Auckland Big Gay Out—14 February 2016
One of the many things I like about living in New Zealand is that it is the most open and tolerant society I’ve experienced. Ever since I moved here in 2001 the city has held something called the Big Gay Out on a Sunday in mid-February. It is a main event of the Auckland Pride Festival and is basically a family friendly gay themed carnival, party and community celebration rolled into one.
The Big Gay Out is always held at Coyle Park which is on a point on the Waitemata Harbour across from downtown Auckland.
As you arrive you think you are coming to just any other community fair.
But it doesn’t take long to figure out what the event is all about.
And in addition to food stalls and other interesting vendors there are lots of booths promoting gay pride and safe sex.
Lots of organisations got into the spirit of the day, even the bus company!
There was lots of entertainment, music and dancing.
They also had a giant screen where you could tweet your greetings to the crowd.
But what made the day so interesting and special was that it really was just a fun community family get together. Even the New Zealand Police were there, not for crowd control but to recruit new cops.
And apparently it was working!
Even the (politically center right) Prime Minister came by to say hello—he’s the guy in the pink shirt flanked by two members of parliament.
You couldn’t help feeling pride in a community that was so willing to be open and inclusive.
And the objective was for the community to get out, meet new people and have fun.
We had a fun time wandering around and enjoying the crowd and the sights. And it was so nice to be at a place where no one asked me what I thought about the US presidential election and candidates!