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On with pride: lesbian night

Mon 26 Nov 2012 In: True Stories WayBack Archive National Library

It’s hard to avoid being an obnoxious Aucklander, spouting clichés, when you arrive in Christchurch and see the devastation for yourself. They are right: it’s so much worse than it looks on TV. But it’s best to keep your lips sealed: this healing GLBT community is so over talking about it. While there are plenty of throwaway lines like “well yeah my house was fucked” and tales similar to survival in a war-torn third world country, they are just throwaway lines without much emotion to them anymore. They aren’t brags or hero stories: they are just how it was. But there is a real feeling that as the city moves onwards and upwards, the community is sick of being bombarded with curious quake tourists snapping rubble shots to show their friends back home, and sick of the newspaper headlines being all “quake, quake, quake”. What gay, lesbian, bi and trans people in Christchurch do want to talk about is Pride, which is back in the city for the first time since the unmentionable events (see above) that shattered it. They didn’t just shatter the infrastructure and meeting places, but also the community, I am told. Many have left, while others simply just don’t come out any more. You wouldn’t know it by the turn-out or attitude at Saturday night’s Beaver Party, which as you can imagine from the name was a lesbian night with “beaver grooming essential” and “muff shots” for sale at the bar … I don’t recommend trying those unless you want cream all over your face. Walking into a lesbian venue when you are a stranger can be a daunting thing. Of course having a camera and hat can help, and yet the Beaver Party was really like no other lesbian event I have ever been to in New Zealand. The women were just so friendly! And genuine, and interesting! They don’t sit in the corner and eye you up and down suspiciously here. Ok well maybe a couple of women did but not THE WHOLE ROOM. “You look interesting, can I come and talk to you?” people rocked up to our group and said. Or just “Hi I’m [insert name here] how’s it going?” and you end up wishing the night went much later, and trying to find taxis for nine people to the next venue, instead of just the two you came with. It’s awesome news for any lesbian and bi women in the area, on the fringe of the ‘scene’ or anyone taking those baby steps of coming out: there is a whole tribe of women who will welcome you in and want to know all about you. It’s refreshing to know that, with the lack of any real safe space for lesbians in the city, regular women’s “SHE” nights are being run. Women have places to be as one Beaver attendee simply put it “myself and not judged”. As we all should.     Jacqui Stanford - 26th November 2012

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Monday, 26th November 2012 - 9:47am

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