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Summary
Prepared for Auckland City Council
June 2008
By Jenny Rankine

INTRODUCTION

This needs assessment was commissioned by the Auckland City Council in November 2007 and involved a research review, interviews with 20 lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatapui and transgender (LGBTT) community informants, and analysis of 134 survey responses received at the Big Gay Out and through email networks. While the survey sample was small, it generated rich qualitative information.

TERMS

The report uses the acronym LGBTT to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatapui and transgender populations. Takatapui is an inclusive Maori term for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Where appropriate the acronym becomes LGBTTI to include intersex people. When talking about international populations, it leaves out one T for takatapui; overseas organisations may use other variants like GLBT or GLB.

KEY FINDINGS

This study found a major need for an LGBTT community centre in Auckland City.

COMMUNITY CENTRES OVERSEAS

Overseas community centres for LGBT populations are engines of community organising and liberation, and crucial to the health and strength of LGBT communities. There are hundreds currently operating around the world, largely but not only in industrialised countries.

The most common services offered by centres in Australia, Canada and the USA include:

Challenges for overseas community centres have included:

The concentration of LGBT people in a city is an important component of an international index of creativity developed by Richard Florida*. Florida says: "Gays predict not only the concentration of high-tech industry; they also predict its growth."

Another 2003 study by Lindsay Rea** compared Manchester, a city that ranked highly on Florida's index, with Auckland. In the 1990s, the two cities both had organised LGBT communities and inner city areas where LGBT people and businesses had clustered.

While Manchester had a local authority that supported gay community development and major events, Auckland had "with the exception of three years between 1998 and 2001 ... Mayors and Council majorities, which have refused financial and other assistance to gay activities and supported extremist homophobic positions".

LGBTT COMMUNITY CENTRES IN AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND

Five organisations currently operate some community centre functions - Rainbow Youth and OUTLines NZ in central Auckland and Te Aronga Hou Inaianei in Papatoetoe; MaLGRA - Club Q in Palmerston North; and Rainbow House Otautahi in Christchurch.

In central Auckland, the Pride Centre Trust operated under different names from 1988 to 2004 and ran an LGBTT community centre in central Auckland for 12 years from 1992.

LGBTT POPULATIONS IN THE AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL AREA

Research and evidence from informants and Auckland LGBTT services indicates that Auckland has a disproportionately large share of LGBTT people.

For example, in the 1996 and 2000 Censuses, gay couples were clustered in the central Auckland zone, particularly in the inner city suburbs of Herne Bay, St Mary's Bay, Auckland Central, Ponsonby West, Ponsonby East, Freeman's Bay, Westmere, Grey Lynn West, Grey Lynn East, Newton, Grafton, Surrey Crescent, Arch Hill, Eden Terrace, Newmarket and Kingsland***.

SOCIAL AND HEALTH NEEDS OF LGBTT PEOPLE

Heterosexism is the assumption that heterosexuality is the only or best expression of human sexuality and the stigmatising of same-sex attraction, behaviour and relationships. It is expressed in individual prejudice, organisational discrimination, harassment and violence and creates a hostile environment for LGBTT populations.

Discrimination against transgender and intersex people is often based on disgust or fear of their non-conforming gender status and the inability of social institutions to accept their right to choose their gender.

This environment creates particular social and health needs. They include:
Informants and survey respondents identified particular needs that were not met by LGBTT or mainstream organisations. They included:
LGBTT INTERACTIONS WITH AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

The history of Auckland City Council interactions with the LGBTT community is mixed. A majority of informants and three survey respondents mentioned prejudicial remarks about LGBTT people made by one or more current Council members, and saw this as an indication that LGBTT issues would receive no support at this level.

Many interviewees and some respondents mentioned "the Council's discrimination" against the Hero Parade in 1994 and the resulting Council meeting in the Town Hall that enabled the airing of extreme homophobic views.

However, several LGBTT community groups currently receive Auckland City Council funding and had very positive ongoing interactions with council staff.

RECOMMENDATIONS

This study recommends that the Auckland City Council:
In the interim:
PURPOSE AND VISION OF A COMMUNITY CENTRE

Drawing together research, informant interviews and survey responses, the purpose of a community centre could be to
OPERATIONAL ISSUES FOR A COMMUNITY CENTRE

Issues raised by informants and respondents included:
This has been a brief summary of the report. The full text is available as a PDF document on the link below.

Download Full Report - 1.3Mb (50 pages with LoRes graphics)


References:
* Florida, Richard. (2002). The rise of the creative class and how it's transforming work, leisure and everyday life. Basic Books, New York.
** Rea, Lindsey. (2003). From "cotton town" to "tinseltown". A research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Planning Practice, University of Auckland.
*** Hughes, Anthony & Saxton, Peter. (2006). Geographic micro-clustering of homosexual men: Implications for research and social policy, Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 28, 158-172.