Ngā pitopito korero
Police and Pride Parades
National Rainbow Conference to go annual
Women’s, Rainbow Human rights commissioner
Takatāpui nurturing diversity in refuges
Auckland Pride deadlines
ILGA World Conference 2019
A majority of the Auckland Pride members supported the board at a Special General Meeting on Thursday 6, by 325 to 273 who had no confidence in the board. Deep divisions in Auckland’s Rainbow population were exposed following the board’s decision in early November to allow Rainbow police to march in the parade, but not in uniform. I write this as someone who spoke in support of the board’s decision at the SGM.
The SGM was the biggest political gathering of Rainbow people for years – 375 filled the Pitt St Methodist Church and another 223 provided proxy votes.
The friendly community vibe lasted during a long wait while everyone queued to receive their voting slips, so the meeting started an hour late.
The meeting was firmly chaired by lawyer Mark von Dadelszen, who enabled alternating speakers in favour and opposed to the board and allowed none of the interjections which had marred discussion at an earlier community hui about the topic in November.
Speakers opposed to the board argued that the board had been hijacked by People Opposed to Prisons (PAPA) ‘extremists’, that the board’s consultation had been inadequate for such an important decision, that the loss of sponsorship and corporate parade entries had diminished the mana of Pride, and that the board did not represent the community.
Speakers supporting the board decision argued that marginalised Rainbow people had consistently said they had problems with police participation in the parade at feedback hui, that police discrimination against Māori persisted from colonial times, and that the board decision was a compromise between two very different viewpoints.
While the vote left the board in control, it showed that a significant sector of the community had no confidence in the board, and these divisions will take a long time to heal.
New board members will have to be elected and the board has announced another hui to discuss the future on Tuesday 18, although no details are available.
The hui on Sunday 18 to discuss the board’s decision was strongly divided between a majority opposed and a large minority undecided or supporting the board’s decision. It was marked by an aggressive confrontation, frequent yelled interruptions and abuse from people with a range of opinions. Two groups of people opposed to the board’s decision walked out at different times.
Speakers from People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA), spoke about the figures indicating police institutional discrimination against Māori; for example, that Police are eight times more likely to use force against Māori than against Pākehā. Unlike some people who spoke, they considered this to result from organisational policy rather than a few bad apples.
Their position was supported by preliminary results from the Honour Project, which surveyed takatāpui around the country. They found that “high numbers” of takatāpui experience “high levels of discrimination about abuse enacted by a number of government departments, including the police”.
Some lesbians who supported police marching in uniform spoke about their empathy for Rainbow Police officers, who they said had been kicked in the teeth by this decision. They wanted to include the police in the parade as a more fruitful way of working with them.
Some have argued that the health and education systems also produce discriminatory results, and that to pick on the police is a “witch hunt”. At the meeting and in public debate, there was no clear demarcation about the issue – lesbians, transpeople and Māori have spoken for and against police uniforms in the parade.
Two board members, lesbian Verity George and treasurer Matty Jackson, resigned after the November meeting. The backlash has included withdrawals of sponsorship from NZME, the company owning the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB; the Rainbow NZ Charitable Trust, and the Ponsonby Business Association. Organisations that have withdrawn their involvement in the parade include three banks – ANZ, BNZ and Westpac – Vodafone and the NZ Defence Force.
Wellington and overseas
The issues of discrimination by the police has also been raised in Wellington. The Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP), which runs the parade independently of the Pride festival, responded to the Auckland board’s decision with an immediate statement that anyone who wanted to march would be welcome in their parade.
This was countered by a letter by 46 Rainbow people arguing that there had been no consultation about that statement and that they strongly disagreed. They pointed out that Pride parades in Minneapolis, Madison, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and other centres have welcomed police but excluded their uniforms. They asked for a community hui about the issue. I have not heard back from WIPP about their response.
See two viewpoints on this issue on our Opinion page. Jenny Rankine
Organisers and queer female presenters were very positive about the first national rainbow conference for government agencies in Auckland last month, which is planned to become an annual event.
Tabby Besley, National Co-ordinator of Wellington-based Rainbow youth support service InsideOUT, said the conference was “really positive – there was a lot of willingness to do better by the Rainbow community. A lot of participants contacted us afterwards for more training and advice. I hope it will be an annual thing.”
Victoria Trow, Support Manager at Auckland-based Rainbow Youth, found the event “really encouraging – definitely the start of a long journey with these organisations. There was a sense of goodwill, they were all thinking about how to serve and include Rainbow people.” Rainbow Youth has since been contacted by the police “for upskilling”; it was “exciting to make those fruitful connections”, Victoria says.
Conference co-organiser Theresa Peters, Regional Manager Diversity for the Department of Corrections, said the conference was “definitely the start of something transformational”. Speakers discussed their concerns and agency responses to Rainbow people, including discrimination, problems accessing services, alcohol and drug issues, HIV and domestic violence. Gender markers on forms was an issue facing many government agencies.
Co-organiser Inspector Tracy Phillips said the event attracted “around 150 participants each day” from a range of government agencies. Tracy co-ordinates the volunteer Police Diversity Liaison Officer network, which liaises with Rainbow communities, on top of her day job as Senior Professional Conduct Manager for the upper North Island.
More than 40 police officers attended including one police district commander, and 44 staff from Corrections, including senior advisors and executive leaders. They heard presentations from a wide range of Rainbow speakers. “Not to be affected and inspired meant you had no heart at all,” Tracy says.
Participants also heard about organisational training offered by InsideOUT, Rainbow Youth and Positive Women’s speakers’ group. Says Theresa: “There was a lot of constructive, useful conversations; it was whole new territory for some people.”
Panellists gave “simple, practical steps” including about how to set up Rainbow networks, who to use as advisors about Rainbow issues, countering anti-gay jokes, how to ask question about gender respectfully. Tracy says: “we shared good practice; some staff were very much challenged.”
The Police DLO network launched their new leaflet about preventing family violence in Rainbow relationships at the conference. It had taken a year to produce, in consultation with Wellington-based Sandra Dickson, co-ordinator of the Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura/Outing Violence project.
Tracy has since been invited to speak to the three Tāmaki Makaurau Police District Commanders on Tuesday 4 about ideas arising from the conference, and co-ordinating diversity across Auckland.
Rural Canterbury police are setting up a Rainbow advisory network, and in Dunedin staff are setting up an internal Rainbow network. In six months, Tracy will follow up all the police officers who attended and see what’s changed. “Police are looking at funding one national office job to lead diversity and inclusion,” she says.
“At the end of the second day, participants were asked to commit to doing at least one thing differently at work to improve Rainbow inclusion and safety, and identify the person who would hold them accountable,” Theresa said, and they were handed to the responsible person from that agency to follow up, which for Corrections is her. She is pictured, right, with MP Luisa Wall and Tairawhiti Police DLO Whiti Timutimu.
Theresa’s position is the only paid diversity role related directly to Rainbow people in the organisation; she holds the portfolios for Rainbow diversity, youth and women. She does wellness checks with trans prisoners in the northern region, asking “how they’re being treated, and supporting them with re-integration into the community”. She also chairs the Corrections Rainbow Network of about 100 staff, and runs internal diversity training across the country.
The decision by the Auckland Pride board not to allow Rainbow police staff to march in uniform in the Pride Parade came during the conference, but neither Tracy nor Theresa would comment.
The conference was sponsored by Police, Corrections, Auckland Council, ACC and Oranga Tamariki. Theresa says the next conference may be held in Wellington in 2019. Jenny R
After a bit of a gap, the Human Rights Commission has an EEO Commissioner (most recently Dr Jackie Blue), who is also taking responsibility for women’s rights (also previously Jackie Blue) and the rainbow community (most recently Richard Tankersley).
Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) is one of the three “priority areas” which must have a Commissioner appointed. The other two are disability rights and race relations. Women’s and rainbow community rights while (mostly) covered by anti-discrimination legislation, don’t have an assigned Commissioner as of right, so to speak.
Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo has a public sector background in health, education and social work. She is based in Auckland, but will be nationally contactable: on Twitter as @KaraninaSumeo, and through the Human Rights Commission. Alison K.
Women’s Refuge will soon be adopting a new video training package that implements a change to one of its four cornerstones, from ‘Lesbian visibility’ to ‘Takatāpui nurturing diversity’.
Long-term takatāpui advocate Elizabeth Kerekere (Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Whānau a Kai) developed the package for the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges (NCIWR), which recognises that “the world has changed, as have the demographics of our clients”.
It includes seven videos, one which introduces the concept and six showing how it reflect the existing values of refuge. They are:
- Whakapapa:Relationships built on kinship and reciprocity.
- Wairua:Honouring diversity.
- Mauri:Maintenance of the individual identity and values within a collective.
- Tapu:Promoting self-understanding and development.
- Mana:Inspirational leadership.
- Tikanga:Practising with integrity.
Each five-minute video is accompanied by resources, infographics, and training guides for facilitators with references.
The package “honours the key role that lesbians, bisexual and queer women have played in the refuge and other feminist movements,” Elizabeth says. “It promotes an intersectional feminist analysis where the definition of women is inclusive of all who identify as such, including trans and intersex women.
She believes “that sexuality and gender are driven by our wairua” and gives the example of karanga.
“Karanga is a sacred cultural role. I respect the right of any Māori who identifies as a woman to karanga, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. Based on our connection to Papatūānuku, if your wairua says you’re a woman, you are. Conversely, the role is not available to those who do not identify as a woman, including cis gay/bisexual/queer men, trans men and non-binary people.”
Elizabeth expects the training will roll out to refuges early next year, and is keen to “work with other feminist organisations trying to come to terms with these issues. How do we create safe spaces for all people who identify as women? It’s so critical to hold women’s space as long as gender inequality and gendered violence still exists.” JR
Seven lesbian groups are currently featured in the digitised and updated online version of Women Together – Ngā Ropū Wāhine o te Motu, a 1983 book about women’s organisations.
The earliest was the Amazons Softball Club. which ran in Wellington from 1977 to 1993. The Lesbian Mothers Defence Fund, founded by Yoka Neuman to support lesbian mothers fighting for custody of their children, operated in Dunedin from 1979 to 1992.
Tor Wainwright wrote about the nine Lesbian Summer Camps for lesbians and their kids in Canterbury between 1975 and 1991. SHE, Sisters for Homophile Equality, founded in 1973 in Christchurch, also formed in Wellington and published the country’s first lesbian magazine, Circle. Wellington’s Lesbian Community Radio started in 1984, included lesbian voices, music, news and opinion on a wide range of topics, and is still broadcasting.
Hamilton’s Lesbian Links started in 1987 and ran a lesbian drop-in and phone line. Auckland group Lesbians in Print also published a magazine from 1985.
Women Together was first published to mark the suffrage centenary. Original editor, Anne Else, has worked with the Research and Publishing team at Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage to update individual organisation entries and thematic overview essays. Some of the lesbian entries will be updated and entries about significant new organisations will be added in 2019. And of course lesbians were involved in most of the other organisations featured. Search the site https://www.nzhistory.govt.nz/women-together JR
The seventh Auckland Pride Festival runs from February 1 to 17, and will include more than 80 events. Copies of the Pride Guide will be distributed nationally from mid-January.
Major events include the Pride Gala on Friday 1; an extended Same Same But Different writers festival from Monday 4 to Saturday 9; the Big Gay Out on Sunday 10; the Heroic Garden Festival on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17; the Pride Parade along Ponsonby Road from 7.30pm on Saturday 16; the Lick Auckland Parade Dance on later on Saturday 16; as well as the Proud Party.
Contact Festival Director Julian Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss proposed Pride festival event before completing the registration form.
Registration fees subsidise free and low-cost events in the festival; they are $50 for events that are free, charge a koha, a gold coin, or a donation; $140 for ticketed events where the full adult price is up to $25; and $210 for ticketed events over $25.
Registrations for Pride festival events must be received no later than 5pm on Friday December 14.
The concept for the Pride Parade is the ‘Rainbow connection: Full colour, full strength’. Contact the Parade Director (email@example.com) to register your interest in entering a float.
Registrations are in five categories, starting at a base of $200 for a Rainbow community group or individual with a vehicle, up to $5,500 for businesses. Additional charges apply for advertising or product sampling and additional vehicles.
Registrations must be received no later than 5pm on Friday, February 1, 2019 and late registrations will not be accepted. JR
Wellington’s LILAC (Lesbian Information, Library and Archives Centre) has been struggling for a time with reduced membership and activity, but a positive AGM in November holds hope for a continued presence in the city, and beyond.
“We had a good number of members attend,” said Carole Hicks, who facilitated the AGM. “A lot of discussion over proposed constitutional changes (how LILAC operates) and ideas for fundraising and other activities.”
The current collective of seven has had two more members added, and other supporters offering input to fundraising and other events.
Limited finances and the cost of rent have led to reduced purchases of books, which in turn may have discouraged women from joining or continuing their membership, and from borrowing. LILAC is open 8 hours per week, 47 weeks of the year. These hours may be subject to further discussion.
Fundraising and social events included two theatre events in the last year and proved popular. “We hope to arrange something similar in the coming year, with another women-focussed theatre production, and there are considering other ideas including, for example, for a speaker series and a fundraising quiz night”, Carole says.
Membership rates are on a sliding scale, and you don’t have to be a member of the collective to work a volunteer shift, help organise events, or contribute to fundraising activities. Contact LILAC via the website.
Wellington’s Pride Festival, Tū Whakahīhī e te Whanganui-ā-Tara, runs from March 8 to 24 to coincide with the ILGA World Conference 2019.
Details are yet to be confirmed for most events, but some regular events are scheduled. The Pride Picnic will be held on Saturday 9 from 11am to 2pm in the Wellington Botanical Gardens with a relaxed line-up of local performers the Sound Shell.
The Pride hikoi from 10-10.30am on Saturday 16 meets at Waitangi Park and walks to Civic Square to open Out in the Park. All ages from babies to seniors are welcome along this accessible route.
The iconic Out in the Park fair will be held from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 16. It features stalls, activities, food and free all-day entertainment with talented local performers, including drag kings, queens and in-between, musicians, singers, dancers, and comedians.
That evening is the Wellington International Pride Parade, starting at 6pm from Tennyson St to Kent Tce, Courtenay Place and Taranaki St, finishing outside Mac’s Brew Bar on the Waterfront. The main stage is on the corner of Courtney and Taranaki Sts, with a big screen at Mac’s. Applications to participate are due by Thursday February 28. Go to wipp.nz or see the Parade Facebook page.
The Out in the Park After Party runs from 8pm to midnight at Mac’s Brew Bar, Taranaki St Wharf and is R18. It is hosted by Wellington’s GAG Drag Collective with Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 9 and All Stars S3 contestant Aja! Tickets available online.
The Wellington Pride Youth Ball will be held on Saturday March 23, with more details to come.
The Wellington Pride Festival is organised by the elected Rainbow volunteers of Out Wellington Inc, and the Pride Parade by WIPP, a separate community organisation.
See festival details at https://www.wellingtonpridefestival.org.nz/ JR
The ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) conference runs at the Michael Fowler Centre from March 18 to 22, and the programme will be announced by the end of the year.
The focus of the Wellington rōpū (group) hosting the conference “is on the social programme and the cultural elements of how we host manuhiri,” says Elizabeth Kerekere. “We’re looking forward to making this a very special conference.”
The three host rōpū are ILGA member organisations Tīwhanawhana Trust, which Elizabeth chairs; Intersex Trust Aotearoa/NZ; and Rainbow Youth, and the conference theme is ‘celebrating the past to liberate the future’.
The social programme includes a dinner and reception on Monday 18 at Parliament with MPs, focusing on Aotearoa New Zealand and Oceania; dinner and meeting youth Rainbow people on Tuesday 19; dinners on the waterfront followed by waka ama and other waterfront treats around Te Papa on Wednesday 20; a conference dinner, celebrating ILGA World’s 40th birthday on Thursday 21; and dinner and a Rainbow concert on Friday 22.
“We’re now receiving messages from people around the world who received ILGA scholarships and are very excited that they can come,” says Elizabeth.
She is in charge of volunteer facilitators for all the workshops, “so that each individual group gets welcomed into the space before it is handed over to presenters. I’ve only just started going to ILGA conferences, and often you don’t know who’s in the room.”
“Hosting is our responsibility, and it takes pressure off the speakers. I’d like to see hosts for each workshop go around the room naming countries, so participants can see who they are, who they have a connection with, and who they want to follow up. If we have a standard way we do that, it becomes a rhythm participants get into. It’s little but powerful.”
“We’ve also negotiated that people who volunteer for a certain portion of the conference can attend the rest.”