Dicks in the Parade
I didn’t actually go to Saturday’s Pride Parade in Auckland. This wasn’t an intentional snub but I figured if the parade was anything like the Santa Parade, then it wasn’t going to be very good. By ‘anything like the Santa Parade’ I mean it was about anything but Santa and likewise the Pride Parade was about anything but pride. (Also I had a sore throat and I was watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia 2014 at my Mum’s house.)
When I was younger, my sister, my cousin, a family friend and I went to the Hero Parade. The Hero Parade was exciting and thrilling. I wasn’t even old enough to really understand and enjoy the parade, I was just excited to be in town at night. But even then I was aware it was a more sincere celebration of the different personalities that existed within Auckland. It just seemed less filtered and for some reason less dangerous to be whoever it was you wanted to be. I don’t recall seeing any ANZ or Westpac floats. If the inclusion is to prove that lesbian, gay, transgender etc people have bank accounts just like normal people…well, umm. What the inclusion does blatantly pronounce in is that the LGBT Queer community, however named, has been infiltrated by Capitalist ventures and ideals. These ventures are successfully buying into a burgeoning community. It seems ironic that the Pride Parade is also held in Ponsonby – with an infamous history of driving out the less economically plentiful population through political tyranny.
The events that occurred before, during and after the Pride Parade have been gaining considerable press. The Reuben Paterson glitter bedazzled Ponsonby located ‘GAYTM’ was ‘vandalised’ and purposely covered in paint. This act has since been addressed in a brilliantly worded letter to Hashtag 500 Words. During the parade itself, a queer Māori trans woman was brutally interrogated by police and unnecessarily assaulted by Pride Parade security staff. The woman was one of several people attempting to peacefully protest the involvement of uniformed Police and corrections officers in the parade. Wonder if this act was discriminatory on the basis of both ethnicity and gender identity.
The danger I mentioned earlier, the threat of actual physical safety and identity based prejudice seems to be prevalent nowadays. This is because the danger is legally condoned and then socially silently condoned by the victim’s own community. The threat is both invisible and forthright at the same time, in that the some of the once marginalised now seem to operate on a heteronormative gentrified system, regardless of sexual orientation. Even the presence of the National Party seems like a big fucking joke. It seemed like some people did enjoy themselves though. The inclusion of Art galleries in the parade; namely the Artspace float, seems to be one of the only redeeming qualities of the Pride Parade. Meanwhile though, there is one Māori trans woman getting manhandled and her arm severely broken and there are a bunch of issues that are being ignored. In doing so, these actions are condoned, by the people who are blind to this parade of hypocrisy.