My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Out in Auckland

23 Comments

auckland

It pains me to acknowledge this, but gay bashing is on the rise in the U.S. again. Not since the 1990s have I heard of so many LGBTQ people being victimized. This month alone, I read about at least ten incidents, and one of the victims is someone I know. He is having facial reconstructive surgery after being beaten up last week by three homophobes outside a deli in Huntington, New York, simply because he was wearing a pride tshirt. I worry that the current administration seems to encourage people on all sides to be their worst selves. But rather than focus on the outrage and hurt and fear (and fury), I thought I’d instead talk about a community that has been getting it right.

Every February since 1990, Auckland, New Zealand, holds their Big Gay Out festival. Everyone gets in on the action, not just the LGBTQ folks. It looks like a real blast, and even the New Zealand prime minister gets involved! And every year, they do one simple, small thing to reinforce the idea that gay rights are human rights. The year the first video below was shot, they asked people for their definition of home. In the second video, they set up a #holdtight tent where couples could decorate their hands together and celebrate the simple joy of holding hands with the person you love. And in the final video below, there’s a graffiti wall where attendees could write love notes.

You can read all about the Auckland Pride organization and get dates for upcoming festivals on their website.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a hate crime, check out the HRC website for guidance and resources.

XOXO

Donna

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

23 thoughts on “Out in Auckland

  1. Isn’t this fantastic?! Some of it breaks my heart, though….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely uplifting videos, even if elements of them were heartbreaking (such as people not accepted by their families). I especially love the symbolism of the hand decorating. Such a simple but powerful idea. I must confess I have never been to a major Pride event. I get panic attacks in crowds so have never felt able to go, not even in the company of my siblings. I coped with the Women’s March this year, however, so I am going to push myself to go to more big community events in future and see how I get on.

    I am so sorry about your friend being attacked. I am sorry that anyone has to experience that, whether physical violence or any form of hostility and hate. I just cannot imagine the head space that creates that degree of hate for someone. Our LGBT friends and family from the UK and Europe have all told us that they do not feel safe and secure enough to visit the US in this current climate. One couple had even gone so far as to book flights which they then cancelled and transferred for a different destination because they were so fearful of coming here as a gay, interracial couple, one of whom is also Muslim. I don’t know if enough Americans appreciate that this is the perception of America that people elsewhere in the world have at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pride has kicked off here in Toronto and it is off to a strong start. Happy Pride.
    I don’t know if our new Premier will be participating–his brother begged off every year. The previous Premier and her partner always attended–they are a same sex couple, so it was hardly a political move. I guess we will wait and see.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The sparkly hands are stellar! I love places that are accepting of all people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOVE the videos, Donna! Thank you so much for posting them! Mostly I could relate to the handholding. My love – finally a boyfriend I feel is in it for the long haul with me – is a GREAT hand-holder! I feel so lucky. It’s amazing how much *feeling* can be conveyed just by linking hands/fingers with someone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Back in 1995 the first ever (openly) gay club popped up in Minneapolis…this was truly a phenomenal thing in the religious midwest. You’d have to park several blocks away and then walk to the club, which was terrifying and treacherous. Once I was in a group of 6 girls, and about 1 block away were we attacked by a bunch of religious men, carrying bibles and signs that said “God hates fags.” The threw us on the ground, spit on us, ripped out our hair and ripped our clothing, hit us everywhere….I honestly though we were going to die in the middle of the street. Other people continued walking by like nothing was happening….we could even see a cop about a half block away but he didn’t come to our aid.

    Fortunately the club hired tons of security and stationed many big guys right outside the front doors. They could hear us screaming and stormed over to help us….they snatched us up off the pavement and ran us into the club as fast as they could. We were so lucky to get through that relatively unscathed (didn’t require hospitalization), but I often wonder how many people were seriously injured trying to get into that club.

    The 90s were horrid times for LGBTs. Maybe society isn’t where it needs to be yet, but I do believe serious progress has been made. Of course the fight for safety and equality must always continue. I can only hope we never regress back to the days were it was perfectly acceptable to beat anyone of a different sexuality in the middle of a busy street, within full view of police.

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    • Sorry Donna, somehow I got from your current Taylor Swift post to this older post….must be clicking buttons while half asleep. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • OMG what a story! That’s terrifying. The nineties weren’t great in NYC, either. Better than that, but not great. There were marauding gangs of suburban youths who would drive around the West Village, throwing bottles at people they’d decided were gay. There were also young homophobes running around sticking gays with needles. In the nineties, that was utterly scary, and potentially deadly. I often wondered if anyone contracted HIV that way. It was certainly possible.

        To better days.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve never heard of people running around sticking gay people with needles…as a former infection control nurse, I’m utterly horrified by that. I imagine the 90s were tame compared to the homophobia earlier generations faced.

        As you say, on to better days! We’ve come a long, long way, but there’s still some distance to cover.

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