Human rights and LGBTIQ+ people are under attack all over the world. In 2018, the Auckland Pride Festival and Parade will make space and march for peace, love and unity.
“As last year’s 30th anniversary of homosexual law reform reminded us, human rights – and especially LGBTIQ+ rights – have been hard won, and often against the most virulent opposition,” says the Chair of Auckland Pride, Lexie Matheson, ONZM. “Sadly, our Rainbow communities are in the firing line again.”
Trump’s America is winding back the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Chechnya is conducting a vicious programme of murder and repression. In many cultures, trans-people are stopped from being who they are. Racism, religious intolerance, and environmental vandalism are on the rise. Super powers speak the language of war. Even children worry about the future.
Close to home, Australia’s same-sex marriage debate has descended into an ugly public spectacle. In many Pacific Islands, same-sex relations between men can result in imprisonment. Bali claims to be a gay tourist mecca, while elsewhere in Indonesia, gay men are persecuted and publicly caned.
Aotearoa New Zealand stands strong as an island of relative stability and equality in a dark and stormy sea. We don’t know how lucky we are.
We’ve always been Rainbow Warriors. Woman’s Suffrage. Te Whiti’s passive resistance in Parihaka. New Zealanders have been at the forefront of change. We protested against nuclear testing in the Pacific, and went nuclear-free. We protested the Springbok Tour, and helped defeat apartheid. We marched for the freedom to love and for equality under law, and became the first country in Oceania to legalise same-sex marriage.
Now is the time to march again. Let’s turn our celebration and visibility into a beacon of hope. Show the planet that we are many voices who sing in unity. Protest peacefully about the things that matter to us. Offer an olive branch or rautapu. Set free our doves. Fly a thousand paper cranes. Claim our place in the world as proud LGBTIQ+ people, leading lights, out in front, prophets and trailblazers!
“We’re an international network, and we need to be more visible and vocal about what matters,” says Matheson. “As a nation, we need to stand up to the superpowers and say enough is more than enough! We’ve done it before and we need to do it again – for our communities, for our country, and for the planet.”
Moving forward into its sixth year, the Auckland Pride Festival is New Zealand’s largest and loudest social and cultural programme of events for our Rainbow communities – which includes people identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, takatāpui, whakawāhine, tangata ira tāne, fa’afafine, fakaleiti, akava’ine, māhū, vaka sa lewa lewa, rae rae, fiafifine, fakafifine, palopa, kathoey, hijra, baklâ, genderfluid, genderqueer, pansexual, asexual, queer and questioning – as well as our whānau, family and friends.
The 2018 Auckland Pride Festival will run for two weeks and three weekends, from Friday 2 February until Sunday 18 February, right across the Auckland region, with an incredible range of events that reflect the unique mix of cultures, sexualities and gender identities in New Zealand’s most super-diverse city.
The Festival will open with a Takatāpui Māori Dawn Ceremony on Friday 2 February, followed that evening by the glittering Auckland Pride Gala at Q Theatre on Queen Street.
Major events are already confirmed, with much-loved programmes returning to the Festival in 2018: Bear New Zealand Week will run from 6-11 February, Same Same But Different Writer’s Festival is scheduled for 9 and 10 February, the Heroic Garden Festival takes place on 10 and 11 February, and the ever-popular Ending HIV Big Gay Out returns to Coyle Park on Sunday 11 February.
The Festival’s biggest and most high-profile event, the Auckland Pride Parade will travel the length of Ponsonby Road on Saturday 17 February, followed by the hot and heavy PROUD closing party.
Festival and Parade registrations are open now on the Auckland Pride website. The full programme will be confirmed in December – and is expected to feature local and international theatre and cabaret, comedy, dance, art exhibitions, live music, film and digital media, literature, poetry, debates and discussions, drag and burlesque, youth events and workshops, sports and recreation, gardening, pets, pageants, parties – and any other activity that showcases the incredible creativity, storytelling and talent of New Zealand’s Rainbow communities!
AUCKLAND PRIDE 2018: MAJOR EVENTS AND PROGRAMMES
Bear New Zealand Week
Tuesday 6 – Sunday 11 February
Same Same But Different Writer’s Festival
Friday 9 – Saturday 10 February
Heroic Garden Festival
Friday 9 – Sunday 11 February
Ending HIV Big Gay Out
Sunday 11 February from midday
Coyle Park, Pt. Chevalier
Auckland Pride Parade
Saturday 17 February, 7.30pm