Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope, an alliance of LGBTQI+ organisations, groups, and small business owners in Wellington, has this week penned a letter calling rainbow people in Wellington to stand together to ensure Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP) engages in meaningful community consultation.
Though not leading this affiliation, GMA has agreed to host the letter here, so that a diverse range of individuals and groups can add their support or provide feedback to the affiliation. Its letter is posted below.
You may have noticed the absence of various Rainbow Community groups from last year’s Wellington International Pride Parade (WIPP), as did the organisers. The reason for that absence was a growing feeling from many rainbow people that WIPP does not represent us, and is not about us, nor for us.
There are three core issues, as identified by rainbow organisations which have heard feedback from many sectors of the rainbow population in Wellington:
- WIPP is not connected with rainbow people broadly, nor with the community organisations who engage with rainbow people on a daily basis.
- WIPP organisers are not representative of rainbow populations, nor are they elected by a demographically representative diverse group.
- WIPP refuses to engage meaningfully with community feedback, including requests by rainbow community support organisations to meet for discussion.
WIPP states in its 2019 annual report that among its values is a need for them to be “Supportive of and by LGBTQI-Plus communities”. It goes on to promise that WIPP “will always work, collectively, to bring LGBTQI-Plus communities together with each other and with the communities within which we live”.
WIPP’s Board Charter says – ‘’All board members will actively consult with members of the community’’. However, in practice, WIPP refuses to consult with the community broadly despite repeated requests, and thus has no right to claim to represent us and our interests.
- 2018: The rainbow youth organisations InsideOUT and OuterSpaces tried extensively to engage WIPP and were met with silence. After the 2018 parade, an open letter from dozens of rainbow individuals in Wellington was published, calling for a community consultation.
- 2019: Tīwhanawhana Trust held a community hui on what is important to our communities with regard to Pride events and the Pride Parade. Only one WIPP organiser attended, and did not engage at all.
- 2020: Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, Naming New Zealand, UniQ Victoria, and Ivy Bar and Cabaret collectively wrote to WIPP’s board asking them to hold consultations and start a process of engagement with Wellington’s rainbow communities. This request was flatly refused in writing.
In WIPP’s 2019 annual report it is evident that WIPP is about celebrating Wellington as a whole, and is aimed toward international tourism, and corporate sponsors, rather than rainbow people. If WIPP wants to hold a parade to celebrate Wellington, primarily funded by WCC tourism funding, they need to call it a Wellington Parade, not a Pride Parade. WIPP is NOT a Pride parade; WIPP is NOT about supporting rainbow people nor building rainbow communities.
Participants in WIPP’s 2019 feedback survey reflect this sentiment –
“Too much corporate / state representation which overshadowed the few community groups.”
We note that almost 20% of WIPPs membership work for Wellington City Council, including Councillor Nicola Young. WIPP membership is made up of people representing Orchestra Wellington, Armstrong Prestige, PrimeProperty, Air New Zealand, Countdown, and Westpac.
Based on the 2019 WIPP annual report, of the 37 listed participants, only 10 were rainbow community entries, including state and political parties.
WIPP uses the word “Inclusivity” to justify the inclusion of, for example, an armored vehicle in the 2019 parade, even though doing so was traumatic for, and in fact excluded, migrant and refugee rainbow people- at least two families who had fled war in their home countries. An inclusive event is one which uses a Human Rights approach to take into account the needs of minority groups within the rainbow – such as disabled rainbow people and rainbow refugees. “Inclusivity” needs to mean the inclusion of rainbow people and rainbow community groups is the priority.
In contrast, Wellington Pride Festival Inc. (Out Wellington) has historically organised the Pride Hikoi, and are representative of, elected by, and accountable to the rainbow people of Wellington. They coordinate and oversee the entire two-week long Pride Festival including a full-day fair – Out in the Park, a community hīkoi, a youth ball, and facilitate over 100 events run by members of our rainbow communities. Out Wellington in the past has run a large scale Pride Parade that was as visible as any of WIPP’s. They managed to run this, promote our community, and include all areas of Wellington, with a fraction of the funding WIPP receives for a single 30 minute parade.
We believe that the problems with WIPP could be resolved by:
- Having a diverse ‘rainbow community’ elected board, with requirements for representation of different populations of rainbow people (eg lesbian, gay, transgender, etc).
- Having more community floats than corporate floats – eg, every corporate entry to sponsor two community entries.
- Asking the community what we want – open and meaningful community consultation.
We invite all of Wellington’s rainbow community organisations, rainbow owned and rainbow staffed businesses, and rainbow individuals to join us as we work to hold WIPP accountable to being representative of and responsive to our community.
We call on you to boycott the WIPP events, and to instead support Wellington Pride Festival Inc.’s activities.
We invite you to participate in the PRIDE Hīkoi, which is a Pride March along a mobility accessible route starting at 9am on Feb 22nd in Civic Square, ending at Waitangi Park for the Out in the Park fair – an annual event in it’s 32nd year that sees thousands of people visit every year.
The Pride Hīkoi and Out in the Park are a genuine and authentic opportunity to come together to celebrate pride and our rainbow communities.
Signed, Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope.
Te Aito Rangatira, Auckland Pride Festival Incorporated, Aunty Dana’s Op Shop, Gender Minorities Aotearoa, InsideOUT, Ivy Bar and Cabaret, Naming New Zealand, Opportunity for Animals Opshop, Promised Land Tales, QUILTED BANANAS Radio Collective, Stillwaters Community, The Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary Otaki, The Gender Centre Wellington, Tranzform, UniQ Victoria, Wellington Timebank.
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