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Christchurch Pride: It's back!

Tue 23 Oct 2012 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

“We reckon the time for Christchurch to stand up and party is long overdue,” is the statement which heralds the return of Christchurch Pride, after an 18 month absence. The festival, traditionally held over ten days in May, has been on hold since the earthquakes. It’s returning to a much larger three week format from 10 November until 1 December. It follows community feedback which said the previous format was too short and everything was cramped into a tiny time frame. “So we’re excited to be able to offer a three-week festival this year. Pride12 has been extended to make sure that everyone has time to get to all the events they want to go to, with time relax and recover in between,” the crew says. The organising committee is made up of individuals who are passionate about making it happen, plus four key partners: Q-topia, Uprising Trust, Bears Canterbury and UniQ. “We have a great team this year,” says Coordinator Anne Nicholson. “The 14-strong committee has been working hard to ensure this is the best Christchurch Pride so far. As the coordinator, I am very proud of what we are developing. Every member of this team is a volunteer, giving up huge amounts of time and energy to get this festival off the ground and every one of them is putting their heart and soul into this event. This is my fourth year working on Pride, and I have never felt such commitment and dedication from the committee as I do this year.” A fractured community The committee says Pride12 is a chance for members of the community to have a break and enjoy themselves after the trying times over the last year and a half, which have left many anxious and under pressure. “Our festival has a big emphasis on fun in the hopes that this will help bring down the stress levels and take our minds of the day-to-day difficulties of living in Christchurch at the moment. “It’s also a chance for the queer community to reconnect with one another. The quakes fractured the Christchurch community and the queer community along with it. They took away so much of our infrastructure, the places we went and the activities we did to connect with each other. We hope Pride12 will be a big step towards rebuilding that.” While Pride 2010 was a huge success, Pride 2011 was in the planning stages when the February quake devastated Christchurch. It was put on hold. “Now that some level of normality has returned to life in Christchurch, we have decided not to wait for May – the traditional date for Christchurch Pride – to roll around. The time is right now for Christchurch to get up and party,” the Pride12 committee says. The events From the last Christchurch Pride, in 2010. “From art shows to rock climbing, picnics to dance parties, there’s something for everyone,” the Pride team says. The opening day will be 10 November, with a daytime Queer Fair for the whole family and an official opening and cocktail party that evening. From 15-18 November Big Bear Weekend will be held, featuring a day trip to Hanmer, a movie night, a dance party and a barbecue. The women will get their chance for a bit of fun at the Beavers Party on 24 November, while a family picnic will be held the following day. The closing party will be on 1 December, in the form of a Fantasy Ball. Among the other events on the packed calendar are coffee nights, movies, a marriage equality talk, bowling, an HIV workshop, bingo, a quiz, a gender-diversity dinner, Q-topia open night and walks. A full events calendar is here Being visible “Pride is the name of our festival, and pride is the theme that underpins our festival,” the committee adds. “We want our community to be visible, proud and joyous. As the debate around marriage equality rages, the spotlight is on us once again. And so it is more important than ever that the queer community stands up, is visible and resists those sectors of New Zealand who seek to deny us full equality. We aim to counteract negativity with positivity and ignorance with joy. “We also aim to give visibility and support to Louisa Wall’s amendment to the Marriage Act. We believe this bill is essential to the future of the queer community in New Zealand so that we are able to celebrate our love for one another without discrimination, and so that young people becoming aware of their sexuality know that they are valued as full members of New Zealand society. All welcome A gay or lesbian vegetarian? A pooch lover? Gay parents? Party animal? There will be something for everyone at Pride12. “Pride12 is about celebrating queer families, which come in all shapes and sizes,” the team says. “With that in mind, most of our events are family-friendly so that everyone from the littlies on up can participate. And because pets are very much part of the family too, we’ve made sure that the picnic is pet-friendly.” The organisers stress that all genders and sexualities are welcome. “While some events are created with a particular sub-section of the community in mind, we invite people to join events that they think sound fun and not feel excluded because of gender or orientation.” Jacqui Stanford - 23rd October 2012    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Tuesday, 23rd October 2012 - 4:17pm

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