Last Saturday for the first time Amanda, Lisa and Baby Marchello joined with the Auckland DHB marching with more than 3500 people in the Auckland Pride Parade. The Pride Parade is a colourful celebration of the New Zealand rainbow community and it was a night of fun and frivolity. We marched to the beat of anthems like YMCA while some of us performed a choreographed dance, others freestyled or waved flags. I’m sure many of us involved will be finding glitter for weeks!
Some of us marched for family members, some for colleagues, some for mates, and some for ourselves. Whoever we marched for, we all showed pride.
You may be wondering why we have a Pride Parade in 2018 when landmark legislation like marriage equality has already passed and people are protected from discrimination by things like the Human Rights Act. What’s the point of getting dressed up and walking down Ponsonby Road once a year?
There’s no arguing that there have been great strides forward but there are still many queer people in New Zealand who suffer from discrimination and isolation. The effects of discrimination are ultimately reflected in health statistics – in 2012 26% of mental health service users attending Auckland Community Mental Health Centres identified themselves as falling somewhere under the general category of ‘rainbow’.
Marching in the Pride Parade shows that we’re proud and that this is a place where people are accepted as they are without judgement.