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February 25, 2019 | by  | in News |
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#ourpride: Will Wellington March with Auckland?

Despite months of turmoil, the Auckland Pride Festival successfully turned its usual Pride Parade into a Pride March. However, Wellington seems unlikely to follow suit.

The Auckland Pride Board, which organises the Auckland Pride Festival and Parade, introduced the policy over concern about the police’s negative history with the queer community.

Police subsequently pulled out of the parade, followed by the New Zealand Defence Force, several corporate sponsors—and a national controversy.

 

Two weeks later, the board survived a vote of no confidence.

 

The board took this as a mandate to rebrand the parade into a march, calling it “#ourpride” and relocating it as “a nod to […] the site of the first gay liberation protest in 1972.”

#ourpride and the festival itself were an apparent success, with “no problems at all” during the march.

However, Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP), responsible for Wellington’s own pride parade, seems hesitant to adopt such explicitly radical policies.

Regarding police in pride parades, WIPP declined to comment directly.

They instead directed Salient to their inclusivity statement, which read “we do not support or condone any form of prejudice or discrimination to any individual, group or community.”

Spokesperson Richard Tait also refused to comment on any specific group, saying that people were entitled to have differing opinions—which should be celebrated at Pride.

Although WIPP is “happy to discuss on a private basis” with individuals, Tait cited the small size of WIPP’s volunteer membership and an already “robust” consultation process as factors inhibiting public meetings.

This stance has been heavily criticised.

An open letter published in The Spinoff denounced both WIPP’s consultation and their invitation to police to walk in the parade.

“We call upon the Wellington International Pride Parade organisers to hold a community consultation hui, hear our case, and reconsider its decision to welcome the NZ Police in uniform,” the statement read.

The letter was signed by several prominent queer figures in Wellington, including Tabby Besley (InsideOUT National Coordinator) and Dani Pickering (former UniQ Co-President).

WIPP currently uses a number of community representatives to advise its board.

The Wellington International Pride Parade will take place on Saturday, March 16.

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