laneway, Big Day Out to name a few) don’t have a strong emphasis on sex. Some do, sure, but most don’t. I don’t see why it should be any different for gay-themed events.

      • sonfordog says:

        silverreply, I actually think the parade was far too PG, I think it should of been more raunchier and sexier!

        • Shane says:

          silverreply, I was pleased to read your line “I looked at gaynz.com today and, on the home page alone, you have “hook up tonight at lateshift – NZ’s biggest busiest horniest cruise club”, an advertisement for a naked and underwear party (orgies)”. This reminded me that about a year ago I tweaked Adblocker to make sure that I don’t see a bunch of horny sex-based ads whenever I go to the front page of the site to find the NEWS! However, I can’t kill the diary section, and I agree it’s not impressive to see there that there are orgies lined up.

          And I agree with you about sex-based angle being too strong in the Pride parade. If there are Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel just being there, just marching, just being themselves, but obviously gay, then why can’t there be fifty gardeners who are gay, fifty classical musicians who are gay, fifty accountants who are gay, and so on, and may half a dozen priests who are gay.

          That would create such a better impression than conveying the notion that to be gay is to be hedonistic and wild.

        • silverreply says:

          sonfordog, I know you’re just being facetious (at least, I assume), but it’s actually a really big issue for a lot of people, so perhaps a less light-hearted approach would be more ideal. It’s that sort of attitude that gives people a negative and degrading opinion of the gay community. So cheers for supporting the stereotype.

Post Parade

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