I used to think I was wasn’t homophobic. But, as the Edmund Burke quote lays out, sometimes it is important not just to do the right things, but to oppose the wrong things. It took me a long time to realise that if I didn’t oppose the casual abuses, denigrations and violence against gay people (‘Oh, that’s soo gay’) then I was tacitly condoning homophobia. Although I don’t say homophobic things or think homophobic thoughts I still find it hard to challenge other people when they do. Although, these days, mostly I do. That’s why, to me, events like Queer the Night are so important.
One of the organisers of Wellington’s Queer the Night march sent me this promotion. Hopefully it draws a big, peaceful and powerful crowd:
On Thursday 9th June, 7pm, Waitangi Park, the Queer the Night march is happening in Wellington. This is to stop homophobia and transphobia on our streets.
Inspired by Reclaim the Night, Queer the Night is happening in response to a couple of recent incidents where members of the queer community were assaulted in central Wellington. Whilst many would think that respect for people of all sexualities, and identities, is nigh universal homophobia is not just restricted to a few bigoted Neanderthals. Homophobia and transphobia exist throughout New Zealand society, not just on the streets after dark. (One example being the controversy which was the Civil Union Act 2004).
Already this year we have seen high profile cases where people and businesses have faced disgusting and frightening abuse, and vandalism, simply because of an individual or couple’s sexuality. (Just search bakers or florists in any mainstream media source and you will find these high profile examples). These, and others, serve as shocking reminders that although we’ve come far, there are still dangers to those who are, or are perceived as being, outside heterosexual norms. To others, dealing with homophobia or transphobia on the streets is an everyday experience.
We also want to acknowledge and offer our solidarity for all those fighting homophobia and transphobia; in their schools, their homes, their workplaces and throughout the world.
The message is simple and clear. It is unacceptable for anyone to live in fear of physical or verbal abuse. Simply put, everyone has the right to express and explore their queerness without barriers, including fists and bottles on the street.
At the same time we want to celebrate the gains made in this area and have fun!
I’m pleased to say that there will be performances from awesome acts such as…
(So bring your dance shoes if you have any?)
These great acts will be at Cuba st after the march. There will also be an open mic to give others the chance to express their opinions and experiences if they want to.
We will be marching on Thursday 9th June, meeting at 7pm at Waitangi Park (formerly Chaffers), travelling to Cuba St. Please bring glow sticks, torches, etc to light up our city. All supporters are welcome.
Kia kaha, and in solidarity,