Thursday, June 25, 2009

Auckland world’s 15th gayest city

I often post about rankings for Auckland or New Zealand, especially when they’re good ones. The new Spartacus International Gay Guide has Auckland ranked as the 15th best city in the world to be gay in, according to a story on GayNZ.com.

The ranking was based on the number of gay businesses per million inhabitants. Auckland was the only New Zealand city on the list, and ahead of both Sydney and Melbourne (which kind of figures, since they’re much larger cities, but always nice to beat the Aussies…). The guide says Auckland is "a clean, modern city with excellent restaurant, hotel and tourist services. The inner city suburbs of Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Mt. Eden and Parnell have significant gay populations."

That’s certainly true, but it leaves out many of the things that make Auckland a gay-friendly city—and New Zealand a gay-friendly country. For starters, New Zealand’s immigration laws are much more sane than, say, the US. Then, there’s the fact that the civil and human rights of gay people are protected throughout the country. And, should the gay tourist find love, civil unions provide full legal recognition to same-sex couples (and did I mention how the immigration laws don’t discriminate against gay couples?).

I honestly don’t know—or even really care—how accurate or realistic the ranking is. The point, for me, is that Auckland and New Zealand are still far better places to be gay than the place I left behind. And that’s a story that can’t be told too often, or in too many places.


liminalD said...

These people clearly don't know what they're talking about... I would hazard a guess that they just crunced numbers, counting the number of gay venues and coming up with a ratio per capita. The fact is, Wellington is a hundred times better to be gay in, because you don't have to compartmentalise or ghetto-ise your life.

Wellington is full of queers, they walk around holding hands and nobody bats an eyelid. You can be a complete, flaming homo in any bar in Welly and nobody cares. Try it in Auckland outside of K' Road and Ponsonby and you'll be picking your teeth off the pavement.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Well, I do think their methodology is a bit suspect, but you're a bit hard on Auckland. Most of Auckkland's gay life (apart from nightlife) isn't in Ponsonby, which isn't as gay as it was when I moved here 13 years ago. We live a long way from there and I see gay couples in the grocery store, for example, all the time. So, while there are plenty of scene queens in Auckland, they don't necessarily live in a gay neighbourhood.

I've been in far more straight pubs and bars than gay ones, and I've never had any problems or issues or whatever. Mind you, I don't go to "rough" neighbourhoods, so it could be different there. The sort of problems you describe are definitely possible out in the provinces.

I don't often see couples of any description walking around holding hands, and I can't criticise anyone for that since I haven't done that very much myself, even in the "gay ghetto" in Chicago.

I guess what I'm saying is that Auckland may not be as Spartacus described it, but it's certainly no redneck town, either.