We're baaaaaaaaack - Paekakariki Pride Festival 2019
This planet isn’t big enough for Paekakariki Pride, so this year it’s launching itself into space! (Well, the dance party is anyway.)
Because fifty years ago, astronauts allegedly walked on the moon. In 1969, while the world was gripped with who was winning the space race, on earth the start of the gay liberation movement kicked off with the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. Also, global warming was a term that was starting to be used by scientists and Woodstock happened. The times they were a-changing.
Fast forward to 2019 in the laid-back, progressive village of Paekakariki and we’re celebrating some of the world changing events that got us to where we are today. The theme for this year’s dance party is A Space Oddity – a nod to the first moon landing which happened the same year as the infamous Stonewall rebellion that is associated with the start of gay communities’ fighting for basic human rights and freedoms.
The Paekakariki Pride Festival turns three this year, and riding on the success of some of the staple events like the (World’s Shortest) Pride Parade, the dance party and the quiz night – organisers this year have added a couple of other new events to keep things interesting and exciting.
The first of these is a kids’ disco which will follow immediately after the parade.
Another new event is a book launch by local Wellington writer, Kate Torrens, of her novel ‘The Swimmers’, set in post-Homosexual Law Reform/AIDs crisis Aotearoa New Zealand. “We’re absolutely delighted to be hosting this exclusive book launch as part of our festival,” says Pat McIntosh, Paekakariki Pride Festival Committee member, “this is a coup for us.”
Reflecting on the past fifty years of celebration and activism in the rainbow communities, Val Little, co-organiser says that while the world is much more accepting and inclusive of gay men and lesbians, there are still certain groups that struggle to maintain visibility, respect and even basic human rights in Aotearoa. “Bisexual people are still marginalised by both ends of the sexuality spectrum – told they’re confused or promiscuous and our trans whanau face some incredibly difficult challenges in the rainbow spaces at the moment.”
According to recent research, funded by the Health Research Council and with support from University of Waikato and Rule Foundation, trans people experience discrimination at more than double the rate of the general population, almost half of trans people had someone attempt to have sex with them against their will since age 13, and almost a third reported someone did have sex with them against their will since age 13. The report, entitled ‘Counting Ourselves’ found that research participants reported high or very high levels of psychological distress at a rate nine times that of the general population. In the last 12 months, more than half had seriously considered suicide, and 12% had attempted suicide.
The study surveyed 1,178 participants, from all regions of Aotearoa, ranging from 14 to 83 years old.
“It’s really important to us that the Paekakariki Pride Festival is a welcoming, inclusive and very positive experience for all of our rainbow whanau,” says Little. “Our aim is to provide spaces that celebrate our commonalities and our differences – our events are not places to debate or judge others’ lives.”
Proceeds from this year’s festival are being shared between two organisations – Kapiti Youth Service’s Project Youth, a social and support group for rainbow identifying young people, and Paekakariki School for rainbow resources for their students.
If you’re looking for something fun and fabulous to do over Labour Weekend, grab your moon boots and head to the friendly sea-side village of Paekakariki because the Pride Festival is going to be out of this world!
For further information and updates check out the Facebook page - Rainbow in the Village – Paekakariki Pride Festival 2019 - https://www.facebook.com/PaekakarikiPride/