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Author Topic: Less Than Proud -  (Read 144 times)

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Offline Mister_G

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Less Than Proud -
« on: 23 Feb 16, 09:25:am »
This year’s Pride Parade was promoted as a celebration. It’s been 30 years since homosexual law reform when our community gained a basic human right. I remember being on the marches and walking down Queen Street along with my friends being yelled at and spat on. I never thought 30 years later I’d be at a Pride Parade and driven to yell in anger at participants as they passed by.

I’ve always embraced change and was prepared for the high level of corporate involvement in the parade, but this year there was that last straw, the one float that broke the camel’s back- that blatant crossing of the line subverting the purpose of the event.

True, I couldn’t relate to the happy throngs dancing to the succession of foreign-owned banks. Although, I’m sure their sponsorship made the parade possible. I’m sure Ribena’s well-posed interview on TVNZ news with the sponsor’s logo clear in frame (and matching her outfit!) was all part of getting into the spirit of the event.

Not drinking Coke, I couldn’t relate to the sugar-powered cola crew dancing to a “DJ” playing the latest Coke theme as it blasted out repeatedly along the parade route.

Poor AirNZ seemed confused too, choosing instead to celebrate its own 75th birthday (#airnzpride) with a looping theme tune so loud it could be heard in the regional communities it has deemed too unprofitable to fly to anymore.

It wasn’t the string of tertiary institutions fresh from their rounds of redundancies and restructuring, their cut backs of student services and funding for arts courses that bothered me most.

I even managed to cope with all the political parties being proud to be there, some more deservedly than others. The loudest of them all (and historically the least supportive of our community) drowning out the Body Positive float and the Pasifika performers behind them. Too bad Max was in Aussie with his dad. Perhaps he could DJ for them next year?

It was great to see the armed services present and to see that times had changed so much that they were keen to promote the military as a career choice. The police came out in force both on and off the field, with their dogs, and horses and cute remote cars, marching alongside the Minister of Police and Corrections. That brought back a few memories of the 80’s.
Here I did have to question why the Minister of Corrections was allowed to march when members of the queer community had indicated that they would be protesting the treatment of transgender prisoners on her watch. But hey, we know Judith loves a scrap and the publicity that goes with it. Why, may I ask, was she the given opportunity here?

While that did seriously disturb me, the last and final straw was a float from yet another foreign-owned corporation, Fletcher Building. A company making the most of the Special Housing Area legislation, developing several disputed and controversial sites here in Auckland, shielded from the need of consultation or consent.  A company who will take massive profits by building hundreds of houses and effectively destroying one of Auckland’s oldest communities while desecrating archaeologically significant land on the border of Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.

This is not what we marched for. Have we lost a celebration of our human rights by stealth? The parade seems to have become a platform for corporate and governmental public relations - a place where you can buy the illusion of social responsibility. It’s become The PR Parade.

(Historical information on the stone fields can be found here