Below is the letter from The Affiliation, sent to the ‘international’ pride parade committee 24/02/2020
24th February 2020 Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope (‘The Affiliation’)
Dear Wellington International Pride Parade Committee,
The Affiliation affirms that we welcome an open and honest public consultation process. We do not believe that closed door meetings are appropriate, as these concerns are not just from a few individuals, or a few organisations, but countless members of our community who have been asking for an opportunity to have a say across a three year period. For example, see the attached screenshot on your public Facebook event showing a comment from 33 weeks ago from a community member, asking if you would be holding community consultation. Their question has still not been addressed, despite the most recent comment only being a few days ago. Holding a private meeting will not address the public’s concerns, or give them an opportunity to have their ideas heard.
Open consultation with your Wellington rainbow whānau should not be a point of fear, but rather a part of your mandate. Talking with the community is necessary in order to hold a public community event. If there is no willingness amongst committee members to hold open and honest community consultations, we suggest that you find committee members who are willing to do this.
Please see additional comments below, which were sent to us from some of the 140+ individuals and 14 community organisations that have so far signed the letter calling for the community to boycott until the International Pride Parade committee holds open and honest public consultations.
We will also be publishing this letter publicly.
Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Toward Hope.
Quotes from rainbow people who sent us feedback on the letter which The Affiliation penned 17/02/2020.
“I love Pride month and usually feel very connected to my community, but I don’t feel heard or represented by WIPP.”
“Any local Pride event should engage and be run in consultation with the LBGTQIA community with whom it seeks to represent.“
“Who is the parade for if it isn’t for our community?”
“Pride parades should always be places where community is the focus and the most vulnerable and marginalized are given the love, care, support and empowerment they need. They should also be about challenging the aspects of society that are harmful to our greater communities. They can be bright, fun and colourful but style and presentation should never come before the above mentioned values”
“I have never felt included or welcomed regarding WIPP. I’ve never had any interest in going, it’s just so clearly not marketed toward me as a participant or even an audience. I’ve never understood why it claims to be a pride event when it doesn’t seem to want rainbow people to even attend.”
“It often feels like our voices aren’t being heard at all, and the WIPP’s blatant refusal to communicate only highlights this. I would love to see more inclusion from communities, and to have more interaction between the Queer Community and the WIPP as a whole.”
“I feel that WIPP did not consult the relevant rainbow groups in depth enough and instead pandered to corporations with false misleading intentions that ultimately caused pride to be a corporate, shallow and soulless wreck last year.”
“WIPP has been completely uncooperative and is out of touch with the Wellington Gay community. It doesn’t represent us or have our best interests at heart. It’s time for change.”
“I’ve flown to Auckland for OurMarch last year and this year and don’t see WIPP as representing the whole community in its current form.”
“Pride Parades should be governed, led and for Rainbow communities. “
”Pride is for queer people to be free to represent ourselves. It’s not a place for the most vulnerable members of our community to be excluded. If organisers of a “Pride” event can’t see that, they need to sit down and hand over the reins to people who can represent our community in the true spirit of PRIDE.”
“Pride is about the community and as such needs to represent the community’s values and views.“
“I would like to see the community once again joining together to celebrate their Pride in a parade that’s for everyone. In the current setup I can’t see this happening and want to join the voices raising awareness about this issue. I haven’t attended in recent years as I can’t see the community supporting it.”
“I remember these conversations far too well – saddened to hear that people in our community, especially those that are already minorities or marginalised, are being silenced. “
Wellington Rainbow Affiliation Towards Hope (WRATH, “the affiliation”) is an alliance of LGBTQI+ organisations, groups, and small business owners in Wellington. It 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.
Letter to WIPP from WRATH (the affiliation)
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.
“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 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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