Pride Powwow

This year I decided I would change up my blogging and start a monthly vlog – interviewing people over video. My first vlog was going to be focussing on the Auckland Pride Festival, which is just wrapping up, after a month of performances, gallery shows, markets and, of course, the Pride Parade.

The festival had some marked controversies; a protester suffered a broken arm protesting police and corrections officer’s presence at the parade, and there was a sleight of paint jobs given to ANZ’s GayTM’s. I asked a few people to chat with me on camera about this.

They all said no.

I put a post out on facebook.

One person said yes. Then said no, because they felt too scared.

Since the vandalism of the GayTMs and the Pride Parade I’ve seen furious debate over Facebook, in the blogosphere and on Twitter. Vitriol and abuse has been hurled about, back, forth, and all over. It feels like we’ve all had paint thrown over us.

To me it feels like this is the result of something that’s been bubbling under the surface for quite some time. On one side there’s a growing resentment to putting on the sequins, smiling as we wave our rainbow flag and talk about how proud we are.

On the other side there’s a frustration about focussing on the negative aspects of our lives; there’s a desire to find spaces to simply celebrate who we are without having to think about the hard stuff.

It feels scary to challenge either one of those approaches. Both are fraught.

If we only ever talk about the good stuff, then we risk alienating people who are still struggling; we risk people thinking that we don’t need to keep striving to make things better; we risk only celebrating the folk who have it (mostly) good, and forgetting the rest.

If we only talk about the shit stuff then we risk falling deep into a pit of hopelessness; we risk not having any space to reflect on our achievements; we risk carrying that heavy burden and pain around forever.

I think both of these conversations are really important to have. To air both… no, ALL, views (because we aren’t so homogenous that we fit neatly into two categories). We need to have this conflict and encourage conversations that both disrupt and heal our communities.

I really hope that the actions and protests that have occurred this festival don’t result in people being afraid to talk – If anything, I think the actions have shown us we need to be talking more.

What do you think?

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