Last night Mahuki, Te Papa’s innovation hub, welcomed Friends to explore Pride in Aotearoa with 3 fascinating guest speakers from the LGBTQIA+ community. Will Hansen, from the Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand (LAGANZ), gave a summarised timeline of pride history in Aotearoa. Will discussed the incorrect myth of the Stonewall riots being the spark for gay pride in New Zealand. Will then spoke about Georgia Beyer, who was the first trans woman in the world to become a mayor and later a member of parliament. Georgia was shockingly sexually assaulted and brutalised by a group of men. Will then explained the trend of ‘pink-washing’, where corporations and government institutions show up at Pride, wearing rainbow stickers decorated with company logos, despite not implementing pro-queer policies to match or changing things at their core to empower queer people.

Kate Aschoff, a volunteer from youth organisation InsideOUT, spoke about the support that InsideOUT gives to make Aotearoa a safer place for minority gender and sexuality youth. Kate discussed the ways that schools are trying to make their environments a safer place for everyone, even in religious schools. Kate openly answered guest’s questions on how InsideOUT support youth within Wellington schools, explaining that they work within Wellington high schools to provide groups and support for students with diverse sexualities, sexes and genders by fostering the building and provision of resources, education, information and relevant tools to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of youth.

Drew Hadwen, Wellington Pride Festival Director, described the first Devotion Parade festival that he attended and recalled the great memories that he had. Drew’s excitement for the LGBTQIA+ community shone through when speaking about his fabulous experience in February 1995 on Courtney Place at Wellington’s first Devotion Parade. Every colour of the rainbow attended and was represented at the parade. Out, loud and proud, not quite ten years since the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform in Aotearoa. Just over a year later, Drew walked in Wellington’s first Pride Parade. Drew’s passion for seeing people from all communities, their friends, family and allies celebrating together shows that celebrating wins.

Wellington Pride Festival 2019 is set to be one of the greatest Pride festivals Wellington has ever seen with 128 events over the 17 days. Though, we were asked to remember that Pride isn’t just for 17 days of the year as rainbow issues aren’t just for those 17 days of the year.

Sydney Pollock

Communications Coordinator