Protests at the Auckland Pride Parade are not unexpected. After all, the global Pride movement was built on protest – dating back to the Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall riots in the late 1960s – and many LGBTIQ+ people are still engaged in the ongoing struggle for equity and equality.
Auckland Pride endeavours to provide safe spaces to discuss issues that are relevant to our communities throughout the two-week Festival. When a protest occurs at the Auckland Pride Parade, our primary focus is always the safety of participants, volunteers and spectators.
At this year’s Auckland Pride Parade, two people encroached on the Parade route without permission to protest against access to hormone therapy for trans youth. Had these protestors submitted a Parade registration indicating what they were planning to do – and the transphobic message they were planning to communicate – their entry would have been declined by the Board of Auckland Pride.
Media reports that the protestors led the 2018 Parade are incorrect. As the protesters had not registered to participate in the Parade – and had also not attended the required health and safety briefing – they were asked to leave the Parade route, which they did peacefully and without incident.
Auckland Pride has strict criteria which apply to all Parade entries, whether they be community organisations, businesses, or any other group or individual wanting to participate. Parade entries cannot be discriminatory, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, intersexphobic, racist, sexist, or breach any defamation law. Entries will not be accepted from discriminatory organisations, or organisations whose policies and procedures discriminate against, or fail to uphold, the human rights of Rainbow communities.
Auckland Pride also reserves the right to refuse entries that have not complied with the Parade guidelines, or that act in any way contrary to Auckland Pride’s mission and objectives.
As well as disrupting the Auckland Pride Parade, the protestors have targetted LGBTIQ+ youth organisations, RainbowYOUTH and InsideOUT. The Board of Auckland Pride wishes to express solidarity with these two charitable organisations who provide vital services for queer and gender diverse young people.
“At RainbowYOUTH, it’s incredibly important to us to uplift and support the agency of all young people over their bodies, their identities and their lives,” says Executive Director Frances Arns. “In a society that defaults towards questioning and challenging anything that falls outside of gender and sexuality ‘norms’, queer and gender diverse young people need a safe space where they can explore and develop their identities.”
“InsideOUT was disappointed to see the protestors in the Auckland Pride Parade spreading harmful and false messages about the vital work being done to support young trans and gender diverse New Zealanders,” says National Coordinator Tabby Besley. “The process for anyone to get on hormones in New Zealand tends to be a lengthy and strenuous one, and organisations such as ours are in no position to give out medical treatment.”
Auckland Pride, RainbowYOUTH and InsideOUT stand together with trans and gender diverse young people and their right to access the healthcare they need to be who they are.
For more information, please contact Auckland Pride Co-Chairs Lexie Matheson and Cassie Roma: [email protected]
Subscribe for Auckland Pride announcements and Festival updates.