This Saturday the Pride Parade will sashay down the main street of Auckland’s central suburb Ponsonby. It will delight the crowds gathered, and for a cathartic moment we’ll all forget about the housing crisis, the credit card balance, the impossible traffic in Auckland.
Unlike other parades which celebrate national sporting success or the peak of consumerism in December, this parade is about individuality, creativity and sex. The really good stuff. The stuff which is the molten core of existence for each and every one of us.
The Pride Parade celebrates life.
Origins of the parade
In the early nineties when AIDS was a new terror, and when fear was lashing out in the form of homophobia, the Hero Parade was born. It was a hot topic on the social media of it’s time: talk-back radio and television. Conservatives complained vocally about the wanton display of sexuality, and despite this, or maybe because of this, the public turned out in throngs (that’s throngs and some thongs) to cheer on the spectacle. The Parade was an event attended by more than one hundred thousand people annually, and at its height, reportedly by as many as two hundred thousand.
The Hero parade was a catalyst for education and change, a provocateur, a mirror reflecting intolerance and bigotry. Between 2002 and 2012 the parade disappeared due to lack of financial support, but returned as the reinvented Pride parade in 2013; the new name celebrating the social changes the parade has spanned.
Known for its choreographed marching boys in hot pants, spectacular floats, Drag Queens, Drag Kings and Fa’afafene, it is also a parade for Rainbow families, Rainbow Youth, and the AIDS Foundation. This is also a parade about social equality: campaigning for health, wellbeing and employment rights.
This weekend Rainbow Museums (a group of Auckland Museums with LQBTQI Staff who get together socially) will have a float in the Pride parade for the first time.
Personally, I am a long term fan of the parade and what it has peacefully accomplished for the betterment of New Zealand. As such I am thrilled that Auckland’s museums are working together to make themselves visable as allies for the LGBTQI+ community under the banner of Rainbow Museums.
I asked my colleagues who will be joining the Rainbow Museums float what participating in the parade means to them: