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Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks: Dicks in the Parade

Part six

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.

Natasha Matila-Smith



  1. Xmas is historically a magic mushroom festival.
    Siberian shaman wore red and white silk costumes, gave out red and white amanita muscaria mushrooms, dried the mushrooms in low hanging pine tree branches and in socks hanging near the fireplace, peace and goodwill, rosy red cheeks, ho ho ho!!
    Rudolph the red nose reindeer: reindeer would snuffle the snowy ground to find and eat buried red and white amanita mushrooms, the red color rubbing off on their noses.
    History = his story
    Even valentines day is now a commercial farce.
    And people with anxiety, depression, homosexuality, psychosis, ADHD and aspergers syndrome need curing with psychologists diagnoses and psychotropic medication.
    Cure my ass!
    Ba humbug!

  2. “What the inclusion does blatantly pronounce in is that the LGBT Queer community, however named, has been infiltrated by Capitalist ventures and ideals.”

    Genuine question: am I allowed to hold “capitalist” ideals and be gay, or not? The protestors complained of “pinkwashing” on behalf of ANZ for co-opting gay “culture” (I don’t think a sexuality can have a culture, but moving on). Surely the protestors can be accused of “redwashing” a festival essentially about freedom of sexuality to progress an anti-capitalist agenda? You’re perfectly entitled to adhere to and express such an agenda while identifying as LGBTQ, just as I am free to reject such an anti-capitalist perspective and still be LGBTQ. They are separate, and complaining that the pride festival is insufficiently left-wing is frankly quite bizarre given that identifying with Marxism is not a requirement to be LGBTQ.

    • Hello Anon. I’m sure, you’re perfectly entitled to be gay and hold “capitalist” ideals (no, I am not the authority on this and offer only an opinion above on my personal disconnection with the parade). Also, you’re right. Marxism is not a prerequisite of being LGBTQ.

      My point, I guess, is that I believe the “freedom of sexuality to progress”, the integral message once held by the parade is hindered somewhat by the core values of the organisations that are involved with it. Besides not agreeing with it in this regard, I also find it boring as fuck to watch an ANZ or a Westpac float.

      It’s not an exclusive problem with ONLY this parade. it’s just in this instance, the other issues including the controversy concerning uniformed police and corrections officers and the drama with the protesters, it seems the reactions that I have seen about this incident has shown a couple of things. One thing is that there is legitimate dissatisfaction not being addressed between the LGBTQ community and the police/corrections officers inclusion. Another thing is that there is a very unsympathetic part of the LGBTQ community (and otherwise) that are willing to overlook a legitimate discomfort and violent history, because they feel that this is a minority that disrupts the status quo. There is something wrong with that.

      Also I am not a Marxist but I am left-wing(for the moment).

      I feel like if you give a shit about other people, you probably wouldn’t be right…but that’s another thing for another time.

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