I joined the Pride march yesterday and now as I read the comments on it today I want to deal with some of the criticism I am getting for being there, I also want to explain why it was so important to me to be there.
One of the signs I saw yesterday summed up why we need to keep protesting and have marches that raise these issues. I certainly believe that our advocacy to our Pacific neighbours is vital, we cannot turn our backs on our queer communities in the pacific, great to see it visible yesterday.
The march up Queen street was positive and celebratory, it was a real expression of community.
Of course as I walked I missed the many friends who are always part of the parades, I missed the music, the loudness, I missed the glamour and the fun……what I didn’t miss was the slight cringe factor of watching people donning rainbows and parading, conveniently forgetting that on 364 days a year they have absolutely nothing to do with the rainbow community.
The march yesterday was authentic and it was fun, I felt privileged to be part of that.
I also marched yesterday to express my support for brave authentic leadership. Cissy Rock has shouldered the huge weight of trying to bring the many voices in the community together to try and be heard as participants in Pride.
This has taken a huge personal toll and has seen vicious personal attacks on her which I know have been hard to deal with. I know how this feels and I also know how important it is to know that you have support as you try and work for the good of the community. I have huge respect for Cissy and I hope that the community will find ways to work through the current hurt and the divisions……heading off to Big Gay Out now to continue the discussions I am sure.
Penny Hulse is the Deputy Mayor of the Auckland SuperCity