Monday, February 11, 2013

Big Gay Out 2013

This year, for the first time, we went to Auckland’s Big Gay Out. We went with our niece on what turned out to be one of the hottest days I’ve ever experienced in Auckland.

Fortunately, we found shady areas under massive trees where we could take refuge. It turned out that the breeze was strong and cool there. I also, finally, started wearing a hat when out in the sun. Yeah, took me long enough.

The Big Gay Out is held every year at Coyle Park in Auckland’s Point Chevalier (pronounced “shev-ah-LEER”). This year was its 14th year, and our first time there.

I met in real life a couple people I know only from Twitter, which was nice, but mostly it was just about walking around and people watching (between cooling-in-the-shade breaks).

The photos with this post are among the few I took, all on my phone. The photo above is a photo of Auckland Harbour (the bridge is barely visible between those flag/banner things, and Rangitoto is also in the background). Along the right side is the recruitment bus and booth for the New Zealand Defence Force (our military has welcomed GLBT service members for a very, very long time).

The photo below is of the police recruitment booth (the military bus is in the left side of the photo). I’m old enough that I always notice when I see military and police recruiting openly-LGBT members; when I was younger, that was absolutely unthinkable. That’s part of why I chose those two photos.

The other reason is that I didn’t realise that the better digital camera I brought with me had been switched to video, so I didn’t get any photos of Prime Minister John Key speaking to the crowd (the New Zealand Herald has plenty of photos). However, I did hear him pledge to vote in favour of the marriage equality bill and he expressed his hope that we’ll soon have same-gender couples marrying in New Zealand (P.S. this is, of course, what a real conservative should say…). He also pledged that the Pride Festival will continue next year, though I have no idea what he meant by that. Maybe in his role as Tourism Minister he’ll ensure it receives funding?

Anyway, I didn’t see any other party leaders, though they were there at some point. I did see openly gay Green Party MP Kevin Hague, however. The US Ambassador to New Zealand, David Huebner, who is also openly gay, was there, too (though I didn’t see him, either). He Tweeted about the BGO.

What I really liked about the day was seeing all the people comfortable in themselves, relaxed and happy to let other people be themselves, too. What I didn’t like was the heat and intense sun, some music was probably louder than it needed to be. I was also sad to see signs at BGO info booths warning people that the media were there and might be taking photos. It’s 2013, and I really wish we were beyond that.

The BGO is something that every LGBT person and LGBT-ally in Auckland should attend at least once, and I’m glad we finally had a chance to go (and especially glad that our niece could come with us). It was a nice day in a great location. Still, I’m not sure we’ll go again, at least, probably not next year. But, then, you just never know.


Roger Green said...

After the Gay Pride parade in Albany, there's always an event in the park. Didn't go last year -time conflict - but hope to this year.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I used to go the Pride Rally in Chicago every year, which was held where the parade ended. The Big Gay Out reminded me a bit of that, but the rally was exactly that, while the BGO is a festival.