Recently the Auckland Pride Board confirmed that the New Zealand Police were welcome to march in the Pride Parade, but not in uniform. The decision, which the Board acknowledges was difficult and complex, was based on extensive community consultation. We heard clearly during this consultation that for groups within our community the Police uniform does not make them feel safe. We also heard numerous stories of transphobia, racism, misogyny and homophobia directed at members. The Board has a responsibility to listen to all of our community, and to pay attention to marginalised voices who have distanced themselves from Pride due to Police involvement. The Auckland Pride Board has tried to work constructively with the Police to find a compromise position, including multiple face-to-face meetings and ongoing dialogue.
The Auckland Pride Board held a further community hui on Sunday 18th November after receiving feedback on the decision around uniforms. Some members of the community expressed discontent and hurt over the decision, and the hui was intended to allow the diverse perspectives on the issue of Police involvement to be shared. Approximately 250 people turned up at the Grey Lynn Community Centre, and, as has been widely reported, there were difficult and heated discussions. The Board were disappointed with the behaviour of some attendees, which included racist comments and aggressive actions, leaving some people feeling unsettled and unsafe. The Board recognize that the decision has upset and disappointed some people, but request that conversations going forward are conducted with respect and civility.
Four Auckland Pride members have expressed a lack of confidence in the Auckland Pride Board, and called for a Special General Meeting. A formal announcement about this is forthcoming. In light of this Special General Meeting, the Board are pausing all work on the Parade and Festival for 2019 until this meeting has taken place.
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